We're making big changes. Please try out the beta site at beta.ccel.org and send us feedback. Thank you!

Discuss What's Right with the Prosperity Gospel?

What's Right with the Prosperity Gospel?


An Economy of Abundance

In contrast to the logic of scarcity with which we are all too familiar, Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann put his finger on the pulse of God's economy by describing it as a "liturgy of abundance." God's economy, he pointed out, assumes the abundance of creation and so refuses the miserly hoarding and competition yielded by the myth of scarcity. It's Pharoah's logic, he suggested, that generates an economy of fear: "There's not enough.

Prosperity preaching hard to reconcile with the Bible EdITEd

There is a balance as one poster said.

It was God that warned Joseph a famine was coming. And he shared with his enemies. Job didnt have difficulty because he confessed it. He had difficulty because God allowed it, and scripture speaks of him highly. Yet we shouldnt live in a scarcity mentality which makes us cold and selfish. The Psalmist had not seen His seed begging bread; but the fact it happened is a fact of history. Yet God's people GIVE. Poverty occurs to Christians and nonChristians but teh Christian knows who sees Him thru this pilgrimage.. Our giving isnt from our abundance as Christ showed us in His story of the widow who gave all, and the OT widow who gave her last bit of food to the prophet.

As a teen introduced to the health and prosperity gospel, name it claim it movement, next to my Bible I carried and worked to memorize the red, green and blue books of Kenneth Hagin. Scriptures like Mark 11:23 was a core scripture. Yet the apostles must have missed the name it claim it, prosperity theological interpretation of this passage. The author of Hebrews (ch 11) speaks of our exodus from the egypt of sin and pilgrimage toward the ciry whose builder and maker is God, those who were destitute and wandered in sheep's clothing. Paul speaks of the sick man God mercifully healed and being told no 3 times to deliverance from Satan's thorn. So where is the prosperity theologian's biblical proof supporting the view that Mk 11 empowers God's children with the ability to speak health and wealth into existence, and to enjoy the total fruit of the atonement here and now???? So I dont believe in that but sharing cant wait until all our needs are met or it ignores Who meets our needs and already met our greatest need. Faith acknowledges The Lord is my Shepherd and my greatest need in life is met whether I am in a dark valley or a comfortable/secure place. I looked and looked, and couldnt find support for the traditional prosperity belief as a teenager.

But I have also seen God's people give and give and give (until it hurts some used to say) and God blessed in spiritual and nonspiritual ways - not the same for one as the other but He blesses (Give and it shall be given you ...). I watched the first generation name it claim it prosperity theologians age and they/their families get sick and die of the human diseases they had for years preached could be overcome by the rhema spoken from the believer. I watched people like O Roberts get people to give so God wouldnt kill him. But there is a place for this stewardship - God's people dont wait until they are economically secure to give. The church at Jerusalem was so poor the Gentile church had to take up collections for them; but some of the Gentile churches werent much better depending on their relationship with Rome.

Real faith sees the end (the City of God) before we get there, walking a daily pilgrimage with our hand firmly held in the Hand of the One who went before us, doesnt waiver of the Savior's love regardless of what is seen or felt. As a person in the race we dont allow financial security to stagnate us in running the race either. I think the faith movement got it right that faith in God is taking God at His word regardless of what we see or hear; but endowed our humanity with greater power/authority than God intended. I dont wat faith for healing or faith for prosperity or faith for being on the road to success .... I want FAITH IN GOD on the mountains AND the valley (Paul's contentment in whatever state he finds himself)., a faith that wants to bring others to the Savior and our eternal Home ... I want the struggles God gives greater grace to overcome AND the victories only He can give to point people to the One who provides the greatest security and prosperity (rich in Him and secure in His arms)..

The knowledge of Who is in control causes a balance between fiscal responsibility and stewardship in fiscally supporting the preaching of the kingdom including giving. it is not IMO a social Gospel but recognizes the social aspect of the Gospel..

Submitted as a poster,

JeffLogan's picture

Managing the wealth of others

The article by Smith makes it clear that in God's prosperity gospel there is no lack. Those whom God blesses with prosperity are given opportunity to manage that prosperity on behalf of others who are lacking in skill necessary to manage on their own. The truth of this abundance gospel chases away the fear of being without should it be given away.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV
cuddysark's picture

The Good Old Days

Most of us can look back on life and talk about the good old days which usually means we were poor and happy. Why? The good old days were not good because we were poor, they were good because the things which were important were the things we deemed to be important; the point being all we had for enjoyment was the relationships of the people we loved.
The same can be said of prosperity. The good life I now lead 50 years latter is not good because I have more money. Having more money may buy me more things and ease the burden of paying my bills, but it has nothing to do with enjoying life. What was important 50 years ago is still important today and just as then it has nothing to do with physical prosperity and everything to do with spiritual prosperity.
The good life is always the same; it is about who you love and who loves you. Love starts with God, then others and finally a wholesome love of self.

Paul R Miller's picture

Prosperity Gospel

The real challenge of the Gospel is to maintain its tensions -- for example, between justice and mercy, holiness and forgiveness, or "already" and "not yet." Most distortions of the Gospel occur because of the human tendency to try to resolve those tensions into and "either/or." So, the legitimate concept of abundance in the biblical message becomes the expectation that God's goodness will be manifest in immediate material blessings. I think this is a really wonderful treatment of this complex issue, pointing out that the promise of abundance has to be held alongside a commitment to justice for the poor. Those who enjoy material comfort too easily sneer at the longing of the poor for their share of the world's abundance, which is the intuition behind the prosperity Gospel.

Ken le Roux's picture


This short remark you've left is brilliant. Americans seem particularly prone to the Prosperity Gospel, and evil men prosper just as much as 'good' men. The prosperity Gospel has done untold damage to the spreading of the Gospel. It is an absolute tragedy.