Saturday, January 19, 2008
What is Wrong With Prosperity Preaching?
Some Prosperity teachers equate wealth with godliness and faith. The Bible says otherwise.
"This is what the wicked are like-- always carefree, they increase in wealth." (Psalm 73:12)
"No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money." (Matt. 6:24)
"He said to them, 'You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight." (Luke 16:15)
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matt.19:23-24) Note: It is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days." (James 5:1-3)
"But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape." (Mal. 3:15)
"They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be an unclean thing. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD's wrath. They will not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it, for it has made them stumble into sin." (Ezk. 7:19)
"But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business." (James 1:10-11)
"You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Rev. 3:17)
Most Prosperity teachers boast about their wealth saying that God has blessed them. Their wealth usually comes from donations.
"For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world." (1 John 2:16)
"As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:16-17)
Prosperity teachers will tell you that you can expect a BIG return on your "donation". They create greed and discontent by saying that God wants you to be wealthy and that you will become wealthy if you give to them and have faith. The Bible teaches the opposite.
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 3:2)
"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things." (Phil. 3:19)
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Tim. 6:6-10)
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Heb. 13:5)
"A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him." (Prov. 28:22)
"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 treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matt. 6:19-20)
"Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, 'Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay." (Luke 3:14)
"Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." (Prov. 30:8)
Giving to Get is Unbiblical and can result in the opposite happening.
"When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:3)
"So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be." (1 Kings 3:11-12)
The Prosperity doctrine teaches that God wants you to be wealthy and have big houses, cars, etc. They teach that if you lead a godly life, you will get these things. Again, the Bible teaches different.
"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." (1 Tim. 6:3-5)
Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money." 1 Tim. 3:2-3)
"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve..." (1 Peter 5:2)
"You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts." (Jer. 12:1-2)
"Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful." (Mark 4:18-19)
NOTE: Read the parable of the Sower. (Mark 4:3-20)
Many Prosperity teachers will tell you that prosperity is a part of salvation.
Lazarus the beggar went to heaven. (Luke 16:22)
"Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (James 2:5)
"Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15)
"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers..." (1 Peter 1:18)
"Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." (Luke 6:20-21)
Prosperity teachers often wear expensive clothes, gold, and jewelry. Here's what the Bible says about this.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:3-4)
"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." (1 Tim. 2:9-10)
"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long...Woe to you..." (Matt. 23:5, 13)
The Prosperity Doctrine teaches that you will be rewarded now while you are living for your giving. It teaches that you will get a "100 fold" return on your donations. The Bible differs.
"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done." (Matt. 16:27)
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 14:13-14)
"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven..." (Luke 6:23) (See also: Luke 12:33 Matt. 5:12 Matt. 6:20 Matt. 19:21 )
"Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (Matt. 6:1)
"Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (Matt. 19:28-29)
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." (Rev. 22:12)
Here's some verses that Prosperity teachers use:
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)
"You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." (2 Cor. 9:11)
This verse is self-explanatory. The key words are: "so that you can be generous on every occasion". God gives so we can give. If we give because we think our own pocketbook will grow, that’s being greedy. As we found out (James 4:3), selfish motives will get you nowhere. Also the use of the word "rich" is only referring to needs, not wants. (See verses 8 and 12)
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9)
This verse is only referring to a spiritual or heavenly "rich" not an earthly rich. Jesus had a spiritual "rich" in heaven and became earthly poor so that we can become spiritually "rich" in heaven. You can find a good example of this spiritual "rich" in 2 Cor. 6:10. "...sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything." Notice also that the disciples didn't hoard, they gave everything away. (See 2 Cor. 8:3)
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:33)
The key words here are "these things". Prosperity teachers never tell you what "these things" are. Basic needs only, food, drink, clothing. Not wealth and riches. (See verse 31)