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Probing the Prosperity Gospel

Updated on April 8, 2017

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

3 Questions

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?

Abrahamic Covenant

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!'

'Hooo ha!'

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 [2137] and be in good health, just as your soul prospers [2137]. - 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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    • SaiKit profile image

      SaiKit 6 years ago from Toronto

      Money is spiritual my brother. Even the Fluoride they put into the water to drug us is a spiritual attack. They do things such as creating "drug wars" to eliminate "competitions", putting harmless drug addicts into prisons, which are owned by them, so they can make money from tax payers.

      They then use the money to sell more drugs, bribe more official, create paramilitary, buy facilities, build huge corporations, and continue to use the money to buy politicians who will work for them.

      So they use the money to create monopolies that are supported by the governments. They also own the central banks. They print our money and force us to pay them back with interest. They make huge profits, but have to bail out their failing banks, with tax money. The money they continue to reinvest to further the goal of the New World Order, by destroying families by selling us pharmacutical drugs, sending people into prisons with long sentences, selling kids illegal drugs, doing pornagraphies... so on and so forth

      See? Everything is ultimately spiritual. If money falls into the wrong hands, it is powerful tool to destroy families and create NWO. If the money goes to the righteous, we can use it to help the poor, the children, the oppressed, and the imprisoned. Money is important when it is useful. Most of the time it is useful. Sadly, we spend way too much time debating the "Gospel of Prosperity" rather than to humbly pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, which includes transferring wealth to His people, so we can use the money to expand His kingdom.

      Can you see how many families are suffering, how many prostitutes on the streets, how many drug addicts, and homeless people? They need money from the righteous.

      It's about time for us to stop fighting with each other because very few people have that priviledge to spend these extra time doing these spiritual, self-important talks about "prosperity", and they are suffering, waiting for the children of God to actually do something.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
      Author

      PlanksandNails 6 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

      The Good News is the Gospel. We cannot do the Gospel because it has already been done by Jesus Christ. The Gospel is not something we do, but what we do is follow God's laws by His grace. If we try to do the Gospel, we make ourselves the savior instead of Him. The prosperity gospel makes money the "savior" and the "good news" instead of Jesus Christ.

      We are to be witnesses of God's redeeming work, not extensions of it. Many do not know the distinct difference and try to *do* the Gospel, which already has been done.

      A follower of Jesus Christ is a warrior who obeys the Commander by expanding the Kingdom of God and utilizing the resources He provides, whatever it may be.

      Yes, we need to get out of our four walled "playgrounds" and get into the battlefield for God to use us.

    • SaiKit profile image

      SaiKit 6 years ago from Toronto

      Regarding what you said, see what Jesus said about it:

      Matthew 25:31-46

      31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

      34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

      37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

      40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

      41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

      44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

      45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

      46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    • profile image

      Gen-Rev 5 years ago

      Thanks for your treatment of the prosperity gospel. It's a common view amongst churchgoers in Latin America, where I'm living. Jesus' kingdom is one of righteousness, through his grace and forgiveness (as you said), not one of "prosperity." Whatever health or material blessings we happen to have are to be used for his glory. We can serve and honor God with little materially and in ill health. Sometimes better.

    • TJenkins602 profile image

      Moses Jones 4 years ago

      The problem with the prosperity gospel is that it leads people to believe that they might not even be saved because they don't have this health, wealth and material riches that was supposedly promised to them.

      The whole point of Christianity is that our focus and desires should be directed towards God. The prosperity gospel teaches us to use God as a means to an end. That's not what the God of the Bible wants.

      What's even more sad is that a lot of well-off Christians will look at the person who has less and will judge him. The common statement is that you either do not have enough faith or you are involved in some kind of sin. The sad thing is that some believers are forced to make up some sin and trick themselves into believing that they are guilty of it.

      The interesting thing is that a similar thing happened to Job...

      The fact of the matter is if you are a true believer, it may be less likely for you to gain the material things that are so coveted.

      There is a lot of sick things going on in the Body of Christ.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
      Author

      PlanksandNails 4 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

      TJenkins602,

      I appreciate your comment and wholeheartedly agree.

      The prosperity gospel focuses on temporal things; whereas, the genuine truth focuses on eternal treasures, which are stored up in heaven.

      ("There is a lot of sick things going on in the Body of Christ.")

      Scripture has pointed to the great apostasy that is rampant in the church today. The centralization of power to key individuals have paved the way to gradual reformations and "new" revelations that deviate away from the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit of the Antichrist is promoted instead.

      What many believe to be revival is in fact apostasy.

      The fiery darts of Satan need to be exposed and recognized for what they are.

    • profile image

      Leah Truong 2 years ago

      Hello I am atheist !

    • PlanksandNails profile image
      Author

      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

      Leah Truong,

      Indeed!

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 2 years ago from The Ekklesia

      Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

      2013 C70 Convertible Hardtop $49,149.00 2013 MSRP

      A few mornings ago I was on my way to work after a good 8-10 inches of snow had fallen in our area. It was dark early in the morning and a sparkling clean black Volvo C70 convertible ends up in front of me at the stoplight. (I work on Volvos at a dealer) I first think to myself garage kept as there was no road salt and mess all over the car. While sitting there I notice the tag bracket says “Love God’s Word”. I instantly think amen to myself and wonder what parts they love. Then I read the custom tag and there was the answer to my thoughts. The tag read “JOSH 1&8”. After arriving at work I looked up the posted scripture.

      The journey out of the harlot church of Babylon for most of us involves lots of baggage. I attended many a conferences and preaching’s on the prosperity gospel of man. What God normally does with the baggage we have is guide us to become aware of it. Then the Lord will use His Word and Spirit to teach us His truth. Once we have the truth we are able to see the false teachings and let go of the baggage. Daily as we go into the world we see what man has done with the Word of God to justify his life style. The Word of God is not there for us to rationalize and justify the fleshly life we want to live. Yet we are surrounded by the many other gospels of the Kingdom that are preached.

      The part of the scripture that is ignored is the “that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it”. The prosperous and successful is God’s version not mans. The New Covenant has a similar scripture as well. The parts ignored to justify positions and lifestyle are “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you” Then it shall be done for you. The disciple of Christ learns early on that there is always an “IF”. I’ve often said our God is an if then God. This shows that we have a choice and must make a decision that is pleasing to God. If we know the “if’” and comply then we have joy in the “then” He gives us. The joy by living His way can't not be explained to those that have by doing it man's way.

      John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

    • PlanksandNails profile image
      Author

      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

      Rich,

      You painted a pretty good picture of the sparkling religious system that promotes their whitewashed tombs called Church. They flaunt Bible verses to justify their traditions, but any discerning disciple of Jesus Christ can see beyond the gloss and glitter exposing their hypocrisy.

      Now if way take Scripture you quoted and butcher it like the Church system does, this is how they understand John 15:7 according to their indoctrination.

      Pastor John 15:7 - "If you abide in Church, and your pastor's words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this my name, Church and denomination are glorified, that you bear much monetary to put in the tithing basket, so you will be my pew-warming Church minions."

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