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Does God want you to be rich? [TIME cover story re megachurches and prosperity gospels]
CNN International.com ^ | September 10, 2006

Posted on 09/12/2006 6:04:47 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to "deny himself" and even "take up his Cross."

In support of this prediction, he contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: "For what profit is it to a man," he asks, "if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"

Generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian means being ready to sacrifice. But for a growing number of Christians, the question is better restated, "Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?"

For several decades, a philosophy has been percolating in the 10 million-strong Pentecostal wing of Christianity that seems to turn the Gospels' passage on its head. Certainly, it allows, Christians should keep one eye on heaven. But the new good news is that God doesn't want us to wait.

Known (or vilified) under a variety of names -- Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Theology -- its emphasis is on God's promised generosity in this life. In a nutshell, it suggests that a God who loves you does not want you to be broke.

Its signature verse could be John 10:10: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." In a Time poll, 17 percent of Christians surveyed said they considered themselves part of such a movement, while a full 61 percent believed that God wants people to be prosperous.

"Prosperity" first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from mainstream view with the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals.

(Excerpt) Read more at edition.cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Charismatic Christian; Current Events; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christianity; healthandwealth; megachurches; nameitandclaimit; prosperitygospel; showmethemoney; wordoffaith
A couple of noteworthy paragraphs that I had to excise to get under the excerpt limit....

"Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three -- Joel Osteen's Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes' Potter's House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar's World Changers in Atlanta -- are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits (although Jakes' ministry has many more facets)."

"Who would want to get in on something where you're miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?" asks Joyce Meyer, a popular television preacher and author often lumped in the Prosperity Lite camp. "I believe God wants to give us nice things."

1 posted on 09/12/2006 6:04:49 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Yes God wants us to be rich, but rich in Him and live a full life. This does not mean He wants us to be wealthy on earth. Fact is we can't take our money we have here on earth with us to Heaven!


2 posted on 09/12/2006 6:06:17 AM PDT by Halls (Jesus is my Savior!)
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To: Alex Murphy
For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Hence the need for a Saviour.
3 posted on 09/12/2006 6:06:59 AM PDT by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: Alex Murphy
JOyce Meyer: Who would want to get in on something where you're miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?

Denominational structures have their faults, but the upside to them is that you can require people to have at least read the New Testament once before they start "preaching".

4 posted on 09/12/2006 6:08:59 AM PDT by Taliesan
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To: Alex Murphy
"I believe God wants to give us nice things."

I think so, too, Joyce: "Nice things" like peace, joy, faith, hope, love, patience, self-control, generosity ...

And babies.

5 posted on 09/12/2006 6:09:15 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Mother of a horde: it's not just an adventure - it's a job!)
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To: Alex Murphy

No...God wants Rev. Ike to be rich.


6 posted on 09/12/2006 6:10:06 AM PDT by stylin19a
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To: Alex Murphy
Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three -- Joel Osteen's Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes' Potter's House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar's World Changers in Atlanta -- are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits

Seems like Osteen is just "Lite".

When I've heard Jakes he's seemed more practical about material wealth, including an emphasis on responsibility (get a job, work hard, and God will provide).

Creflo Dollar...Wow, too many one-liners...I won't even try.

7 posted on 09/12/2006 6:13:27 AM PDT by opus86
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To: Alex Murphy; xzins; P-Marlowe; Revelation 911; Buggman; blue-duncan
The reality is that most people reading this article, at least in the U.S. already are "rich" in terms of the world standard.

These folks pushing this aren't being helpful. And they most certainly do not represent all Pentecostals.

Another interesting paragraph from the article:

The movement's renaissance has infuriated a number of prominent pastors, theologians and commentators. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen's by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. "This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?" he snorts. "There is a word for that: baloney. It's creating a false idol. You don't measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn't everyone in the church a millionaire?"

8 posted on 09/12/2006 6:14:21 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD: Join the Hobbit Hole Troop Support - http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net/)
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To: Alex Murphy; All
Does anyone remember Dr. EUgene Scott?
Years ago he broadcast in California, most southern California.

He wore hats, smoked a cigar and would say, A LOT, "Send me your filthy lucre!"

9 posted on 09/12/2006 6:14:48 AM PDT by starfish923 (Socrates: It's never right to do wrong.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Yes, God wants me to be rich.

(So far, however, the government is doing their best to thwart His wishes.)


