Whatever you think from a theological point of view, it’s time to put prosperity teaching to bed. I doubt if a single doctrine has caused so much confusion or created so many stumbling blocks to the non-believing culture. Understand that I love prosperity. I’d love to be writing this from a mansion on the beach in Malibu. I own a business, so I know the value of money. But the truth is there’s no Biblical conflict about being rich or poor, if your motives are right and your priorities are straight. Get over it. Just follow Christ. Is there anything wrong with being rich? Not if your head and heart are in the right place. Is there any shame in being poor? Absolutely not. Some of the
greatest men and women of God were poor and it had no impact on their right relationship with God. So rich or poor, we can all serve God and make an impact.
The problem is that prosperity teaching changes the focus of our giving from helping others to helping ourselves. We “plant a seed to help our need.” It’s raised a lot of money for sure, but at the same time has created a selfish generation of Christians. That’s why teaching the prosperity gospel is such an effective fundraising technique. Tie it into planting a financial seed for your own benefit and you get a much better response. So as long as some churches and ministries are focused more on fundraising than function, I’m afraid it will continue to hang around as a stumbling block to non-believers.
The truth is, when compared to real Christianity, prosperity teaching focuses us on a trivial, shallow, consumer-based faith. But the radical message of the Christian faith isn’t about having a new car, a house, or more money. Consider the words of C.S. Lewis:
“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and to earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I suggest that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
OK – I opened the box. Now you weigh in…