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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
If we are heirs to the blessings of Abraham and prosperity is part of the new 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 what is wrong with experiencing physical healing, success, wealth and so 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.
The covenant includes blessing of land, descendants and redemption.
If we are Abraham’s spiritual children, then are we not heirs to all the financial blessings too?
Does this covenant apply today?
The problem with the prosperity gospel teaching is that its main focus is on financial blessing 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 is a classic passage used in prosperity teaching, but false teaching always uses Scripture out of context. If we continue to read the second part of verse 14 we find what this blessing is.
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 this verse Paul is talking about the spiritual blessing of the Holy Spirit, not entitled wealth.
Do you think Paul is saying to, 'Name it claim it, brother!'
No he isn't.
Prosperity gospel preaches that we are receive Abraham’s blessing as physical wealth.
Does this covenant apply to us in the way the prosperity gospel proponents teach it?
Think about it, if it did, we would all be experiencing great entitlements right now.
Do you think Christ's objective was to obtain and pursue wealth?
Is it about having 'faith' because of the 'Benjamin’s,' or is it about having the blessing of faith of Christ in Spirit.
False teaching will convey that since Christ died and rose again, we have inherited all the promises made to Abraham that will manifest today in this age in both spiritual and financial wealth.
However, Paul stated,
So that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. - Galatians 3:14
The Prosperity Gospel's Definition of Blessing
If you are 'blessed,' it means that you cannot be sick and be lacking. If you do, then you do not have enough faith. Their 'faith' is based on outward appearances.
If you believe this then this is the epitome of the 'prosperous' believer:
- 'Big hat' with expensive designer clothes
- Fancy house and car
- Big money equates to being a big tither.
- Healthy plus wealthy equal blessings.
- An elite title and salaried position in the institutional church system.
Does this portray the character of Christ in Scripture?
If it does, then why was he born in a peasant home rather than a regal one.
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 the reason Christ died and rose again was to increase our net worth?
Paul is saying the opposite. If you continue reading the full counsel Scripture, he conveys that Christ did so much to atone for us that we ought to empty ourselves of striving for wealth, but give when we have abundance 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
Reading Scripture in context deflates the prosperity gospel.
The Prosperity Gospel's Notion on Giving
The prosperity gospel preacher will say,
'Giving feels good doesn’t it?'
'Can I get an amen!'
'In our prosperity, we are able to meet the needs of the gospel and mankind.'
'Look at us and our ministries at all the good things we are doing, we are such blessed people.'
'Let's advertise our blessing to the world.'
'This is noble, amen!'
'If we continue tithing, God returns to us more and more!'
'Can I get your pledges people to receive blessing!'
'Give a dollar, get back ten.
Give ten, get back 100.
Give 100 get back 1,000.
'This is God's compensation plan for us.'
'This is called swimming in blessing people!'
'Can I get an amen!'
Unfortunately, many buy into their sales tactics of these false preachers and are bilked of their time and energy. What they are actually doing financing the lavish lifestyles of the wolves in sheep's clothing and their ministries who acquire great wealth off of their backs.The wealth did not come form God, but extortion.
Their great sounding compensation plan that they are selling as gospel is used to line their pockets.
Christ didn’t say give in hopes of a great return. Rather, he said to give and expect 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
False teachers will twist Scripture.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper  and be in good health, just as your soul prospers . - 3 John 1:2
If this verse is read in context, it is actually 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 or to lead by a direct and easy way. The same word is used four times elsewhere in Scripture and does not imply gaining material wealth.
A rendering in a different version of the Bible reveals this truth.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. - 3 John 1:2
The prosperity gospel promotes man as measure of all things, not Christ. It twists 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 desires?
In conclusion, the prosperity gospel doctrine is destroyed in this following 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 obtaining treasure in heaven, or the wealth of this world?
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