To read other parts of the series, go here.
The prosperity gospel is a popular teaching in many Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal churches. Even though there are a lot of different views on prosperity, the concept is usually understood as economic blessings that God wants to give all believers. If you have a strong faith in God, you’ll get rich. Godliness is a means to financial gain.
But what does the Bible say? Well, in 1 Tim 6:5, Paul speaks about “people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” So the prosperity gospel is simply corrupt and untrue. He goes on saying:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 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. (vv. 6-10)
I was once listening to a sermon titled “Prosperity of the Soul” based on 3 John 2, and it all resulted in that the preacher wanted us to raise our hand if we wanted God to bless us with wealth. Most people did so, but few of us didn’t. The preacher said “Come on, I’ll get afraid if you don’t want this!” I was basically just thinking of 1 Tim 6:9. If you want to get rich, you throw yourself into ruin and destruction. The love of money is a root of all evil.
Sometimes I hear people pointing out “it’s not money that is a root to all evil, it’s love for money!” Well, that’s quite obvious, if money were evil it would be evil to give money in aid. If a rich person has no love for money s/he should have no problem in giving it all away. Since most rich people don’t do that, it seems that they cling to this root of all evil too much.
There’s a lot to say about this, I’ve written more here and here. But to sum up, I believe God wants to prosper the poor, but not to bring them to a state of luxury but to a state of generosity. And when it comes to the rich, they should promote equality through giving as much as they can, not seeking more wealth.
To read the next and final part of the series, click here!