“As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.” (Jeremiah 28:9)
What message do you think the church ought to be preaching? Should it be a message of judgement against sin as Jeremiah the prophet preached or one of peace and prosperity that ignores sin as brought by the prophet Hananiah? Hananiah represented the response of the religious establishment to Jeremiah’s latest pronouncement of God’s judgement on Jerusalem. He was an “official” Temple prophet, a self-righteous man who thought he was doing God’s work. Yet he contradicted the word of the Lord as spoken by Jeremiah. He prophesied peace and an end to Babylonian oppression. This certainly took a lot of nerve but he was convinced he was right. He did not think that the Jews had done any evil that merited down the judgment of the Lord. Much to his regret, he was punished for his rebellious blasphemy and did not live to see the judgment fall.
Many churches, many of the spiritual gurus and religious media stars today often contradict the word of God. Like Hananiah they tell people what they want to hear, what will make them feel good about themselves. On the left, we have the liberal mainline churches many of whom who condone and even praise immorality and sinful lifestyles in the interest of popularity and political correctness. They applaud themselves as enlightened and progressive servants of the Lord. On the right we have the fundamentalist churches many of whom who ignore the plight of the poor and downtrodden, the aliens and immigrants and who sanction warfare and promote personal “God-given” rights because they have confused America with the Kingdom of God. The gospel that Jeremiah preached, that the Lord would have His church preach, was not soft on sin and injustice and condemned selfishness and self-righteousness in all its forms.