Editor’s observe: This piece first ran in 2015. We’re posting once more in mild of Benny Hinn’s latest feedback indicating that he’s now rejecting prosperity theology. He not too long ago instructed viewers, “I don’t want to get to heaven and be rebuked. I think it’s time we say it like its: The Gospel is not for sale.”
Earlier this yr, the Web erupted over the truth that televangelist Creflo Greenback was elevating funds to purchase a $65 million non-public jet. Non-Christians and Christians alike had been important that the preacher felt he wanted the highest-end non-public jet with a view to unfold the message of Christ.
Greenback hasn’t given up on his quest, not too long ago claiming that those that criticized him simply didn’t perceive the Bible.
However Greenback is way from the primary pastor to evangelise the “prosperity gospel.” Earlier this week, on his present Final Week Tonight, comic John Oliver took on televangelists who promote the concept of “seed faith,” which guarantees followers that God will richly reward them in the event that they donate to ministries.
One of these minister has infiltrated the ranks of Christianity for many years. As an alternative of residing modestly, you would possibly see them flying on private jets, carrying costly fits or residing in a multi-million greenback dwelling.
These preachers spout a mellifluous and charismatic message: God needs His followers to accumulate monetary riches, expertise vibrant well being and stay snug lives.
“Name it; Claim it!” is their mantra. And the variety of goodies God doles out—whether or not within the type of a profitable job, an elevated checking account and even bodily therapeutic—relies upon totally upon your religion (generally proven by how a lot you’re keen to provide first).
Religion is the “currency of heaven,” these preachers declare. It will get God to maneuver. So, the best way to realize our heavenly privileges is to go looking inside ourselves and uproot our personal unbelief.
There are countless lies with this theology. It leads to misplaced hope, a skewed actuality and wishful considering.
Wealth Is Not the Aim
God by no means guarantees His Followers monetary wealth. The Apostle Paul warns the church in Ephesus on this matter: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10).”
Jesus didn’t die on the cross to be our genie. He is aware of that whereas cash isn’t unhealthy in and of itself, an extreme sum of money (or issues) typically harms us. That’s the reason He instructions His Followers to “store up treasures in heaven.”
And, as Oliver identified, prosperity gospel lecturers usually promise their listeners financial blessings by donating to their ministry. “Sowing the seed,” is the euphuism preached so that you can empty your pocketbook. This scheme will fill somebody’s coffer, however most likely not yours.
The Actuality of Hardship
The prosperity gospel teaches that ache and struggling shouldn’t exist within the Christian life. Actuality would say in any other case. For instance, after we place our coronary heart and soul right into a relationship as a result of we know it is going to result in marriage—solely to have it collapse. And after we fervently pray and imagine God for the therapeutic of a liked one however they die.
Dallas Willard outlined actuality as “what you run into when you’re wrong.” It’s unyielding, and it’ll shatter the entire wishful considering of prosperity gospel towards its rock-face, regardless of how a lot religion we now have.
Accepting Christ just isn’t a ticket to a pain-free life. And a kind of theology that doesn’t embrace the fact of ache and struggling is downright egregious.
As John Piper says, “Normal Christianity is pain … It’s sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” We are able to belief that God will finally restore what ails us—on this lifetime or within the subsequent. If He chooses the latter, will probably be for his Glory.
“Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
God Doesn’t Owe Us
The stark irony of the prosperity gospel is that it creates poor Christians. It deprives us of God’s precise blessings as a result of it creates an indomitable hope in its personal pre-assigned outcomes. This phantasm results in entitlement. Are you able to think about the Creator of the Universe ever feeling obligated to put in writing a examine to repay our prayers?
God won’t ever owe us simply because we packed our heavenly checking account full of religion. As an alternative, he provides us the last word reward of everlasting life as His youngsters—a present we may by no means earn.
Slightly than shopping for into dangerous prosperity theology, the place we look forward to God to bless us due to our religion, we must always domesticate hearts of gratitude for the true Gospel. Thankfulness realigns us towards how God is already blessing us. It additionally opens new alternatives for different presents, as a result of it creates hopeful expectations of how God would possibly actually need to work in a state of affairs, not what He has to do.
Gratitude isn’t dependent upon a change in circumstances, it’s grounded in an individual. True religion trusts within the loving and character and nature of Christ, even after we don’t see a desired consequence on this aspect of heaven.
We shouldn’t abandon daring prayers in religion, nonetheless, as a result of the Spirit remains to be within the enterprise of restoring relationships, instilling justice and creating magnificence amid ashes. He would possibly even heal our infirmities or bless us monetarily.
Regardless of the case, our hearts can all the time rejoice as a result of our non secular life may be wealthy. We are able to all the time declare pleasure in struggling (James 1:2), peace in tribulation (John 16:33), and religion in a greater world to come back (Hebrews 11:16).