prosperity1

“I believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You will say, “Are we not to strive all we can to get all the money we can?” You may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in so doing, you may do service to the cause of God. But what I said was that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.” — Charles Spurgeon

Does God want his people rich? If one would watch any popular Christian ministry on television at any given time, not only would they hear that God wants his people rich, he demands it. Some who adhere to this teaching would even go so far as to suggest that it’s a sin to be anything other than rich. Yet the question must be asked; Does God really want his people rich or wealthy?

One of the more sinister doctrinal messages which has come out of the Charismatic movement that has done more harm to the body of Christ, and has literally ruined not only the countless lives in the process, but as well has harmed, even destroyed the finances of many a person who has bought into the lie is in fact the Prosperity gospel. This other type of gospel message took hold back in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s. By the early part of the 21st century, the modern church had not only been seduced by the prosperity gospel, it had adopted its teachings to such a degree that the prosperity gospel was the central focus of every mega church in the nation, regulating the message of grace and the cross to the sidelines of other scriptural doctrines which once were held to high esteem. In other words, the modern church found something better than the cross, something better than grace, something better than the demand for holiness, or the admonition against sin in the life of a believer.

So where do those who teach that God expects his people to be rich or extremely wealthy? It can be directly traced to the Abrahamic covenant. The belief is this, when God told Abraham he would bless him and make his seed great, (this includes the church (Gal. 3:7-9)) that all the promises given to Abraham are by right been given to the church as well. This includes the blessings as well. (Gen. 12:1-3, Deut. 28) The problem? The old covenant has been relegated to the new covenant and one which we, who are now children of the promise thru Christ, have a better covenant because of the cross and not Abraham. (Hebrews 8:6)

While it is most certainly true that God does indeed bless his children, the problem with the so called ‘Prosperity gospel‘ is that it makes God more or less a bell hop, who has to pay out for our paying in to a system of giving and/or works. The teaching goes like this, if someone gives $100 God is obligated to give $1,000. If someone gives $100,000 dollars to a particular ministry, then God is then obligated to give up to 1 million in return. That is the prosperity message in a nut shell. The reality is, this sort of teaching is nothing but a ‘give to get’ gospel. Yet today, over a decade later, this same belief is blinding hundreds of thousands of believers, robbing them of not only their spirit by teaching them a lie, it is in fact robbing them of their finances while the only ones who are reaping the harvest of their ill-gotten gain is those teachers who are fleecing the flock.

The truth is, the prosperity gospel (which is no gospel at all) is actually something far more worse than realized, and it is directly rooted or taken from one of the most secular ideas to date – the American Dream. That’s right, the prosperity gospel is in fact just another version of the American Dream by which attaining wealth and having homes, cars, the 401K and stocks and bonds, are the rewards of serving Christ. But only to those who can pay to participate. It is not only dangerous to believe this, it is a doctrine of demons. This is where the teaching of the prosperity gospel is flawed, because it shuts out those who cannot afford to participate due to their economic standing, and only accepts those who are able to pay into its scheme. In other words, if one is poor, destitute and/or facing financial hardship, this teaching and all its benefits are not for them. This again settles the argument which says God is only for the rich or for those who are able to pay, it makes God a player of favorites and not one of love of all men who diligently seek and serve him.

To believe the prosperity gospel is in essence to believe a false gospel, it is a manipulative message that is a combination of both new age teachings (law of attraction/positive thinking) and materialism. So whose getting rich from this type of “gospel” message? If we look at the yearly income tax returns (that we know of) it is obvious to see that the ones who are generally reaping from this deception is in fact the preachers and teachers themselves and none other. Currently, the top leading proponents of this so called ‘gospel’ message are abundantly wealthy, yet one of more startling facts of the result of the prosperity gospel is that as of 2013, 33% of those who are born again believers are in financial debt and are unable to get out. (George Barna, Barna Research Archives: Money, Barna Research Group.) If the gospel of wealth and financial return is actually true, then why are so many Christians falling into bankruptcy? Because it is based on greed, the single most inward problem with man – his desire for gain.

The fact is, when we look at the prosperity gospel in its entirety, we begin to see that the only ones getting rich are the ones preaching the lie, the rest are suckers. Strong words, but even stronger are those found in the word of God concerning those who would fleece the flock for gain, “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:3)

The question reprised: Does God want us to be rich? The answer is not does God want us to be rich, but instead, he desires us to follow him thru his son, to believe upon Christ and be saved. (John 3:16)  The truth is, Jesus never once told us that the benefits to serving him would be material, nor did he tells us throughout his word that those who serve him would gain wealth or riches, actually, Jesus had a great deal to say about riches and those who follow that path, and it wasn’t nice.

