What is the Prosperity Gospel?
“When you find that a theology has nothing more to offer than what the world already offers, then that theology as a theology is impractical, and therefore, useless.” - Criss Jami
If one envisions the prosperity gospel, they typically think of the prototypical televangelist screaming loudly and passionately to people about the fact that their faith in God is directly tied to their worldly gain. While also probably asking for them to donate money to their ministry.
Though this might be an example of the Prosperity Gospel, it does not present the full scope of what it entails. Fortunately though, I will be describing the Prosperity Gospel and the differences between it and biblical Christianity in this blog:
1. The Prosperity Gospel is about people using God to get what they want rather than God using His people to bring about His will. It trades in the purposes of God in the world, for the selfish desires of humans. It is centered around the idea that if a believer wants something (money, car, healing from sickness, etc.) then their having a high enough level of faith combined with their consistent demands will result in them getting that thing.
This is not only un - biblical, but also results in a generation of people who think the world revolves around them. And that if God is not blessing them by worldly standards then they either lack faith or God does not care about them. Both of which aren’t true.
We are servants of God, not the other way around (Gal. 1:10).
2. In the Prosperity Gospel, faith is a tool to manipulate God instead of complete submission to Him. This flies right in the face of every major biblical teaching that has ever been instilled. Faith for Abraham was giving up his son (Gen. 22), faith for Job was loving God after he lost everything (Job 1), and faith for the disciples was dying for the cause of Christ.
All of those people had immense faith and they all lost something, they didn’t gain. Faith is not about getting everything we want, it’s about being willing to lose everything for the glory of God (Matt. 16:25).
3. The Prosperity Gospel is built on what we say and “speak into existence” rather than Who we trust in. This is a big one in today’s age. This belief holds to the idea that speaking enough affirmations and declarations into the world results in getting what we have declared.
The unfortunate thing is that it’s not true or real. Every good gift comes from God (James 1:17). Not from our positive mindset.
Falling into this trap creates the misconception that we have the power to bring down blessings upon ourselves. Therefore elevating ourselves to be gods, which is sin (Lev. 19:4).
4. The Prosperity Gospel belief is more common than you think. You don’t have to sit under the teaching of one of the popular prosperity preachers to be influenced by the belief system. Like a disease, this principle has infected many unsuspecting believers without them even realizing it.
For example, if you find yourself or your pastor consistently speaking on how faith in God can resolve issues or bring blessings here on Earth, that’s a sign. Doing so defeats the purpose God has instilled for His people. Which is to not live for this world, but the next (John 15:19).
I want to make this plain: Faith in Christ has never been about comfort and fun, it’s always been about a selfless commitment to render ourselves as servants to the kingdom.
Yes, stray from sin and honor God in everything you do while you are here. But be weary about seeing your relationship with God as something to leverage to bring about good times now.
We are here to serve Him. To be Holy, rather than happy. Whether it be as a person that is rich, poor, depressed, sick, healthy, tall or short. No matter the worldly hand we were dealt, we serve God.
Because he suffered and died for us, we live for Him.