Christian social networking for Bible Study and Spiritual Growth.
The “prosperity gospel” promises Christians that, if they “sow a financial seed” (give an offering) into a church or ministry that proclaims the prosperity gospel, they will be guaranteed a “harvest” of wealth and worldly material blessings from God. This results in a selfish “giving money to get blessings” mentality.
It used to be that Christianity was known for the “cross” of self-sacrifice. Jesus told His disciples, in Matthew 16:24, that anyone who wanted to follow Him would have to deny himself and take up his cross. However, prosperity-preaching Christian churches have come up with a new and improved tactic for recruiting disciples. They have decided to allow prospective disciples to trade up from a “cross” to a “Cadillac”. Instead of asking for self-denial, as Jesus did, they promise the pampering of self with rewards of wealth for giving to God. Of course, the way that you give to God is by giving to their churches and ministries. Some even go so far as to promise a hundredfold return from God on the donations made to their ministries. And, they try to justify their unbiblical and worldly conduct by even suggesting that Jesus and the Apostle Paul were actually both wealthy themselves.
Well, what about this prosperity gospel? Does it square with Scripture? Were Jesus and Paul wealthy? Jesus said that foxes and birds had homes, but He Himself had nowhere to lay His head; Jesus was homeless (Matthew 8:20). The Bible states that Paul and the other apostles were hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed and homeless (1st Corinthians 4:9-11). And, Jesus said that His disciples would also live lives of self-denial and sacrifice, taking up their “cross” (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27; Luke 14:33). He said that we are not to lay up treasures on this earth, but in heaven; moreover, that we cannot serve two masters, God and money (Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 6:24). The Bible states that if we are attached to this world and love “its things”, we are enemies of God and do not have His love in us (James 4:4; 1st John 2:15).
Also, whereas “prosperity preachers” present their wealth as being proof of their strong faith, their closeness to God, and as being a blessing that God will bestow upon all Christians having strong faith; Jesus presents a completely opposite picture. He says that it is “hard” for rich people to enter heaven (Matthew 19:23; Mark 10:23; Luke 18:24). Furthermore, He stresses the “danger” of riches in His parable of the sower of the seed, when He states that God’s Word is “choked” by the deceitfulness of riches (Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14). Whereas “prosperity preachers” tell Christians to desire and strive for wealth, and to expect material riches to result from a strong faith; the Bible declares that those who hasten to be rich will not go unpunished (Proverbs 28:20). It says that people who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare; moreover, that they fall into foolish and harmful lusts that lead them to destruction and perdition (1st Timothy 6:9). Rather than proclaiming money to be a reward or a proof of strong faith, Scripture warns that the love of money is the root of all evil (1st Timothy 6:10). And, while prosperity preachers proudly speak of their luxurious homes, cars, yachts and personal jets as being proof of their status with God, Jesus states that it is “fools” who lay up treasures for themselves (Luke 12:16-21).
At this point, regarding the subject of private jets owned by preachers, ministries and churches, I am compelled to illustrate their misplaced priorities and abandonment of the selfless gospel of Jesus Christ. It is appalling to know that the cost of “just one” of their private jets would provide enough food to keep nearly 100,000 starving children alive for a year. Now I ask you: “What would Jesus do?” If you’re a professed Christian minister, church or ministry, and you own one of these multi-million-dollar jets, sell it, and keep 100,000 children alive for a year! Furthermore, if you’re a gospel preacher, how can you justify driving a Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Porsche or other luxury car costing nearly 100 thousand dollars, when you could provide enough food to save 1000 children from dying of starvation by driving a $30,000 car instead? What would Jesus want you to do? Would He want you to buy an $80,000 Mercedes, or would He want you to buy a $30,000 Ford and keep 1000 children alive?
It is interesting that prosperity preachers tell Christians that a “rich faith” will result in their being rich. And, they tell them that they will remain poor if they do not have a “rich” or strong faith. However, the Bible says that it is the “poor” who are rich in faith (James 2:5). The truth of the matter is that today’s popular “prosperity gospel” blatantly contradicts Scripture. Prosperity preachers are manipulating and twisting Scripture to keep the money coming in so that they can continue living lavishly.
The Bible has warned us that false teachers would arise teaching heresies and exploiting Christians with deceptive words for covetous purposes, and that those who teach unscriptural things to use “godliness” (the things of God) as a means of personal gain, are proud and have corrupt minds that are destitute of the truth (2nd Peter 2:1-3; 1st Timothy 6:3-8). This passage in 1st Timothy also reminds us that we came into this world without any material possessions, and that we will not be able to take any with us when we leave, so we should be content with just having food and clothing. Does that sound anything like today’s prosperity gospel? Absolutely not!