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The "Prosperity Gospel"

I received the following from Pastor Keith Hobkirk in China, and thought it would be a good basis for a Discussion here on the "Prosperity Gospel". I know how several members think on the matter, and we don't all think alike. Pastor Hobkirk's piece here is clearly set against it while I personally believe there IS truth in it, and to reject it all is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Here is Pastor Hobkirk's piece:

 

In the prosperity gospel, also known as the “Word of Faith,” the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite—God uses the believer.

 

Word of Faith or prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills.

 

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God's will.

 

The prosperity gospel movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that infiltrated the early church. Paul and the other apostles were not accommodating to or conciliatory with the false teachers who propagated such heresy. They identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them.

 

Paul warned Timothy about such men in 1 Timothy 6:5, 9-11. These men of “corrupt mind” supposed godliness was a means of gain and their desire for riches was a trap that brought them “into ruin and destruction” (v. 9).

 

The pursuit of wealth is a dangerous path for Christians and one which God warns about: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (v. 10). If riches were a reasonable goal for the godly, Jesus would have pursued it.But He did not, preferring instead to have no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20) and teaching His disciples to do the same.

 

It should also be remembered that the only disciple concerned with wealth was Judas.

 

OK, that all makes sense, doesn't it? We're following our Lord Jesus Christ in this life, and want foremost to please him in all our affairs. We're also raising a family, and working a job (most of us) to do that the best we can, trying to be successful at our employment to provide for our families and ourselves. Who among us hasn't prayed for success, or for finances to be able to do that?

 

The proponent of the "Prosperity Gospel" who I think personally has the cleanest, clearest path in it is Pastor Joseph Prince in Singapore. He preaches on Grace, and calls it a "Grace Revolution". Please check out his teachings at www.JosephPrince.com. He basically believes we are under the covenant of Grace, and in His sermons, he teaches that God loves us and His Grace is unlimited, we need to accept it and God will provide for our needs and wants thru His grace to the level that we are capable of accepting it. A recent Devotional had this in it: "Jesus is with you to help you, assist you, turn things around for you and make good things happen for you. He is not with you to condemn, judge or find fault! When Almighty God is with you, good things will happen in you, around you and through you. Expect this to happen to you today!"  Perhaps criticism can be found in the focus upon self, but Pastor Prince combines a strong teaching on Salvation and Evangelization along with his Grace message.

 

I have heard teachings based on Jesus parable of the seed; "Plant a seed, and it will grow, and multiply" referring to sending the preacher money (the seed) and it will multiply back in your life. Now, this is fraud on it's face- and obviously so, but these "Preachers" have been on TV for years with this exact message, and they are very good at getting people to send them "Seed money"; Lord, protect us from these!

 

There's a huge following of one woman preacher who has auditoriums just packed with people who pay to hear her messages. She has missionary outreaches all over the world, and the finances she raises are astronomical. I always thought she clearly had a good message, and was clearly of God, but I've heard some words that she spends an inordinate amount of her organizations wealth on herself personally- like planes, boats, etc. so this would go against the Holy Spirit in her ministry. She does, however, a lot of good in the world, so perhaps the Lord blesses her so the good can be done.

 

To sum this up and open the discussion, just where could we draw the line between wanting to always walk with God and also provide for ourselves and our families the best we can? If we profess Grace to provide financially is that wrong if we continue following God's path in our lives? Is the "Prosperity Gospel" truly wrong in every instance? What do you think? What do you believe God thinks on this subject? This should make for a good discussion!

 

Pastor Rolf

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Replies

  • In re Joseph Prince, I have a major problem(s) (all theological) with his version of grace, which I will call "hyper-grace". It can be summed up in his statement that "Repentance and confession of sin are never necessary," since we are under grace. No statement that I can imagine more completely and irrevocably does away with the real significance and meaning of God's Grace.

    • I agree with you, this is contrary to everything that the Gospels and Epistles teach.  Even prayer seems to involve confession and repentance.   See me Bible Study for last week:

      http://www.christianslikeme.net/group/bible-study/forum/praying-for...

