I hear the term a lot, but it's very vague to me. And since I don't really know what it means and it's not easily definable (still hoping for a clearer definition), I don't know how or where to spot it. So I don't know if it's real.
Here are some statements that might help define prosperity teaching. These aren't actual verbatum quotes, but the basic ideas of prosperity theology as I know it:
-If you are walking with God and have faith you will be rich and always be healthy. Being sick or poor shows lack of faith, or sin in your life.
- There are some "spiritual laws" that must happen, just like gravity is a natural law that just happens. So if you give a certain amount of money you are bound to recieve a blessing in return.
- I have heard the audio of Benny Hinn mocking Job's comment "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." He then went on to say that the Lord gives and the Lord NEVER takes away and that what Job said was "unscriptural."
-Prosperity teachers teach that a Christian should have no trouble in there lives, or no hard times. These again are a sign of sin or lack of faith.
In essence, your spiritual life is judged by your material "blessing." The truth is, these teachers are crooks and decievers who rob the poor to feed on the greed of there flesh. Listen to Peters warning: "But there was also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies....Many will follow there shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In there greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up." (1 Peter 2:1-3) Then in verse 14 he says, "With eyes full of adultry, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed- an accursed brood." and he goes on and on...
These teachers are filthy rich and they have distorted the Word of Almighty God in order for dishonest gain...It makes me shudder to think about what there end will be (1 Peter 2:3,21)...What will they say when they stand before the one who's "eyes are like blazing fire." They will find out that there wealth is worthless on the day of wrath(Proverbs 11:24)
Jesus said it as plain as can be. "No one can serve two masters....You cannot serve both God and money."
Here are some other verses to check out: Ecclesiasties 5:10, Proverbs 11:28, Proverbs 28:6, 1 Timothy 6:3-10 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Psalm 37:16, James 1:9-10 and there are many more...
Who is to draw the line and say "You are too focused on prosperity"? According to who? As far as I can tell, God didn't draw any clear lines and say, "You can only preach about prosperity 3 times per year. If you preach 4 or more times, you are officially thrown into the category of 'Prosperity Movement' and you are teaching falsehood and it's an abomination to Me."
There is no room in the church of Jesus Christ for such teaching, it should rather be rebuked in the name of the Lord....Do you know what the sin of Sodom was: "She and her sisters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned." (Ezekiel 16:49) Sounds like much of the church today....when will we wake up....
"Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the Lord's wrath."
Todd, I hope that this gives you a better idea of what the "prosperity movement" is all about. May the Lord give you discernment about these matters.
| 2004/3/12 1:14||Profile|
That, perhaps, this church is under a curse of poverty that God wants broken and due to the fact that weak and broken humans are involved it is taking this prolonged effort?
Todd I personally do not think that any new testament new covernant believing church can be under a curse of poverty especially here in the rich west
your last post raises many questions that you have.
Can i suggest that you search the scripture and the Lord will settle truth in your heart.Also look at paul's words in 2 Corinthians ch 8 and what he says about the Macedonian fellowships
I have recently discussed on this site about the book 'the heavanly man' by brother Yun.The chinese seem to thank God for the hardships as this is where they see growth and strength born, these things are so interesting...
looking ahead & up
| 2004/3/12 4:05||Profile|
Thanks for helping me. I think I am getting a clearer understanding.
Jake, let me comment on each of your points:
1. "If you are walking with God and have faith you will be rich and always be healthy. Being sick or poor shows lack of faith, or sin in your life."
I wonder if any so-called "prosperity teacher" would agree with this claim as stated. I doubt it. If you could find any quotation (with full context) of someone saying this that would be helpful. This is too general and blunt. I think it might be more accurate to say:
"If you are walking with God and have faith you [i]can[/i] be rich and always be healthy.
[i]However, you may experience various degrees of lack in these areas as a direct result of commitment to Christ[/i]. Being sick or poor, [i]if not a direct result of commitment to Christ, is likely an indicator of a[/i] lack of faith [i]in these areas[/i], sin in your life, [i]or a curse[/i]."
Would you agree with that?
2. "There are some "spiritual laws" that must happen, just like gravity is a natural law that just happens. So if you give a certain amount of money you are bound to recieve a blessing in return."
If you consider God honoring His word a "spiritual law" then I think this is an accurate statement. When God says "If you do this, I'll do this" I think it's correct to say that what God says will happen. Don't you? For example, if God says "He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses" (Prov. 28:27), I think it's correct to say that if you give money to the poor you will, for sure, receive the blessing of never wanting. Right?
I think where a lot of misunderstanding occurs is, as Sparks would say, trying to "crystalize" this into a doctrine. I think we are to just leave this truth there with some mystery surrounding it, and at the same time declare God's word to be true, though evey man be found a liar.
3. "I have heard the audio of Benny Hinn mocking Job's comment "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." He then went on to say that the Lord gives and the Lord NEVER takes away and that what Job said was "unscriptural."
