I AM SICK AND TIRED OF PROSPERITY THEOLOGY
by John Clark
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I was watching a heartbreaking story of a mother and her children who live in Haiti, or I should say, barely exist. They lived in a hut with no beds to sleep in and hardly anything to eat, with no running water. Added to this was sickness, because of the deplorable living conditions. The husband was away in the mountains trying to grow a garden, so that he could bring some food back to the city to feed his family. They lived like this day in and day out. This scenario, or ones similar to it, could be repeated in many parts of the world every day, and this is what motivated me to write this article.
All of the basic needs that most of us in the United States and many other Western nations take for granted when we get up every morning, this family did not have. Yet, the prosperity preachers want those of us who have all of this to want more. Many people are barely existing, and even in America we have millions of people out of work and children without enough food to eat, and we are told to seek more abundance. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF HEARING THEM.
Turn on the television and flick through the religious channels. Although there are some excellent Bible teachers, there are also those emphasizing prosperity theology. You know the kind I am talking about. They say "Send some money to this ministry and God will bless your life several times over." From the looks of their elaborate, and sometimes gold plated studio sets, they surely do not need our money. Why should these people want us to be so blessed? Unless a person is homeless, without food, and without work, they are already blessed to one degree or another.
Then these people always offer something in return. I have often asked myself the question that if they always need money how is it they always have something to give back? Besides, true giving does not expect anything in return.
I am not talking about the pastors and organizational leaders who are teaching God's word and they need money to stay on the air. That is a legitimate need. Reference is being made to those who ask people to give money to their ministry just so you and I will be blessed, and that seems to be all they ever talk about.
While it is true that many Christians are not experiencing the abundance that the Bible talks about and are not claiming the promises in God's word, the prosperity preachers seem to always connect it with material wealth. Scripture, however, makes it very clear that abundance is not defined only this way. Prosperity in the Bible includes many things that have nothing to do with material wealth. This is one huge error of prosperity teaching. Besides, even many Christians have more things than they need and know what to do with, and the prosperity teachers are speaking against Philippians 4:11 where it says "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."
Another mistake is overlooking what the Bible teaches about adversity. God allows adversity and sometimes even causes it. Yes, you read that correctly. Read the following verses and you will see what I mean: II Timothy 3:12, I Peter 3:14 and 4:14, Job 2:10, Psalm 71:20, Proverbs 1:25-26, and Isaiah 45:7. Also, do not forget about Job, who was blessed beyond measure, but severe testing and adversity came into his life.
I am sick and tired of this teaching for other reasons. These people are telling us that we can and should be more blessed when there are persecuted saints all over the world, and people in prison just for sharing their faith.
They are telling us that we should expect more of what we already have enough of when many people are victims of the economy, or are struggling on minimum wage jobs. Some have lost homes and jobs completely.
They are telling us that we should have more when there are hungry children right here in the United States, the most prosperous nation on earth, not to mention all of the homeless.
I am sick and tired of hearing this teaching because of so much waste. Look at all the obesity, and the food that is being thrown away, a lot of it in our public schools.
Look at all the unused automobiles in people's yards, and the accumulation of stuff that people pay $100 a month just to store in some shed. Look at the expensive motor homes sitting in peoples' driveways, some of which may be driven once a year when a family goes on a vacation trip. With all of this, people are telling us we need to experience more blessing? I, for one, do not need more blessing. I have a job, good health, a house to live in, and food to eat.
Added to this is the startling statistic I just heard on a program. One of out seven people in the world go to bed hungry each day, and the amount of money spent on just potato chips alone, not to mention other junk food, would be enough to take care of a lot of that hunger. Do you find that as disgusting as I do? And people who preach prosperity theology want those of us who are blessed to have more. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF IT. How about you?
The GOSPEL of the cross needs to be preached, so that people can experience a change in their soul, not in their status.
When I give to a ministry it is not so I will be blessed; it is simply because a need exists, and I will be more likely to give to a ministry that does not have a fancy, elaborate studio set.
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Amen to that John. Think we'll ever hear one of them ask you to give your money to some other worthwhile cause if you want to be blessed. Since their hypothesis is to be blessed, give to a good cause. Need NOT be their cause! Anyhoo Matt 16:36 says "what good is it to gain the whole world and yet lose your soul?" Matt 19:24 says "it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle." Luke 6:24 "woe to you who are rich." James 2:5 "Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?" More have failed the test of prosperity than of poverty. Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man too. Even churches oftentimes fail in this. They build wonderful buildings, pay their pastors 6 digit salaries and neglect their real mission in the world of being a light for the Lord and helping people. The Word also says in Matt 6:24 "you cannot serve God & money." IF your motivation in sending money is to get a financial return in this world, you can forget it. Let's as Christians lay up treasures in heaven where moth and rust don't corrupt and thieves don't steal. Really, this is a time to be getting rid of stuff, not accumulating it. As Jim Elliot said "he is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."