Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful for Prosperity, Yes, but Not That Kind!

This topic seems apropos for Thanksgiving Day:

The Bible says that God enables His people to gather wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). In fact, that is part of the dominion given to Adam in the Garden (Gen. 1:26-27).  The teachers of the Prosperity Gospel have taken these truths and perverted them into promises of big houses and big cars and big jewelry, even personal jets - at least for them. But I consider that a serious perversion of the teachings of Scripture.

In Proverbs 8:19, we read, "My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver." The speaker here is a personification of Wisdom. Notice the treasure that she promises: something better than gold or silver. Thus, not material wealth. Not to say that material wealth is excluded, of course. But certainly something apart from material wealth. But the next two verses give clarity: the fruit of righteousness and justice, which then leads to "granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries." Notice that she refers to "those who love me," that is, love wisdom. Look at Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10, and especially Psalm 111:10: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!" All three verses share one theme: it is in the fear of the Lord that one attains wisdom. 

The Prosperity teachers mislead their audiences. It isn't material wealth that leads to godliness. It is godliness that leads to fruit, which may or may not include material wealth. It is as if these preachers have suffered temporary blindness every time they pass over the words of the Apostle Paul: "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need" (Philippians 4:11-12). Would anyone say that Paul was spiritually deficient? Yet, he suffered, at times, from hunger and need, but was always content. How different that is from the teachings of the Prosperity Gospel, because it is not gospel at all (Galatians 1:8).

Here is a simple test: if any person, lay or clergy, judges your spiritual health by the wealth that you have, then his agenda is a false gospel, and he is under the judgment of God. And if you follow such a man, especially after having been warned (as I have done here), then you share in his judgment (Jeremiah 23:16-17, and Revelation 18:4).

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