10 posted on 09/12/2006 6:47:17 AM PDT by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: Alex Murphy

CNN International? They wouldn't be trying to divide Christians now, would they?


11 posted on 09/12/2006 7:00:03 AM PDT by alnick
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To: Alex Murphy

If you are rich, then yes...if not, then no.


12 posted on 09/12/2006 7:00:41 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: Corin Stormhands; Alex Murphy; xzins; P-Marlowe; Revelation 911; Buggman
"Why isn't everyone in the church a millionaire?"

You know, that's my question. If we are in the millennium and things are supposed to be getting better for the kingdom, how come there is not much prosperity for the subjects? There seems to be more week in the paycheck than money. Does this mean we are going to be on a strict budget when heaven arrives?
13 posted on 09/12/2006 7:06:15 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: blue-duncan; Alex Murphy; xzins; P-Marlowe; Revelation 911; Buggman
Does this mean we are going to be on a strict budget when heaven arrives?

Well, somebody has to pave those streets of gold...

14 posted on 09/12/2006 7:09:06 AM PDT by Corin Stormhands (HHD: Join the Hobbit Hole Troop Support - http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net/)
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To: Corin Stormhands; Alex Murphy; xzins; P-Marlowe; Revelation 911; Buggman

"Well, somebody has to pave those streets of gold..."

If He saw the mess I made when I tried to seal my driveway I guess I will be an accounts receivable clerk.


15 posted on 09/12/2006 7:12:44 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: blue-duncan
If He saw the mess I made when I tried to seal my driveway I guess I will be an accounts receivable clerk.

I need my driveway sealed. Tell me more.

16 posted on 09/12/2006 7:23:23 AM PDT by BipolarBob (I get homesick when I look up in the skies and see my home planet.)
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To: blue-duncan

I'll bet He knew how it was going to turn out, before you even started.


17 posted on 09/12/2006 7:40:57 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: Corin Stormhands; Alex Murphy; Gamecock; P-Marlowe; blue-duncan; Buggman; Revelation 911; ...
Does God want you to be rich?

What's the old joke:

A methodist is a baptist who's afraid of water.

A presbyterian is a methodist who got rich.

An Episcopal is a presbyterian whose deals all went right.

Lol

God wants us to be stark raving, naked, destitute poor. He wants a worship service so devoid of interest and excitement, and a Christian culture so empty of Him, that He gave us the average American religious experience.

/sarcasm

18 posted on 09/12/2006 7:41:38 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: Alex Murphy
may have to "deny himself" and even "take up his Cross."

I'm glad that after a couple of millenia someone has finally discovered the "may have" in this Gospel passage. It's good to have options. Let's get these people to work on that narrow path thing too.

19 posted on 09/12/2006 7:52:55 AM PDT by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: Halls

I thought god wanted people to be energetic, and hard working and in the US that will make you rich whether you want to be rich or not.


20 posted on 09/12/2006 7:53:31 AM PDT by staytrue
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To: BipolarBob

"I need my driveway sealed. Tell me more."

First, wait for a really rainey day and then make noises like you are going to start. Your significant other will say with a smirk "what, are you crazy?". Get a cool one, put your feet up, turn on the ballgame and call your Jone's Onestop Driveway Sealer, Financial Planning and Daycare Center and let them do it. Trust me, it takes hours of scrubbing to get that stuff out of your hair.


21 posted on 09/12/2006 7:58:42 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: stuartcr

"I'll bet He knew how it was going to turn out, before you even started"

What troubled me is I bet they are still laughing.


22 posted on 09/12/2006 7:59:43 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: staytrue

I thought so too, lol!


23 posted on 09/12/2006 8:22:54 AM PDT by Halls (Jesus is my Savior!)
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To: Alex Murphy; Corin Stormhands; xzins; blue-duncan; P-Marlowe
I think this Time article is indicative of the unhealthy attitudes towards money that Christianity has. This article shows some Christians who think that God's intended blessing for all Christians is for them to get rich, forgetting that "God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom" (James 2:5). The simple fact of the matter is that most Christians will never become rich. Someone ignorant of that fact may become resentful. "God, why haven't you given me my Porsche? All my friends drive Mercedes-Benzes."

