What’s Right and Wrong With the “Prosperity Gospel”

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How many times have we seen or heard a televangelist say, “If you need money, send to my ministry, and God will multiply your gift back to you!”   Is there anything wrong with this?  Is there anything right?   Listen to Dr. Brown’s show today to hear a discussion of the kingdom principles regarding “prosperity” and “faith-giving.”

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Let us seek that which is above; let us set our hearts on heavenly things, not earthly things.  Let us set our hearts on God and His Kingdom and His righteousness, on seeing the purposes of God go forth in the earth today, and we will see that in Him there is no lack.

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: We serve an abundant God:  a God who created the universe, and a God in whom every one of our needs is already met as we trust Him.  Let us set our hearts on spreading the gospel and being His ambassadors here on this earth, and He will care for us to make us channels of blessing to help a hurting and dying world.  Friends, that is the gospel!

Featured Resources:

Separation of Church and State with Joseph Infranco [MP3 series],  and  It’s Time to Rock the Boat with Michael L. Brown [MP3 series] !

Other Resources:

_ The End of The American Gospel Enterprise by Dr. Brown: This book is for: Everyone hungry for more of God… Everyone jealous for the true glory of God… Everyone who knows that something great is missing from the American Church.

_

The Gospel of Martyrdom vs. the Gospel of Success VOR Article by Dr. Brown

Stephen stood before the Sanhedrin. The appointed Jewish leadership confronted this anointed Jewish believer. They glared; he glowed. They were enraged; he was enraptured. Their faces were contorted with anger; his was like the countenance of an angel. “Men and brothers,” he said […]

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God VOR Article by Marcus French

An atheist reluctantly admits that Jesus is the answer in Africa in this December 27th Times Online article:
Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there […]

Press Release on New Book Confronting Charismatic Church posted on VOR by Marcus French

Financial scandal. Faulty theology. Moral failure. The last few years have shown that the Church and her leaders are not immune to scandal and corruption. The real problem, however, is that no one is holding them accountable. Until now.

Charismatic insider and contributing editor to Charisma magazine, J. Lee Grady has been a voice crying out against the abuse of the gifts of the Spirit in his weekly, award-winning column “Fire in My Bones.” Though an avid proponent of the charismatic experience, he has observed trends that both distress and anger him. And now he is overturning the money tables. […]

5 Comments
  1. I keep thinking about what Dr. Brown’s wife told him, which he mentioned on this show…basically that if the “seed money” idea worked [which some prosperity teachers preach], they’d be sending money OUT to the people, knowing it would return to THEM with increase. Good point! How interesting would it be to hear a preacher ask their television audience, those in any kind of need, to call in so they could send them $100.00 for their needs? Preaching that by helping the poor, they are giving to God, and He will bless them?

    So often, people send in money they may barely have to spare, and the prosperity apostles grow richer from that. There is one in particular, and I don’t want to mention his name, but when I see him on tv, I get a shudder in my spine. He waxes on about his many homes or other fine things, and it’s sad to think that his wealth is coming in drips, in the form of hundreds and thousands of small checks, maybe from that elderly lady barely scraping by each month, or that young couple who are struggling to feed their family, and here he is, crowing about his many impressive possessions, as PROOF that his seed money scheme is working! And never have I heard him exegete on any of Jesus’ teachings, or preach about the salvation of the soul…it’s always about material wealth. He persuades people to believe that he has a special set-up with God — and if they give to him, God will give back to them. And he sometimes shares stories of amazing sums of money being received by others who’ve sown into his pet project. One would THINK it’s just all about money, money, money — that’s the whole point of what God is doing.

    Job 23:12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

    Proverbs 30:8-10 ESV

    Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
    give me neither poverty nor riches;
    feed me with the food that is needful for me,
    lest I be full and deny you
    and say, “Who is the LORD?”
    or lest I be poor and steal
    and profane the name of my God.

    __________________________________________________

    I really hope I don’t offend anyone by sharing a little levity in the form of the following joke: This guy is speaking with God and the conversation goes like this; he says, “I hear that a day is like a thousand years with You.” And God responds,”Mmmm-hmmm.” So he says, “Well, I’m just wondering, what is a million dollars like for you?” And God says, “Oh, it’s like a penny.” So the guy asks, “You got a penny?” To which God replies, “You got a minute?”

    __________________________________________________

    So anyway, King Solomon’s story we can keep learning from. He seemed to learn later on to appreciate the sweet sleep of the laborer over the anxiety of the one who has much responsibility.