I would be very interested to view this in context. I assume that there is more to this than meets the eye (without context).
4. "Prosperity teachers teach that a Christian should have no trouble in there lives, or no hard times. These again are a sign of sin or lack of faith."
I guess we would have to clarify here. Unless the "trouble" is a direct result of commitment to Christ, I think this might be correct.
I think it's the absence of a disclaimer like "unless a direct result of commitment to Christ" that causes a lot of misunderstanding here. People who didn't have the perfect words to express what they found to be truth, and perhaps focused too much on it (which might be understood as a reaction to the finding of a long lost truth). I think some of these folks found keys to the blessing of God that they wanted to share. Maybe some have taken this truth to far, tried to crystalize it into doctrine, and/or focused too much on it. But I think there might be much truth here.
What do you think of this verse:
"...He who trusts in the LORD will prosper" (Prov. 28:25).
I see it like this: If you trust in the LORD you will absolutely live a life of prosperity, of more than enough, of abundance. You might have leanness in a wordly sense (as a direct result of commitment to Christ), but you will be "fat" in God (and you also may very well have "fatness" by the world's standards as well). I think of Paul always rejoicing even though he seemed to live a hard life. To him it was abundant.
"Todd I personally do not think that any new testament new covernant believing church can be under a curse of poverty especially here in the rich west."
Ok. I guess at this point I differ with you in opinion here.
"Can i suggest that you search the scripture and the Lord will settle truth in your heart."
Sure. But this is kind of a tricky topic and this is helping me I think. And, to be honest, I do feel pretty settled in my heart about this. But I am open to change and haven't really been challenged a lot in this area (I haven't discussed it much). And I also feel that I get a better understanding by trying to explain what I think and interacting with others. As iron sharpens iron.
"Also look at paul's words in 2 Corinthians ch 8 and what he says about the Macedonian fellowships"
Thanks. Yeah, I think this is a very relevant chapter when discussing the "material vs. spiritual prosperity" aspect of this discussion. It might be good to get into this more but let me just make a couple comments right now.
2 Corinthians 8:2:
"that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality."
I think it's key that the Macedonian believers had "abundance of joy" in the midst of their poverty. Without this, I think it's probably not God's will. I understand "their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality" as "the result of their deep poverty (coupled with abundant joy) was their wealth of liberality." I think that this might mean that they were liberated in the realization that they don't need material wealth to be happy. God might have allowed this situation in order to bring them to a higher level of maturity and actually a higher level of blessing which is the freedom of knowing that you don't need money to be content (and, in their case, to be abundantly joyful).
This is actually a perfect example of being blessed by giving, as discussed above. They were blessed with a new level of liberty. Why? Because they gave, gave, gave of their own accord (verses 3-5). In faith, they freely chose to give, knowing that God will supply all they need, and the reward was the blessing of liberty.
2 Corinthians 8:9
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
The point is that we can be rich. As I see it, Christ's death gave us access to the infinite bank of heaven, and by faith we can make withdrawls. I think this verse is primarily talking about the spiritual aspect , but it also may include materially.
As far as the Chinese giving thanks for hardships... If it's from God then this is great, if it's from the devil, we can overcome.
Looking forward to more discussion here.
| 2004/3/14 16:43||Profile|
Todd,your reply does show that iron sharpens iron,its good to discuss these issues so long as they lead us to Him
I hope you are not offended, i did not want or intend to come over as arrogent when i said "search the scriptures etc.That really was not my intention.The Lord will show us if we are not blinkered in any way and not only in this subject alone
just a thought,I dont see the prosperity/faith movement springing up in the third world or Asia & China etc it seems popular and rooted in the west
to be honest there are greater topics to spend our time on...I pray you settle this issue at your pace. but settle you should for the bridegroom is comming :-)
| 2004/3/14 18:47||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| 2004/3/14 20:00||Profile|
If you have the time and inclination, Greg has a message I gave which touches this topic called Hezekiah quite a time ago. God does want you to be prosperous.
