I used to be part of a more expressive charismatic church, where Ché Ahn was a respected voice. I remember him preaching at our church one Sunday and enjoyed it. I read God Wants to Bless You! eager to see if I still appreciated Ahn’s message. I also am challenged by charismatic friends toward a more experiential and dynamic faith and the hunger for God’s blessing. God does want to bless us!
Ahn, who is a graduate from Fuller Theological Seminary, founder of the apostolic network Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the founding pastor of HRock Church in Pasedena wants us to experience all God has for us in Christ. The impetus behind this book was a prophetic word given to him by Bob Hartley in 2013. Hartley told Ahn that he was to speak ten decrees–ten scriptural blessings–over his church (12). Hartley wasn’t specific as to what these blessings ought to be, and after prayer Ahn compiled the list he shares here. These were decrees that Ahn declared over his church and had his members decree over their own lives.
God Wants to Bless You is presented in two parts. Part one describes the power (and purpose) of God’s blessing in our lives. Part two presents Ahn’s ten decrees. Each of the decree chapters begins with a prayerful ‘apostolic’ decree from Ahn, praying God’s blessing on a dimension of our life, then some teaching from Ahn on the topic, and a closing decree for the reader to pray out loud, declaring God’s blessing on their lives.
All of these decrees are biblically rooted. Ahn leads us through prayers that we will grow in our knowledge of God’s love, grow in grace, be in empowered by the Spirit, know our identity in Christ, grow in Christlike character, see God’s Kingdom come, experience God’s healing, prosperity and fulfill our personal God-given destiny.
Ahn is a good teacher and I was generally impressed by his use of scripture. I also liked that this book isn’t a simple ‘name it and claim it’ book. When Ahn writes about growing in love, character, grace, etc, he imparts strategies for living in a more Christlike way. This isn’t just about speaking God’s blessing in our life, Ahn shares vulnerably his sometimes difficult journey as a disciple. There is no dichotomy here between praying for something, and active spiritual discipline.
However I do have qualms with his understanding of Israel and prosperity. Ahn teaches about God’s continuing blessing on Israel and the Jewish people based on their covenant with God and his covenant faithfulness to them (41-46). He then teaches that all of the blessings of Israel are our inheritance in Christ because we have been grafted into Abraham’s family (46). To me, this smacks of supersessionism and leads to the misreading of the Bible. Secondly, Ahn’s teaching of prosperity involves renouncing ‘the Spirit of Poverty; on our lives. Ahn shares the story of renouncing the spirit of Poverty and receiving his first five-thousand dollar honorarium (57). I can agree with Ahn that we shouldn’t seek poverty for poverty sake, or idealize it. Yet I think what scripture commends is that God’s care for us and our needs. It is not a ‘pray and grow rich’ theology. I am nervous about the way the prosperity gospel penetrates Ahn’s description of God’s blessing.
But I am also appreciative that the Blessings that Ahn has us declare over our lives are so that we can be a blessing to our neighbors and the nations. The impact of the abundant life is that we share God’s love, grace, healing, and prosperity with others. Ahn teaches us that God blesses so that we can be a blessing. I can’t agree more. I am awed and inspired by God’s goodness to us and the way it is described here.
I give this book three stars and recommend it, albeit with reservations. I want to experience more of God’s unconditional goodness. I want that for you to.
Note: I recieved this book from Chosen books in exchange for my honest review.