The words of Christ concerning wealth and riches:

  1. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19)
  2. “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21)
  3. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit His life? (Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25)
  4. Foolish is storing treasure for self; not being rich toward God (Luke 12:21); do not store up treasure on earth (Matthew 6:19-21)
  5. Cares of the world, delight in riches and desire for things, choke the word (Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14)
  6. Where your treasure is your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21)
  7. We cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13)
  8. What is exalted by men (wealth), is an abomination before God (Luke 16:14-15)
  9. Wealth is tied to faith and worry.  People who are concerned about earthly possessions and money are not depending on God’s provision (Luke 12:22-34)
  10. It’s difficult for the rich to enter heaven (Mark 10:23-25)
  11. In extreme cases where wealth is a god, sell all you have, give to the poor and follow Jesus (Matthew 19:21, Luke 12:33).  Sell all and give to the poor to have treasure in heaven (Luke 18:18-23)
  12. It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to have eternal life (Luke 18:24-27)

Yet how many today will hear this truth taught or preached in most of the popular pulpits across America or on Christian television? Still, many of these preachers and teachers who advocate the prosperity gospel will link money to faith, give to get, and worse, cause fear thru condemnation and a penalty to anyone who doesn’t give to their particular ministry. Do you find it ironic that with all of the leading proponents of this gospel (and it’s not a true gospel) message that God will only bless those who give to their specific financial need? Is God playing favorites? It seems so. Yet people will believe a lie to such a degree that they will allow their money to leave their hand in order to receive some type of financial windfall. That my friend is manipulation to the highest degree.

Yes, God will bless us. Yes, God will take care of us. Yes, following Christ is a blessing, but that is in fact what the word tells us to begin with, that Christ is our greatest blessing – salvation and not financial wealth. The problem I go back to with the prosperity gospel is that it denigrates the cross to nothing more than a token of a past truth. In other words, the prosperity gospel is yet another attempt to replace the cross, replace the real truth and that truth is in this life we are not promised that our days will be filled with contentment and financial ease, actually, the gospel message is one of sacrifice, suffering and endurance. Notice what Paul said in Romans 5:3 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.”  We are not called to serve our own desires, but to come to the cross and deny ourselves, deny our wants and what our flesh would seek, actually, ours is a faith of sacrifice, submitting our will to his perfect will. The problem with the prosperity gospel is that it focuses on self and not on denial of self. Let us continue to weigh every teaching and every doctrine so that we too shall not become deceived in these last days.

This makes the prosperity gospel a dangerous doctrine.

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

Comments
  1. Hu Christopher- I enjoy your columns – I notied this ispart 3. Where can i find part 1 and 2 sir? I looked but could not find. If possible maybe you can email them tome at sgs7000@gmail.com

    thanks you,

    • Hi Steve,
      just scroll down and you’ll see parts 1&2. The first deals with the ‘once save always saved’, the second (part 2) deals with the Sabbath.

      • clinton says:

        brother christopher have u ever wrote any articles on the swaggarts, the reason i ask i cuz i was looking on ur website and i could not find anything, if so please let me thru my email with a link thanks

      • No, because I never felt the need to.

      • clinton says:

        ok I was just wondering thanks not trying to cause trouble, I agree with u on the prosperity gospel its not of God

      • clinton says:

        reason I asked this recent article of urs at the top of article it had donnie swaggart name thats why I asked brother thanks https://thepropheticnews.com/2015/07/25/the-end-of-american-idealism-and-the-beginning-of-a-new-order-when-the-past-becomes-the-present-and-the-present-becomes-our-future/

      • Sometimes when I tag someone it is simply to add the article to a particular name and when someone does an online search, they will not only see the person they are looking for, they will also see this particular article. It’s simply tagging to draw people to this site.

      • clinton alexander says:

        ok now I understand anyway I also love Donnie Swaggarts preaching he can preach

      • Scarlett says:

        Christopher..I don’t believe you saw Clinton’s comment on the “Vision of Wolves” post so that you could respond to it. In view of your blog post, I would be very interesting in hearing your response to Clinton as well;;;Here is what Clinton commented:
        “clinton says:
        July 24, 2015 at 7:35p07

        Brother christopher thanks for the truth, also I am a media church member of Jimmy Swaggart ministries, and on my laptop I watch live the sunday morning and nite services and wednsday nite services from brother swaggarts church, I do not attend church in person cuz I have found most churches even pentecostal do not preach the truth of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and the message of the cross, so thus i stay home and watch services and programs of swaggart on laptop, Brother swaggarts is my home church thru the laptop http://www.sonlifetv.com and brother swaggart preaches the message of the cross same as u brother christopher, brother swaggart says most of the body of christ has left the cross, I have two Bibles with swaggarts several of his music cds and teaching cds they are are such a blessing as u and tammy are, the wolves has been in the church for years, like kenneth copeland joel osteen joyce meyers and ect they are false prophets and wolves, i will even say benny Hinn is a false prophet if im wrong God forgive me, joel osteen thinks people dont jesus to be saved”

      • My personal opinion is that people should follow their heart and be careful of whomever they listen to.

      • clinton alexander says:

        i want to know if brother christopher thinks i am wrong, I will listen to brother christopher

      • I am not saying any one is wrong, just go where you believe God is leading you. You’ll find that not everyone will agree on every thing, but we should be respectful enough to allow others to believe whatever they wish. So if you feel like SBN is where you desire to get your spiritual food, then by all means do so, don’t let anyone tell you anything else. At the end of the day we will ALL give an account for what we accepted, agreed with or rejected.