On the opposite extreme - one which I have seen too often - is the unhealthy view of money as though it is itself intrinsically evil and that becoming rich is an unworthy pursuit. This teaching is derived from proof-texting 1Ti. 6. Thus, whenever Christians work hard, save their money, acquire some means, and purchase nice things (whether it be iPods or a nice car or whatnot), they are made to feel guilty that they haven't given enough to ministry. Take, for example, this song from Derek Webb, a Christian artist who I generally like:

So what must we do
Here in the West we want to follow You
We speak the language, and we keep all the rules
Even a few we made up
"Come on, and follow Me.
Sell your house, sell your SUV
Sell your stocks, sell your securities
And give it to the poor."
"Hey, what's this, what's the deal,
I don't sleep around, I don't steal."
"I want the things you just can't give me."
Now, to a point, this song is accurate - but I think it's rooted in a fallacious exegesis of the account of the Rich Young Ruler. God nowhere commands all Christians to sell all their possessions and give to the poor; he commands them rather to give to the poor. The instructions to the rich young ruler were a unique teaching point to show that he couldn't fulfill the law because he was unwilling to part with his possessions.

Balance is required. The best balance I ever heard was from a sermon I heard by Steve Brown from Reformed Theological Seminary. He emphasized:
1.) if you can get rich, do so. This requires hard work, diligence, and wise stewardship.
2.) If you can get rich, be careful not to fall into materialism.
3.) If you can't get rich, be careful not to fall into resentment.
4.) If you have money, don't feel guilty about spending it on yourself. If you are already giving to the church and to the poor, and you have money, feel free to go have an ice cream cone.

24 posted on 09/12/2006 8:46:26 AM PDT by jude24 ("I will oppose the sword if it's not wielded well, because my enemies are men like me.")
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To: jude24

Very good points. I go to a very large church in the Memphis area, and people are always saying things about how we spend our money. We have 3 big crosses out front, and people always say "that money could have been spent to feed the poor". Well, what they don't realize is we do give millions of dollars to feed the poor and we give money to many other charities as well.


25 posted on 09/12/2006 9:16:53 AM PDT by sistabrista
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To: xzins

LOLOL! Thank you for the chuckle.


26 posted on 09/12/2006 10:09:57 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alex Murphy
Matt 13;22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
27 posted on 09/12/2006 10:14:44 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (More and more churches are nada scriptura.)
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To: Alex Murphy
"Prosperity" first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in
the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from
mainstream view with the Jim Bakker


I heard a short audio clip of Jim Bakker repudiating what he did
in the 1980s and how he now realizes what a wrong turn he had taken.

I'd have to take Jim Bakker on a "trust, but verify" basis, but
he does at least make a public admission of serious mistakes.
IIRC, he now has a small church in Branson, MO.
(part of the whole nostalgia scene there, I guess!)
28 posted on 09/12/2006 10:46:37 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Taliesan

The Lord isn't "giving" you nice things, Joyce. You and your family and the other money preachers have nice things because you are all using the Gospel to fleece and make merchandise of His flock.

What frauds these people are.


29 posted on 09/12/2006 2:20:06 PM PDT by Cecily (`)
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To: jude24

The Lord rode into Jerusalem on an ass, now some the asses are riding around in mercedes- Cal Thomas


30 posted on 09/12/2006 3:09:19 PM PDT by Augustinian monk
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To: Alex Murphy

short notice heads-up:

I think Joel Osteen and his church are getting a segment on CNBC's
"On The Money" tonight.

I think it is re-broacast later in the evening, in case you might
want to catch it.


31 posted on 09/12/2006 4:29:46 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Alex Murphy

To quote a song on my "Best of Bluegrass Gospel" CD:

"You never see a UHaul, pulled behind a hearse."


32 posted on 09/12/2006 4:54:24 PM PDT by freedomcrusader (Proudly wearing the politically incorrect label "crusader" since 1/29/2001)
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To: Alex Murphy

Idol worship by any other name still smells like burnt flesh.


33 posted on 09/12/2006 6:37:17 PM PDT by WriteOn (Truth)
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To: Halls

God wants us to prosper. That doesn't necessarily mean we'll be rich but that we would have enough to meet our needs and some to share with others who don't have much money. Our SOULS must prosper and then at times He enables us to get wealth. Working for it is essential (unless you inherit it). Tithing is essential to get God's blessing financially. You need to have right motives and be generous. My hope is always that my needs will be met and we'll have enough to share with others and that's what's happened. Even though I'm no longer working, I make as much now as I did then and see little difference in how we live. It seems like we're giving away more and that's always amazing to me. God WILL prosper you but that doesn't necessarily mean you will be wealthy in the world's goods.


