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.
"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.
"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.
I thought so too, lol!
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 doNow, 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.
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."
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.
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.
LOLOL! Thank you for the chuckle.
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.
The Lord rode into Jerusalem on an ass, now some the asses are riding around in mercedes- Cal Thomas
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.
To quote a song on my "Best of Bluegrass Gospel" CD:
"You never see a UHaul, pulled behind a hearse."
Idol worship by any other name still smells like burnt flesh.
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.
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.
Did you ever see the Tim conway skit about the dentist with the novacaine? Well that's me with the driveway sealer or paint.
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 whats 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
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?
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.
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! :-)