the prosperity gospel.

Because of our Stewardship series at Northstar this issue has been raised numerous times in the past couple of weeks to me. Prosperity gospel, maybe you have never really heard about this, if not that is fine.
Prosperity gospel also known as health and wealth, in short is a doctrine that faith/positive speech/giving or tithing to the church will always increase your material wealth. So if you believe it, speak it and give to God your net worth will go up. Always. This wasn’t really big until the 1950s and then got really big during the first big push of televangelists.

So why am I writing about this? The reason is because these ‘doctrines’ fly directly against what God’s Word tells us.

Claiming that God wants His church to be rich is completely ludicrous. It goes against everything that Jesus taught. Need references?
Matthew 16:23&24 (Jesus calls out Peter for wanting the things that men want, and tells him that if anyone wants to follow him he must deny himself). I love this little insight because it says Peter began to rebuke Jesus. HA thats hilarious, I am sure Peter is still being made fun of by some of the other disciples. {‘Hey Peter remember when you scolded Jesus, the son of God, that was was funny}. Anyways, what did Peter want? He wanted Jesus to over throw the government and reestablish the nation of Israel, and Jesus flat out calls him Satan, because he wanted what man wanted, not what God wanted.

1 Samuel 16:7 Samuel is trying to find a king. God tells him not to be concerned about the outside appearance because God cares about the heart a lot more.

So where do Health and Wealth followers get their Biblical backing? Mostly from one verse, 3rd John 1:2
2Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
A little context should be added (as always) 3 John 1:2 – John was writing to a group who were traveling and doing mission work. The word prosper in greek is εὐοδόω (pronounced ‘you-oh-dow-oh’) essentially means ‘successful.’ Break down its entomology it is εὖ (meaning = well, well done, good) and ὁδός (meaning = way, journey, highway). John was not at all referencing money. Not in the least. He was wishing their journey safe and praying for their health, physically and spiritually, not that he desired for them to be rich.

Some of those who whole heartedly agree with the ‘health and wealth gospel’ go as far to say that God wants us to be rich because it is obvious that Jesus and the disciples were rich…Huh? They sight that Jesus did not work the last 3 years of his life and neither did the disciples. They sight that because they had a treasurer they must have had a lot of money (Judas Iscariot). Again they make leaps and bounds with scripture. For example Matthew 12 talks about the disciples walking thru a corn field and plucking off some to eat, and the Pharisees got up and arms about this because it was the Sabbath. The disciples were gleaning. Gleaning was the right of any one that was poor or a stranger Leviticus 23:22 (stranger in Hebrew is גָּר which means a newcomer someone passing thru or someone that had no inheritance rights). So to do some critical thinking…The Pharisees got up in arms about Jesus’ disciples breaking Sabbath because they did work picking corn, and Jesus promptly calls them (the Pharisees) out about their twisting of the law. Okay so if you were a Pharisee and you knew that gleaning was a right, from the very word of God, ONLY for the poor, but Jesus and the disciples were rich wouldn’t that be what they would have the right to be up and arms about?

To sum it up, just because you are a Christian you are not automatically guaranteed to be rich. In fact if anything what we are guaranteed is to be hated by the world (Luke 6:22, 15:19), to live a life denying benefits (Luke 14:26, 18:18-23), to give everything we have for Christ sake, and to love the orphans and widows. Being a good steward does have its benefits, it is the only thing that God challenges you to test Him in (Malachi 3:10). But just because you tithe doesn’t mean you will get whatever you tithe back in dollar bills. God gives out blessings in many different ways, it could be that someone drops off groceries, gives you a meal, buys you a computer, picks up your tab for lunch ect. Sometimes it does mean an extra check you didn’t know was coming or a random ‘bonus.’ But saying God will make us rich because we give to Him is not Biblical in the least. God is their thru the thick and thin, thru good times and hard times and wants us to remain obedient and faithful through it all, and look to Him coming once again!


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