With References to Health, Wealth and Happiness, Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ
David W Jones, Russell S Woodbridge
ABRAHAMIC COVENANT (92-94)
Gen 12:1-3; 13 all; 15 all.
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ — that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Prosperity gospel preachers quote Galatians 3:14 to prove that believers access the same material blessings as Abraham did by faith. They teach that this is a performance-based covenant which obligates God to bestow material blessings on believers now by faith.
In reality the second half of Galatians 3:14 only bestows the Spirit itself by faith which brings justification. The Abrahamic Covenant is an unconditional covenant and its blessings fall upon believers because they are already believers. Abraham received great financial blessings in Genesis 12 when he was NOT exercising faith.
BIBLICAL REASONS TO GIVE (p142-149)
1. To assist believers, strangers and the poor.
2. Love for God and love for others.
3. To bring glory to God – to show that God and his kingdom are more important than things of the world.
4. The gospel itself. One’s view of ownership changes.
5. Reward. Heavenly rewards will consist of differing levels of responsibility in eternity. The question remains as to whether these rewards are material or spiritual in nature.
GIVING: 1 Corinthians 16:2
(1) periodic – weekly
(2) personal — everybody
(3) planned – put aside; store up
(4) proportionate – according to means
(5) plentiful – no collection when I come (p154-155).
GIVING: 2 Cor 8 and 9. From Should the Church Teach Tithing? By Russell Earl Kelly
Christians are commanded to give freely, sacrificially, generously, regularly, joyfully and with the motivation of love for God and man. (1) Giving is a “grace.”
(2) Give yourself to God first (8:5).
(5) Give out of a sincere desire (8:8, 10, 12; 9:7).
(6) Do not give because of any commandment (8:8, 10; 9:7).
(7) Give beyond your ability (8:3, 11-12).
(10) Give because you are growing spiritually (8:3-4, 7).
(11) Give because you want to continue growing spiritually (9:8, 10-11).
(12) Give because you are hearing the gospel preached (9:13).
Give to please God –not to gain God’s favor.
Give out of love –not out of greed or selfishness.
Matt 10:9-11 “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.”
At least while on evangelistic campaigns, gospel workers were to be totally supported by those whom they served. However the support was very minimal.
Matt 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen (110).
Those who strive to serve others are most exalted by God.
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
We are not to lend while hoping for more in return.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Gal 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (114).
Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Phil 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Whatever is worthy of worship or upholds the righteous standard of a holy God demands the attention of God’s people. A mind filled with God’s Word will desire the things of God.
Rewards are primarily future and spiritual. Christians ought to give to God out of a loving heart knowing that He will reward as He sees fit.
The gospel requires people to work in order to meet their needs.
The gospel focuses on the material needs of others.
The gospel warns others of the spiritual pitfalls of accumulated wealth.
The gospel encourages Christians to give from that which they have been entrusted.
The gospel teaches believers to have faith in Go.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Joyce Meyer of the Prosperity Gospel says “By his stripes I was healed. Healing belongs to me.” Acceding to prosperity teachers, the cure for healing is to have a positive outlook – thinking and saying the right words (90).
Actually the healing comes as a miracle from God and not from our own positive outlook. And the verses clearly focus on spiritual healing of “our transgressions,” “our iniquity” and the “chastisement of our peace.”