Probing the Prosperity Gospel
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. "FOR WHAT DOES IT PROFIT A MAN TO GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND FORFEIT HIS SOUL?" - Mark 8:34-36
Prosperity Gospel's Theology for Acquiring Wealth
- If we are heirs to the blessings of Abraham, and prosperity is part of the covenant, then why is it wrong to want financial blessing?
- What is wrong with the prosperity gospel?
- ”If I give generously, and have enough faith, then I can experience physical healing, success, wealth and much more.”
Now the LORD said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” - Genesis 12:1-3
Further text on the Abrahamic Covenant can be read in Genesis 15-17.
There is blessing of land, descendants and redemption in God’s covenant with Abraham.
- If we are Abraham’s spiritual children, then are we not heirs to all the financial blessings too?
The problem with the theology of the prosperity gospel teachings is that it focuses more on financial blessings and material entitlements.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”—in order that in Christ Jesus THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM MIGHT COME TO THE GENTILES. - Galatians 3:13:14
This passage is a classic example of “prosperity” teaching, but false teaching always uses Scripture out of context. If we continue to read ahead in verse 14 the Bible says:
...in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that WE WOULD RECEIVE THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH FAITH. - Galatians 3:14
In these verses Paul is talking about the spiritual blessing of salvation, not our material entitlements. Is Paul saying, “Name it claim it, brother!”? No he isn't.
Prosperity gospel preaches that we receive Abraham’s blessing through “faith”. An understanding of God’s covenant with Abraham is important in debunking this theory. God’s covenant with Abraham was unconditional; therefore, not contingent on his obedience.
Does this covenant apply to us then? Think about it, If it did, we would all be experiencing great entitlement right now.
- Do you think Jesus' objective was to obtain wealth?
- Is your faith about the “Benjamin’s” or is it about Jesus?
False teaching will convey, since Christ died on the cross for us, Christians have inherited all the promises made to Abraham which are both spiritual as well as material. Again, this is false.
Paul says, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. -Galatians 3:14
The Prosperity Gospel's Definition of Atonement
When Christ was crucified, God put our sickness, sorrow, grief, disease etc… and poverty on Jesus at Calvary.
- How does the "world" see a prosperous "Christian"?
Here are a few examples:
- Designer clothes
- Fancy house and car
- Must be a “big money” handler, a big “giver”
- Healthy and wealthy
- A nice “title” and “position” in the corporate church.
Does this portray the Jesus in the Bible? If it does, then why was He born in a stable, not a big white, regal castle?
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become RICH. -1 Corinthians 8:9
- Is this verse saying that Christ died in order to increase my net worth?
No, Paul is saying the opposite. If you continue reading the theme of the passage, he conveys that Christ did so much to atone for us that we ought to empty ourselves of the objective of acquiring wealth and give it to those in need, so that in our abundance, we supply to those in need.
…at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;as it is written, "HE WHO GATHERED MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO GATHERED LITTLE HAD NO LACK." - 2 Corinthians 8:14-15
If you read this Scripture it is hard not to miss the point, thus the prosperity gospel is deflated by truth.
The Prosperity Gospel's Theology on Giving
"Giving" feels good doesn’t it? “With prosperity, we are able to meet the needs of the gospel and mankind”, says the false prophet. “It’s noble”? “If we continue giving, God returns to us more and more!” “Give a dollar, get back ten; give ten, get back 100; give 100 get back 1,000; before you know it we are swimming in blessing!”
What a great sounding compensation plan, but it's false teaching used to line the pockets of many ministries.
Jesus didn’t say give, in hopes of a great return? No, Jesus was saying give, hoping for nothing in return.
And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.“But when you give a reception, INVITE THE POOR, THE CRIPPLED, THE LAME, THE BLIND, AND YOU WILL BE BLESSED, since they do not have the means to repay you; FOR YOU WILL BE REPAID AT THE RESURRECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS.” - Luke 14:12-14
The Prosperity Gospel's Misuse of Scripture
There are false teacher’s out there promoting 3 John 1:2: Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. If 3 John is read in context, it is revealed as a letter of greeting, not a letter of doctrine. Also, the word “prosperity” when translated from the Greek word eujodovw, means to grant a prosperous and expeditious journey, to lead by a direct and easy way. The same word is used four times in the Bible and does not mean to gain material wealth.
The prosperity gospel promotes man as measure of all things, not Jesus. It misinterprets Scripture on the Abrahamic Covenant, atonement and giving.
- Does the Holy Spirit do our bidding when we ring our little bells attending to our every need and desire?
In conclusion, the opposite or contradiction to the prosperity gospel message can be summed up is this passage:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.“BUT STORE UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURE IN HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO. - Matthew 6:19-21
Is your focus on acquiring treasure in heaven than temporal wealth?See results without voting
- Investing in Kingdom Principles, Reaping Eternal Rewards
Investing in what is eternal requires a different mindset, but the results are the best rewards, dividends, and compensation plan one could imagine.
- True Prophet vs. False "Profit"
In the church today, we have prophets among us who are called by God to speak truth and others who speak the opposite or counterfeit. Sometimes it can be difficult to discern one from the other.
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