Prosperity Gospel – it’s a term thrown around a lot lately, especially among critics. However, I find it is not a term the actual folks accused of being prosperity gospel leaders use to describe themselves or appreciate. So, in today’s Monday Musings, we are looking at what is known as the Prosperity Gospel.
Prosperity Gospel according to Dicitionary.com means:
“a modern version or, according to some, perversion of the gospel according to which the full blessings of God available to those who approach Him in faith and obedience include wealth, health, and power.”
According to another definition I found online:
“The Prosperity Gospel (PG) is a fast-growing theologically conservative movement frequently associated with Pentecostalism, evangelicalism, and charismatic Christianity that emphasizes believers’ abilities to transcend poverty and/or illness through devotion and positive confession.”
Health, Wealth and Power
As I read those definitions, the first thing that popped into my mind was my devotion and confession must be lacking. I’m not rolling in the dough, so my faith must not be strong.
Then I asked myself if Jesus ever had a home while he walked the earth.
The answer to that is no according to His own words in Matthew 8:20, “And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
When I read Scripture from the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, I cannot locate where Jesus says that through positive confession, obedience, and faith, I will secure great wealth, health and power.
If I could secure those things with word and deed, I would be in a much better position – both physically and materialistically – spiritually, not so much.
Would my reliance on Jesus wane over time? Am I seeking wealth more than the one who gives it? It’s a good possibility.
Let’s look at the Bible
I am reminded of the passage where Jesus says it’s not good to serve both God and money.
Luke 16:13 says, “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
And yet, the research I have found so far shows that many of the most popular prosperity gospel preachers are quite wealthy, living lavish lifestyles. Some own mansions and private jets.
Let’s be honest
I don’t know the true wealth of everyone and I dare say neither do most of you reading this blog. I wonder how those who have done research on specific prosperity gospel preachers obtained those financial details.
But if anything we find about their wealth is remotely true, one has to ask the question about whether their intentions are true.
When Jesus sent out the 72 in Luke 10:20, he told them to go without a purse or bag or sandals.
In Mark, chapter 10, we read about the rich man who came to Jesus and asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Check out what Jesus tells him in verse 21, “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
One has to ask
Why is the world filled with poor people? So many people we know are struggling to make ends meet. Why do certain countries outside the US still drink dirty water? Why are children still dying from starvation? Why is medical care challenging to administer in our country as well as other countries?
For most of the past twenty years, my background in ministry is that of pastors living very meagerly in their homes, driving used cars, and working long hours to care for their flocks.
I guess I have been clueless about the prosperity gospel movement. My pastors failed to equip me properly on how to store up my treasures right here on earth. It seems I have been attending the wrong kind of church. Or not.
Not so fast
Didn’t Jesus address storage too in one of the gospels?
Yes, he did in Matthew 6:19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”
So I am a little confused by the prosperity health and wealth gospel present in our nation today that is taking so many by storm.
One thing that has become clear to me is what happened in 2020 with the prosperity gospel pastors. A few well know, and wealthy prosperity gospel preachers spoke Covid-19 out of existence last summer. Only Covid-19 did not disappear and went on to kill thousands of more people here in the US and many more worldwide. So what happened?
If you’ll send in just $50
Prosperity gospel preachers promise that God will bless you abundantly financially if you give $50 to their ministry. If God doesn’t bless you, then you must be doing something wrong or not giving enough.
What did prosperity gospel preachers tell their congregations when Covid-19 put thousands out of work and into deep financial crisis? Did they tell them t’s because they didn’t give enough or have enough faith for God to respond?
How about all those who got sick and died? It’s my understanding some prosperity gospel preachers are great healers. So why all the deaths?
You see, when you step back and look at this from afar, one has to ask these questions. Please help us understand. I am not criticizing them; on the contrary, just trying to understand what it is all those people got wrong. Why are so many suffering financially and physically?
I have also noticed many prosperity gospel preachers are silent on social media as of late. Where did they go? It’s worth considering.
We need to pray for all those prosperity gospel preachers and evangelists as well as their flocks.
Jesus didn’t promise us an easy time. In fact, he said we would have trials in this world, but to take heart because he has overcome the world. So let us put our trust in him over someone asking us to donate $50, so we can prosper too.
The Teaching Lady