Prosperity Gospel – it’s a term thrown around today, especially the critics. I find it is not a term the actual folks accused of being prosperity gospel leaders use on themselves or appreciate.
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.
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, particularly the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, I cannot locate where Jesus says that through devotion, obedience, and faith, I will secure great wealth, health and power.
I guess in my little mind; if I could secure those things with word and deed, I would be in a much better position – physically and materialistically – spiritually, not so sure.
Would my reliance on Jesus wane over time? It’s a 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 both monetarily and materialistically.
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? 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?
My background for most of the past twenty years is that of the pastor(s) 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 pastor(s) 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.
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 gaining ground in our nation today.
I will continue to research the matter because I want to understand what people across the nation are involved in each day.