Skip to comments.Does God want you to be rich? [TIME cover story re megachurches and prosperity gospels]
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 ...
"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."
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!
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".
I think so, too, Joyce: "Nice things" like peace, joy, faith, hope, love, patience, self-control, generosity ...
No...God wants Rev. Ike to be rich.
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.
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?"
He wore hats, smoked a cigar and would say, A LOT, "Send me your filthy lucre!"
Yes, God wants me to be rich.
(So far, however, the government is doing their best to thwart His wishes.)
CNN International? They wouldn't be trying to divide Christians now, would they?
If you are rich, then yes...if not, then no.
Well, somebody has to pave those streets of gold...
"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.
I need my driveway sealed. Tell me more.
I'll bet He knew how it was going to turn out, before you even started.
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.
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.
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.
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.