The Prosperity Gospel (Part 1)

Published by DonDavidson on

In these days when so many preachers are building huge followings by telling their congregations that God wants them to be rich, I would like to revisit what I said in Chapter 6 of my first book, Beyond Blind Faith, entitled “Three Lies People Tell About God” (copyright 2017, 2019). The first of those lies is: “God wants to make you wealthy.” Here is part of what I said:

Preachers who just want your money will assure you that if you give to God, He will make you wealthy—or at least comfortably well off. They often quote what Jesus says in Matthew 19:29 to show that God has promised to bestow riches on those who make sacrifices for His church:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.[1]

These prosperity preachers may even tell you that you will receive good health and an easy life in the bargain. But they are wrong.

First of all, history refutes their claim. Jesus and His followers did not live lives of wealth and ease. Instead, they lived simple lives and traveled extensively to spread the Gospel. The Christians in Jerusalem—where the Christian church was born—were so poor that the apostle Paul raised money in Asia Minor and Greece to help them.[2]

Nor did the early Christians have an easy life. Jesus was crucified, and many of His followers were also martyred because of their preaching about Jesus. For three centuries after Christ’s death, many Christians lost their property, their freedom, and even their lives for the crime of being a Christian.

Nowhere is this suffering better illustrated than in the life of the apostle Paul. He traveled throughout the eastern Roman Empire: Palestine (i.e., Israel), Syria, Cyprus, Asia Minor (now Turkey), Macedonia (northern Greece), and Achaia (southern Greece). He probably also traveled to Crete and Spain.

[Paul had to bear many hardships] per II Corinthians 11:23-27 . . . which included whippings, beatings, a stoning, three shipwrecks, hunger, thirst, sleepless nights, and many dangers. Paul tells us that he learned to be content even when he was in humble surroundings and had little food.[3] And he also had to endure what he called a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7), which was probably some type of chronic health problem. Ultimately, Paul was beheaded in Rome because of his Christian faith.

If faith in Christ is supposed to bring health, wealth, and an easy life, the early followers of Jesus somehow missed out.

(Part 2 next week will cover the teachings of Jesus and the NT writers which show why these prosperity preachers are wrong. If you would like more information about Beyond Blind Faith or any of my other books, you will find a description of each book and either sample chapters or chapter excerpts for each book by clicking the link “Don’s Books” at the top of this page.)

[1] See also Mark 10:29-30 and Luke 18:29-30.

[2] See 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; and Romans 15:25-26. See also Acts 19:21.

[3]. See Philippians 4:11-12.


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