| 2004/3/15 3:07||Profile|
| Re: "Prosperity Movement"|
hi todd my name is mark. if i mess up on spelling i hope you'll forgive me. anyway prosperity movement, first you should listen to david wilkerson's the reproach of the solemn assembly. well it comes down to is prosperity preaching of God or baal. i have a friend named chris and he is in love with this teaching. he told me that he hoped to have so much wealth that people could walk up to him and ask how he got that way. so through prosperity he would say God blessed him. so the sinner would come to the cross because he see's this man of God is blessed and so can he if he gets saved. lets look at the reasoning for the sinner finding God, prosperity. not because he was found guilty of commiting sins against a holy God and that he should go to hell forever but because he wants to have prosperity. could you see Jesus saying, "hey you should get saved because i'll make you rich. oh you sinned, who cares, just get saved and i'll make it worth it to you in worldly riches."( by the way Jesus wouldn't) God forbid anyone teaching such ah way. How about focusing on what really matters wither your guilty of God's wrath or saved by grace. Jesus himself said lay up treasures in heaven not on earth. why would we conform to other ways of reaching the lost than that they are sinners. well now to the teachings of baal, peace and prosperity or gain if you will. what does Jeremiah say on the matter, "For from the least of them even unto the greatest of everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely." (Jerem 6:13) a better meaning of covetousness in the niv is gain. all they want is gain. you want to know what God said he would do to them, in verse 30, same chapter, he says he hath rejected them. he told Jerem in 7:16 that don't pray for them because i won't hear you. God said he would consume them in Jerem 8:13. that means he will destroy them. haven't we learned from history yet or must we test God like them. these words scare me because they are taking from everyone saying i should get this because i'm God's but they don't seem to like to hear words like this in Jerem. well alot of people say that is the old testament so lets look at what Paul said about gain. 1 Tim 6:3-5 says that if they suppose that gain is godliness they are proud, knowing nothing, destitute of the truth, you get the picture. the last part sticks out the most of verse 5, " withdraw thyself". but Paul goes on in verses 6-10 to say we brought nothing into this world so we can't carry anything out. and you can read the rest yourself. lets go back to preaching about things that matter like holiness, being righteous, seeking God, prayer, preacing to the lost. these things bring you closer to God. Give me those things and I'll blessed. God bless you Todd for taking the time to reading what God has placed on my heart. if you are offened i just quoted the Bible. May God show the truth in these last day's. and may we repent as ah nation for teaching such things.
| 2004/3/15 4:17||Profile|
Thanks for the additional information. Maybe I will have time someday to take a good and fair look into all of it. I would near have to write a book to read, listen, digest, and comment on all of the information presented (i.e. Jim Bakker article, "Hezekiah", "Reproach of the Solemn Assembly"). Instead, could you guys do a little extra work to help me out and bring forth whatever you think is most relevant to where the discussion is at at this point? For instance, how might you comment on or challenge what I have said most recently (perhaps using those sources mentioned)? I would rather dialogue with [i]you[/i] in real time than a message you have heard (or in Ron's case given ;-) ).
I have listened to some of David Wilkerson's teachings concerning these things. I think I have listened to that sermon you recommended. Perhaps you could bring forth what you find most relevant to where we currently find ourselves in this discussion. That would be very helpful.
"well it comes down to is prosperity preaching of God or baal"
Says who? I don't see why this is the case. Please support this idea. To me that seems a lot like the arguments "tongues is from God or the devil" or "all music either comes from God or the devil." I think there's a lot more to it than that.
" i have a friend named chris ..."
It sounds like your friend has an unhealthy and distorted understanding of this subject. But that doesn't make the subject itself wrong.
"could you see Jesus saying, "hey you should get saved because i'll make you rich. oh you sinned, who cares, just get saved and i'll make it worth it to you in worldly riches."( by the way Jesus wouldn't)"
Even though you answered the question for me, I will agree that it is clearly "no". And I don't know of anyone who would teach that. Do you? If so, be specific.
" well now to the teachings of baal, peace and prosperity or gain if you will."
I think all of these teachings are found in the New Testament (that is peace, prosperity, and gain).
"what does Jeremiah say on the matter, "For from the least of them even unto the greatest of everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely." (Jerem 6:13) a better meaning of covetousness in the niv is gain. all they want is gain. you want to know what God said he would do to them, in verse 30, same chapter, he says he hath rejected them."
I think it's clear that God is dealing with a rebellious people in this passage. A people who are trying to "gain" outside of God's ways. So I don't think it really applies. As Paul tells Timothy "but godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment" (1 Timothy 6:6). Gain is not a bad thing, but it can ge sought after in an unhealthy way (that is, without contentment I guess).
I think 1 Timothy 9 is really important too. It says "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction." and then in verse 10 "for the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil." It's the love of money that's the problem, not the money itself. If you can handle it in a godly way, it's good and a blessing (as far as I can tell).
| 2004/3/15 22:48||Profile|
hey todd, you been good today? God has been so great to me. thank you for taking the time to read the passages God laid on my heart to share with you. before going on with the conversation of prosperity can you answer me these two things. 1st do you think that if you look poor or in fact are poor, your not in God's will? 2nd do you think Jesus would be preaching this himself if he was here. sorry i have another question, 3rd, does it save souls? and if so what is the reason for conversion? well i guess that was 4 questions. may we as christians become more like Jesus and less like ourselfs. God bless you Todd!
| 2004/3/16 0:16||Profile|
Todd, alot has been recommended to you surely enough evidence to say "prosperity/faith teaching you are guilty as set out before us"
would'nt mind your thoughts on poverty as has been raised by others? Also do you have any view on this quote from previous post
just a thought,I dont see the prosperity/faith movement springing up in the third world or Asia & China etc it seems popular and rooted in the west
settle this quick dear brother
| 2004/3/16 18:08||Profile|