The Prosperity Gospel (Part 2)

Published by DonDavidson on

Last week I quoted part of what I said in Chapter 6 of my first book, Beyond Blind Faith, entitled “Three Lies People Tell About God” (copyright 2017, 2019), regarding the lie that “God wants to make you wealthy.” Here is part two:

This notion that God wants Christians to be wealthy is also inconsistent with the attitude of Jesus and the New Testament writers toward money. For example, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews gives this advice: “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have. . . .” (Hebrews 13:5) And Paul warns us that

the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

—1 Timothy 6:10[1]

Jesus told the rich young ruler to give away all of his possessions to the poor, so that he would have treasure in heaven.[2] Jesus gave similar advice to His own followers, telling them not to horde earthly possessions,[3] but instead to give them away:

Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

—Luke 12:33-34[4]

Jesus told us to not even be concerned about the necessities of life, like food and clothing,[5] but instead to “seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (Luke 12:31)[6] Indeed, Jesus seems to say that Christianity is opposed to wealth—or perhaps more accurately, the lust for wealth:

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

—Luke 16:13[7]

And Jesus said to His disciples,

Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to 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.

—Matthew 19:23-24[8]

Jesus knew that the wealthy would be tempted to seek their happiness and security through money rather than God. In this way, wealth impedes the development of the relationship God longs to have with each of us, for He insists that we make Him the most important thing in our lives.[9] That cannot happen so long as money occupies that top spot.

In addition, a focus on money leads us down the wrong path by emphasizing this earthly life. Christianity is more concerned with eternal life. That is why Jesus’s followers were willing to sacrifice everything, including their own lives, to win eternity. As Paul said: “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)[10]

Thus, making us wealthy often runs counter to God’s interests. Wealth encourages us to focus on the pleasures and worries of this earthly life, rather than on God and eternal life. In light of this, why would God want to inflict riches on anyone?

However, this does not mean that Matthew 19:29 is a lie, for “ ‘God is not a man, that He should lie. . . .’ ” (Numbers 23:19)[11] Anyone who leaves home or family for God will receive many times as much, because she will become part of the much larger family of God and will be welcomed by God’s many true followers. And that is a reward greater than any promised by the prosperity preachers.

(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]. Similarly, one of the qualifications for an elder is that he be “free from the love of money.” See 1 Timothy 3:3.

[2]. Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22

[3]. See Matthew 6:19: “ ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.’ ”

[4]. See also Matthew 6:20-21.

[5]. Luke 12:22-30 and Matthew 6:25-32

[6]. Similarly, see Matthew 6:33.

[7]. Similarly, see Matthew 6:24.

[8]. Similarly, see Mark 10:23-25 and Luke 18:24-25. Of course, Jesus also assures us that the rich can be saved, for “ ‘with God all things are possible.’ ” (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27)

[9]. The most important of God’s commandments is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. See Mark 12:28-30, Matthew 22:36-38, and Luke 10:25-27.

[10]. See also Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, which points out that wealth and possessions cannot bring happiness or fulfillment.

[11]. Similarly, Paul tells us in Titus 1:2 that God “cannot lie.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *