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Why Christians Should Utterly Detest, Abhor, And Loathe The Prosperity Gospel

August 29, 2008

Quite simply: it is unbiblical, man-centered, and frankly, would have horrified the authors of the New Testament.

Some people probably need more than a context free statement to be convinced. Allow me to oblige.

As a follower of Christ there are many reasons to hate and fight against the Prosperity Gospel. In fact, as I have mentioned before, the prosperity message should not be allowed in any way an association with the word gospel; it should be identified as an entirely foreign belief set alien to that of Christianity. A different faith that does not follow, believe, or put its trust in Jesus, but worships Mammon and hopes that somehow a person might be able to manipulate Jesus or God into bringing more Mammon into their life.

However, like any good heresy it has some kernels of truth. These small kernels are then multiplied with faulty assumptions, incorrect beliefs, and horrendous exegesis. When that formula is summed up one arrives at wrong conclusions which, of course, lead into erred belief sets and practices. Let’s briefly look at just one–of many–incorrect conclusions of Mammonianity. One of the ‘creeds’ of prosperity proponents is that if you are faithful, and trust God, and give him money, he is good and faithful to bless you out of his abundance and riches more than you could ever give him. God loves us, and created us to bless us, and wants to prosper us.

In the world of the New Testament it was common to give gifts expecting to get something in return. In fact, this pattern dominated much of life in ancient times: family life, social life, and political life. This expectation was natural because the people of that time lived in a limited goods society; therefore, if you gave something to someone it was proper to expect something back. This seems to fit in with the view of the Mammonians. If we give to God then he will give back to us, and not only that, but God is so awesome he will give us much more than we would ever dare ask or hope. Right?

There’s one GIANT problem with that theology however: it is man-centered. The only ‘gift giving’ that ever occurs between a believer and God is God giving unwarranted gifts to undeserving people. The only indebtedness that is ever accrued between a person and God is on the side of people. God has given us every good and perfect gift through salvation in Jesus Christ. Period. No addendum. No relative clauses. Every good and perfect gift and we are indebted eternally. God is the patron and we are the client. Any attempt to reverse those roles is fundamentally wrong. No man can ever do anything to place God in his debt.

This is of course not how a Mammonian would phrase things, but don’t be fooled. When your ‘faith’ is characterized by being not only a child of God (which again if you look at first century context Mammonians use incorrectly: it is not the spoiled American brat child they proclaim) but is also deeply rooted in the awareness that you are an indebted client and slave who could never repay God then you have a God centered theology: God gives and we are eternally indebted to him.

However, if your ‘faith’ is characterized by an equal partnership between you and God, or worse yet, characterized by God being some impersonal ATM force that you can act upon, or even worse yet, like some senile benign father whom you can petulantly stomp your foot at and say, “I want more Daddy, MORE,” then you have a false man centered religion of entitlement. No matter what you might argue, or what you might say, or what Scripture you twist out of context: you are no longer a follower of Christ but a lover of Mammon.

So the next time you hear some Mammonian using Christianese that sort of makes sense remember: their message is false, unbiblical, man-centered, and would horrify the authors of the NT.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

And that’s just the beginning of the problems with the Mammonians! Read more.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2008 3:35 pm

    Wait, are you saying “YHWH” ≠ “Hebrew ATM”?

    Really?

    Oh, man!

  2. Jake permalink
    August 29, 2008 10:56 pm

    Is Joel Osteen going to be the new Todd Bentley in here now?

  3. August 30, 2008 7:46 am

    And it has nothing to do with the Gospel and is as made up as the Rapture.

  4. Jake permalink
    August 30, 2008 10:36 am

    You know what I hate more than prosperity gospel?

    Jimmy Buffet.

    Man, that guy SUCKS! He makes my ears bleed.

  5. August 31, 2008 8:20 am

    So, uh…are you saying I SHOULDN’T have ‘seeded’ into Scotteriology?

  6. August 31, 2008 9:54 am

    Whoa, whoa, whoa…WHOA. Let’s not start talking foolishness.

    The special favor received by those who seed ministries that are right (what I call the Law of Multiplication) is different than the snake-oil-manistry of the prosperity message.

    You can feel confident in your gift, and in the even larger gift you know that you want to give in the future.

    😉

  7. Caron permalink
    September 1, 2008 2:26 pm

    Amen and amen. Have you seen the “demo” on Justin Peters’ site? See: http://www.justinpeters.org. He gave his full length seminar at my church and comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur. Keep contending!

  8. dadroz permalink
    February 24, 2009 7:49 am

    Drew… uh, neither “rapture” nor “trinity” is found in the Bible, yet they are both very true concepts if not specifically biblical words… or do you not believe 1st Corinthians 15:50-54? That we shall not all sleep but the living be changed and the dead in Christ raised in the twinkling of an eye because we cannot go to heaven as we are, flesh and blood.

    Agathos, amen and amen. I was confused for a while by this post, but your follow up comment reassured me somewhat. You see, I am always concerned when there is no clarification of the prosperity gospel in the negative sense or any distinction between false teachings and what God really has promised the believer, ie. abundantly life, but I do agree 100% that any unbiblical description of how to prosper is abhorrant… as, however, is any unbiblical claim that God has no plans to prosper us, to turns our rags into riches, to reward sowing with abundant reaping, ie. give and it will be given, pressed down shaken together and overflowing… the difference is the selfish or selfless heart condition. I ask many people who are unclear, just what does God desire for His children, poverty and suffering? Or does He want the best for us but of course for us to worship Him and know we are blessed even IF we do have to experience persecution for Christ’s sake, etc… because Paul was converted by Jesus defending His church on the Damascus Road, right? I always ask for more details on who has said what SPECIFICALLY that is not in the Bible, instead of the ambiguous “prosperity Gospel” nonsense that some people spew and criticize, but you were quite thorough with the description of conceited, covetous expectancy.

  9. Unemployed WASP permalink
    November 22, 2009 1:36 pm

    I always found it ironic that men, claiming to speak for God, assured that if you give them all your money that you’ll be rich. I’ve yet to see that actually happen. What I have seen is happen is Christian businessmen go out business and file bankruptcy giving away their profits to these men.

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