34 posted on 09/12/2006 6:47:03 PM PDT by Marysecretary (Thank you, Lord, for FOUR MORE YEARS!!!)
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To: blue-duncan

Your Hair!!??

Were you pushing the puddles with a tooth brush?

The images you have provided me by that one statement made my night. Good luck with your hair.


35 posted on 09/12/2006 7:05:39 PM PDT by ScubieNuc
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To: ScubieNuc

Did you ever see the Tim conway skit about the dentist with the novacaine? Well that's me with the driveway sealer or paint.


36 posted on 09/12/2006 7:26:49 PM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: Alex Murphy
my $.02...

The Bible does not teach or say We WILL be Financially Blessed, especially due to any "work's" we do or some level of Faith "we achieve". How much money someone gives or pledges to their church has no "automatic" Biblical rewards attached.

This Teaching of "Give-and-you-will-get" is so destructive to Christianity as a whole. God Owes us no Financial Favors!

Some Churches & televangelists subscribe either partly or wholly to what’s commonly referred to as “positive confession,” the “Word-Faith” teaching, or the “prosperity” doctrine. (Sadly, there are many other Churches, evangelists, teachers, and writers who promote this teaching.)>

The Bible clearly stipulates conditions for receiving answers to prayer. For example, we are told that we must abide in Christ and have His Word abiding in us [John 15:7]; that we must NOT ask with wrong motives [James 4:3]; and that what we ask must be according to His will [1 John 5:14].

While it is wrong to use these verses in Church as "excuses" never to ask God for things (real needs), it is ALSO wrong to ignore these verses in Church and teach that "one can get anything one wants in prayer" (money or otherwise).

Our understanding of prayer must be based on everything the Bible says. God is Our personal, sovereign Father who loves us, and He will do what is best.

----------------------------------

"The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried and found wanting, but that it has been found difficult, and left untried.

-G. K. Chesterton

37 posted on 09/12/2006 8:04:24 PM PDT by austinmark ("May the Flea's of a Thousand Camels Nest in ALLAH's Pubic Hair" !!!)
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To: blue-duncan
"Did you ever see the Tim conway skit about the dentist with the novacaine?"

Classic! Tim Conway and Harvey Coreman used to crack me up. That kind of clean humor seems to be missing now days. I was just skimming over a book by Larry the Cable guy.....not quite family oriented!
38 posted on 09/14/2006 5:02:19 PM PDT by ScubieNuc
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To: ScubieNuc
I'd add that Tim Conway told the only really 'clean' version of 'The Arisotocrats' in the movie of the same name. He was in his old man role and forget he was telling a joke right after starting then falling asleap.

BTW if you like clean humor you won't like that movie. I fell off the coach several times.

Further who are you to say musical farting contests are'nt a good family activity?

39 posted on 09/14/2006 5:06:48 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: ScubieNuc; Dinsdale

When my boys were little we watched "The Apple Dumpling Gang" and its sequel many times and each time laughed again at the same slap stick. Conway and Knotts were absolutely made for each other. We even watched it when they were in high school and playing football and lacrosse. I am holding that secret and will pull it out when I retire and want them to subsidize my retirement.


40 posted on 09/14/2006 5:53:29 PM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: Dinsdale
"Further who are you to say musical farting contests are'nt a good family activity?"

Nobody. I don't follow the routines of Larry, and I'm sure that some of it is funny. I just read parts of his book, and that was not appropriate for my family. I'm not one to post that everyone should boycott Larry. If you like him, watch him, if you don't, then watch something else. As for me...I'll avoid his act.
41 posted on 09/14/2006 7:26:05 PM PDT by ScubieNuc
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To: VOA
Jim Bakker does now realize that he preached the wrong message, and I very much am impressed by his willingness to admit he was wrong. He is on TV now on a much smaller scale and is a changed man.
42 posted on 09/14/2006 10:24:36 PM PDT by ladyinred
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To: starfish923

Oh I remember that nut case Scott. What a trip he was! People actually sent him money too! Ah, if only people would actually read that word of God for themselves! :-)


43 posted on 09/14/2006 10:26:06 PM PDT by ladyinred
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