    Jesus told us that if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, will our Father give us a stone when we ask for bread?

    Very good show; timely topic! As always, Dr. Brown knows how to draw out all the relevant points.

  2. I don’t understand people who say that they used to give money for the work of the gospel, hoping to receive, having faith in God that he will give unto them for their giving, the result being that they got caught up in giving, so much so that they
    became material oriented in their thinking, rather than considering their sins and the need for repentance, or being aware of the message of the cross.

    The reason I say I don’t understand that is because I know a little bit about giving. I have given, and for me it was a way of going contrary to the love for money, rather than getting caught up in it.

    It seems to me that if a man thinks he is getting caught up in the things of this world, worldly riches, by giving in order to gain more, all he has to do is continue giving.

    Maybe he just needs to give more, not just 10 or 15 percent, but maybe he should sell his new car if he has one and buy a 500 dollar junker and drive that around for awhile.

    If he has a house maybe he needs to sell the house and move into an apartment, or is it that he’s afraid to do so because he might gain the 100 houses Jesus talked about? (Matt 19:29)

    Well it seems to me that even if they did, they could sell those and give the money to God, and there’s nothing to complain about receiving eternal life that went along with the Matt 19:29 promise is there?

    How can giving to God with expectation to receive from him become enslavement to mammon? I don’t get it.

    The children of Israel made a golden calf, but they didn’t give it to God did they?

    Can the well dressed evangelist on TV, (or a poorly dressed one for that matter, even if he was on a street corner) make a man rich?

    I think he will be the first one to tell you that he can’t make anyone rich. They all say that God will do the prospering of one that gives to God.

    No, the real problem is when men use the gospel as a means to prosper themselves and get caught up in mammon.

    It becomes a snare to them who do the receiving of a portion of the offerings, not to the one who does the giving. This I say speaking of mammon, the love of material wealth of this world.

    Should I suppose that one could get caught up in giving more than they should, and be suffering in poverty more than they ought to?

    The widow’s mite comes to mind doesn’t it? (Mark 12:43…I see it was really two mites, though it’s known as the widow’s mite.)

    When I hear preaching on giving, sowing seed for a harvest, it always comes out the message of the cross to me.

    It’s not always comfortable to give is it? But doesn’t it always bring some joy? There is joy in giving isn’t there? Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

    When one gets to heaven, when our days on this earth are over, will we be glad that we listened to the preaching on giving or not?

    I suppose that will depend on what we gave as well as where we gave.

    I will confess to you that there have been more than a few times when I have heard a preacher on TV preach on giving, sowing a seed of faith, that I did give, but it wasn’t to his ministry.

    His preaching often blesses other ministries.

    Sometimes I feel the need to give where the masses are not congregating.

    Do you ever see a gap and feel the need to stand in it? Being a Christian I don’t think that’s odd. Yet, I think it’s good to give something to wherever one is being fed.

    But if their preaching does turn you off spiritually because there’s something in their message that doesn’t seem quite right to you, maybe that’s not the place for you to listen or give.

    The real problem as I see it is what can happen to one who receives a portion of the offerings.

    If he thinks it’s OK to use the ministry of the gospel as a means to prosper, that can be a danger, a real snare.

    I don’t remember laughing so hard as when I read from the Pilgrim’s Progress on the Deceitfulness
    of Riches, chapter 13 of Edward Hazelbaker’s book of John Bunyan’s classic about the characters from the town of Fairspeech. (see Romans 16:18)

    They were ByEnds (who had a hidden agenda)and his relatives, Mr. Turnabout, Mr. Time Server, and Mr. Fair Speech, all considered honorable men by those in that town. And there was also Mr. Smooth Man, Mr. Facing Bothways, Mr. Anything and the pastor Mr. Two Tongues.

    These types can be found close to where one lives.
    They don’t have to be on TV.

    In walking through some of this, I begin to realize it’s important also where we give.

  3. Acts 8 (ESV)
    18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,

    19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

    20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

    21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.

    22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

    23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”

    24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

    (Whistles)

  4. I had the opportunity of asking Piper in person as to why there is an equivocation between the prosperity gospel and the gift of healing, and his response was to say that he places them on different planes. He also reiterated his belief in divine healing and our desire to seek it. He told me that the sermon snippet captured on youtube was a response to a specific prosperity teaching that life in God is one of carefree entitlement.

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