      Praying for Healing
      When many people think about prayer they immediately think of healing, praying for someone who is sick or in some difficulty. Most people, including…
  • The Apostle Paul spoke many times on being rich, and being poor, being sorrowful, and being joyful, about being full, and being hungry, but the focus of all he said was this...when your heart is stayed on Jesus and the things of God, it DOESN'T MATTER if you are rich or poor, full or hungry, clothed or naked. There's a song that says it well: "I'd rather be in the palm of your hand, tho rich or poor I may be, faith can see right thru the circumstance, see's the forest in spite of the trees, your grace provides for me.

    • Amen Hank, but it is not what we have but what we do with it, God gives us gifts for a reason, and it is up to the individual to do God's will and use the gift for His plan to further the kingdom.  If we use it for our one ends, we abuse God.

      • I have no disagreement with you that it is WHAT we do with what is given us. However, my only point is that the WHAT is secondary to the doing, and if we are doing, then the what doesn't matter. I believe that Jude expressed God's view in a very pointed and perfect way about the prosperity gospel when he called the purveyors of such "spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots" who have run greedily after the error of Balaam.

        Having seen, in the past 40 years, the elevation of the prosperity gospel and the damage it has done to countless Christians and non-believers alike, I often times feel like the "voice of one crying in the wilderness...", and the wilderness ain't listening!

        FWIW, I have here a study I once did on what I call "The American Gospel". Would appreciate your perusal and commentary. http://john812.com/americangospel.html

        Light of Life - The American "Gospel"
        Bible studies, prayer and praise, Christian news, evangelism
        • Thank you for posting this Blog, I found it interesting and solid in its biblical base.  I found it especially interesting that Schuller paid homage to Joyce Meyers, because it was through Meyer that I discovered the Prosperity Gospel here in the UK.  We have a Christian radio station on DAB and on-line here in the UK, which I used to listen to in my office whilst I worked.  Each lunch time I would listen to recorded talks by Meyer, these were quite good and I quite enjoyed them.  On one occasion she said something that stirred my spirit, something about us all being little gods because we were made in the image of God.  Thinking I had misheard her, I went on-line to check her out, what I found were statement after statement that was so far away from the Gospel that I didn't even recognise this particular gospel.  Going further into her background I saw the wealth that she had accumulated, her executive jets, power-boat birthday presents, Dallas-style ranch, and on and on.  So I guess it made me angry, as much that she had suckered me than she was preaching a false gospel, or what I call the 'Goat-spel'.

          Thank you for sharing your study, I have saved a copy for later use, I that's OK?

          Light of Life - The American "Gospel"
          Bible studies, prayer and praise, Christian news, evangelism
          • Thank you for your commentary, brother. It is unfortunate that so many of the false teachers are so glib and appealing in their presentations that they are able to "worm" their way into the good graces and even affection of so many who, unlike you, are not able or are unwilling to catch the little "crooked" phrases and don't check them out.  In '90 I wrote a short "book" called The Garden Conspiracy  ( http://john812.com/conspiracyindex.html )   that deals with the devils favorite tool...wrapping a lie in a veneer of "truth" from God's own Word.

            Light of Life - The Garden Conspiracy - Index
            Bible studies, prayer and praise, Christian news, evangelism
            • This is the way Satan works Hank, and this has been evident since the original lie in the Garden of Eden, which I presume you book is about.  Satan covered his lie with truth and Eve, then Adam fell for it.  Ever since all the best lies always have an element of truth, I always think of that song from Mary Poppins, 'A Spoon-full of Sugar' - makes the medicine go down . . . in this case a spoon-full of truth makes the lie swallow-able.

              Light of Life - The Garden Conspiracy - Index
              Bible studies, prayer and praise, Christian news, evangelism
          • Brother Derek; you did catch in the intro to the Blog that it was sent in for submission by Pastor Keith Hobkirk over in China, right? As I'm sure you know, he's been prohibited from being on our site by the Government there, so he emails everything to me to post, and I send him back all the comments.

            Light of Life - The American "Gospel"
            Bible studies, prayer and praise, Christian news, evangelism
            • I am not sure what point you are making here Rolf my friend.  Dis I say something out of place?

              Light of Life - The American "Gospel"
              Bible studies, prayer and praise, Christian news, evangelism
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