      • clinton alexander says:

        thanks I agree

      • clinton alexander says:

        i did say all of that scarlett and I do not believe i was wrong on any of it, and i do believe brother christopher saw what i posted, im just wondering why u asking brother christopher what he thinks and thats fine

      • terrykemm says:

        I find part 3 and part 4 but can’t find any reference to part 1 & 2.

  2. Tammy says:

    another excellent one. You are a very busy man my brother!

    • clinton says:

      Tammy I know I asked you what u thought of brother swaggart and you told me, it upset me and hurt what u said about my pastor, im not trying to start an arguement anyway thats all i want to say

  3. clinton says:

    right on brother christopher

  4. clinton alexander says:

    i agree with brother christopher and i know sbn is of God and brother swaggart preaches the truth, and yes the Bible says to be carefull whom we listen to, amen thanks brother christopher

  5. Todd Tempo says:

    Chris, I believe in the unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor of God. Grace. For some reason when I read your column, my spirit feels beat up & turned off. Is that how you want your readers to feel? Jesus’s greatest commandment; Love The Lord your God with all your Heart, mind, soul, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself. We should….Lean not on your own understanding, right. Religiosity and Pharasee ism have done more damage to the Gospel of Grace than anything else. Thoughts?

    • clinton alexander says:

      name it and claim it prosperity teaching in churches today it is not scriptural straight from hell

    • Sometimes getting a shot doesn’t feel good at first, but the end result is, you’re better off down the road. Grace is treasured beyond measure, yet without truth, without revelation of what that grace costs, it would not have the same impact nor meaning. My point is this, we are called to examine someone’s teachings and weigh it with the word. If it’s wrong, then it’s wrong and should be rejected. There are many uplifting articles I write about, my work in China, the revival that is occurring in Asia, souls being saved, but it’s also my obligation to examine what comes down the pike when it comes with the name of the Lord written on it. That is the responsibility we are given in the word.

      • ajc says:

        I wish you would just gently tell Clinton how you feel about Swaggart. He is sincere and struggling over this. The new testament named names. I am broken hearted over all the money I gave to these charlatans when I should have used it for my family. I think it is wrong for you to go into all this stuff and then pull back on helping Clinton on this one. ajc

  6. madiya71 says:

    Does prosperity gospel include tithing? Here in South Africa have been in churches where people with tithes comes forward to be prayed for to receive a special blessing. It always saddened my heart as I feel it’s one way of manipulating the saiths. As such I have negative attitude towards tithing. I tried to find articles on Prophecy News website but was unsuccessful. It will help a lot for brother Chris to add a search option as there are so many articles in his website.

  7. Sue Long says:

    While I agree with this article to a degree, it seems a little one-sided and tends to loop together anyone who ever preaches about money. There are many false teachers who use the prosperity message to deceive others and don’t preach anything else. However, there are also true minsters of the gospel out there who preach the rest of the truth of the gospel along with portions of the prosperity message. I know several of them personally. God DOES desire us to be rich. But it is to be a blessing to others. Not everyone can be trusted with riches. If you’re more concerned about wealth for personal gain & selfish desires that is what Matthew 6:24 & Luke 16:13 are talking about. But if you see wealth as a tool to bless others with, that is not serving money, it is money serving you. God also doesn’t mind if you have nice things, but if that’s your ultimate goal then you are serving money. I currently am not rich, but I have some dreams that I know are God-given that will require me to have a great deal of money to accomplish. (One of which is to open a transitional home for single women and mothers who are currently homeless – pretty sure that’s not a selfish use for my money!!!) Do you think He would give me the dreams and goals and not provide the money I need to accomplish them? Of course not.

  8. grace says:

    Hi Christopher

    Shalom

    Some prosperity gospel comes alongside the Gospel of Jesus Christ !

    Its subtle yet not for the spiritually discerning.

    I wonder how come these preachers and teachers have theirs prayers answered in the aspect of huge financial blessings !

    I was illusive and confused at times when the very mention/emphasis/highlight is about financial blessings in the sermons!

    Seriously that is not what Jesus Gospel is all about….its about the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission . Its about the cost of being Jesus disciples….yet that wasn’t preached!

    Prosperity gospel appeals to those who are pursuing wealth subtly….and also the already wealthy wanting more wealth…increase…it really tickle their ears….

    Pastors who preach prosperity message are not even having to dirty their hands but sinply enjoy the luxurious lifestyle!
    Going from conference to conference to preach and teach thats all….its no difference from businessmen trips…luxuries of 1st class treatment everywhere every time!

    The world has entered the church!

    Why would these pastors compare or talk about their net worth??

    My self worth and net worth is in the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ…even if I am not financially prosperous….I am spiritually rich in Jesus Christ as the Word of God lives in me 🙂
    I am bought at a high price ..the cost of Jesus life!

    All Glory be to Jesus Christ 🙂
    Amen

    grace

  9. ajc says:

    It’s about the new covenant and the kingdom ajc

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