SOURCE: IS THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL REALLY UNBIBLICAL?
In light of the recent controversy about Shai Linne’s reference to the prosperity gospel teachers in his new song, I wanted to shed a light and really define what exactly the prosperity gospel that some are teaching is. This “gospel” is taught by some preachers around the US and the world today, some of which are well-known. The aim of this article is not to call out particular pastors or teachers, but rather to inform you objectively on what the teaching is and then see what the God, in his word, has to say about it.
WHAT IS THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL?
The prosperity gospel is the teaching that God rewards the faithful with wealth, possessions, and monetary gifts. It teaches that if one gives tithes and offerings to the church, then God will bless them with abundantly more. The underlying theology emphasizes God’s desire for all to be prosperous who follow him in this life, leading to things such as a new home, a good job, good health, a good car and so on and so forth. Simply put, it equates piety with prosperity.
This message is exactly what we want to hear as self-serving creatures. It’s why so many American Christians follow these teachers; it’s music to our ears. The Lord of the universe is personally committed to giving us all of our earthly desires. Sounds great, right? Wrong. This false gospel does a disservice to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let’s see what God’s word has to say about this.
6 FALLACIES OF THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL (ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE)
1. If the prosperity gospel is true, Jesus wasn’t righteous.
Jesus was poor. You would expect the most righteous and sinless man in the world to have all the material prosperity in the world right? But he didn’t. Jesus was born to poor parents (Luke 2:24), had no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58), and was buried in a borrowed tomb (Luke 23:50-53)
2. Paul was a poor man.
Paul was a great Apostle who planted churches and served God faithfully. Yet Paul lived in poverty rather than material prosperity. “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless.” 1 Corinthians 4:11 (Paul)
3. The Bible clearly addresses this false gospel itself
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing… who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.“- 1 Timothy 6:3,5
4. The prosperity gospel says always seek for more money and prosperity; the Bible says God has and will always provide all that you need.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”- Hebrews 13:5
5. You can’t love both God and money
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”- Matthew 6:24
6. The prosperity gospel makes God not enough
The prosperity gospel implies that Jesus himself is not the greatest treasure and that we need more to be satisfied. It directly contradicts what Asaph said about God when those around him were wealthy and prosperous and he was suffering, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” Psalm 73:25
WHAT IS THE TRUE GOSPEL?
The true, biblical gospel is good news that tells us that Jesus lived the perfect and sinless life we should have but could not live and subsequently died and rose to rescue us from the sinful life that we have lived. When we turn to Jesus, God forgives and accepts us based on who He is and what He did in taking the punishment that we deserved on the cross. We are then renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit who works in us to put sin to death and to live more and more like Jesus. We enter into a relationship with Jesus and knowing Him is where joy is now found, not in material goods or possessions. God doesn’t promise those things to us, he promises something better: Himself.