Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Prosperity Gospel (SD39)

The “prosperity gospel” teaches that God wants believers to be physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy. Robert Tilton, one of the best-known prosperity preachers said, “I believe that it is the will of God for all to prosper because I see it in the Word, not because it has worked mightily for someone else.” Teachers of the prosperity gospel encourage their followers to pray for and even demand material flourishing from God.

1. The Abrahamic covenant is a means to material entitlement.

The Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12, 15, 17, 22) is one of the theological bases of the prosperity gospel. It’s good that prosperity theologians recognize much of Scripture is the record of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, but it’s bad that they don’t maintain an orthodox view of this covenant. When God called Abraham to leave Ur and to possess the Promised Land of Canaan, He promised him the physical rewards and blessings from the fruit of the land.
   
Today as Christians we are under the new covenant whereby our Promised Land is the Kingdom of heaven. Our rewards and blessings are spiritual and He promised us the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) instead of the fruit from the land.

1Pet 2:9-11  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

Since we are only pilgrims, we no longer want to lay our treasures on earth but in heaven. We thank God for whatever wealth, comfort, luxuries, etc. He had given us to encourage us in our walk on this narrow path to eternal life. Let us use these temporal wealth to bless others so that when they see the light and love of Christ in us, they too will want to be like Jesus.

2. Christians give in order to gain material compensation from God.

One of the most striking characteristics of the prosperity theologians is their seeming fixation on the act of giving. In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.” It’s evident, then, that the prosperity gospel’s doctrine of giving is built on faulty motives. Whereas Jesus taught his disciples to “give, hoping for nothing in return” (Luke 10:35), prosperity theologians teach their disciples to give because they will get a great return. All prosperity preacher serve  only money (Mammon) and they are not servants of God.

Mat 6:24  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

3. Prayer is a tool to force God to grant prosperity.

Prosperity gospel preachers often note we “have not because we ask not” (James 4:2). They encourage us to pray for personal success in all areas of life instead of God's will.

In light of Scripture, the prosperity gospel is fundamentally flawed. At bottom, it is a false gospel because of its faulty view of the relationship between God and man. Simply put, if the prosperity gospel is true, grace is obsolete, God is irrelevant, and man is the measure of all things.