I’ll get back to folk doctrines and unsubstantiated rumors in a little bit. Right now I’m going to write about one of the most enduring of the false doctrines.
My most recent brush with this doctrine comes from someone telling me about a friend’s bishop in Portland, Oregon. They were certain he needed to speak in General Conference. He had taught that his ward members did not need to feel uncomfortable if they did not feel like they had time or money or inclination to help others. Each person they encountered was in the state they had chosen before this life and was receiving what God wanted for them and what they had agreed to. He taught that it was actually sin to thwart the will of God.
The more common expression of this false doctrine is that each of us has a specific measure of inherent virtue. The truly virtuous are known by good fortune, wealth, and social prominence. The wealthy and popular are, by definition, filled with grace and truly virtuous. The widow and her mite are, of course sinful and depraved.
/Sigh. The Calvinists are still with us. Judging virtue by how close they and others are to the great and spacious building’s upper floors. To them there is no choice between God and Mammon. To their eyes, the two march hand in hand.
Luke 16:9; Matthew 6:24