Prosperity Gospel Danger Signs
Following is a list, in no particular order, of some of the teachings a person might hear. If it is normal for you to hear these danger signs then your faith has been twisted and you are listening to the ‘prosperity gospel’. Financial prosperity for all Christians is NOT the good news that Jesus Christ suffered and died for.
If you love God you will ‘tithe’
Nonsense. God does not measure your love for him by how much money you give to your local church institution. That statement is just a way to manipulate people and get them to feel guilty, since most Christians do want to prove their love for God. Christians should be generous of their own free will and not be manipulated into trying to keep an Old Testament Law. A better indication of how much you love God is reflected in how you treat other people. Do you yourself do what Christ commanded believers to do or do you just give your ‘tithe’ to the church? Jesus taught us to take care those in need.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (NIV)
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (NIV)
God is not after your money, but instead he wants all of your heart. Giving to churches and seemingly ‘good’ ministries does not fulfill our requirement to do the things outlined above. As normal healthy Christians, we should be doing the work ourselves (feeding the hungry, clothing the helpless, visiting those in prison, etc) and not just getting comfortable giving money to some minister that gets us excited about giving. Also notice that money is not a major issue in the above verses.
God wants all Christians to prosper financially
Absolutely not. Sometimes Bible preachers say that God wants all believers to be rich so they can give more to help spread the gospel. That is also ridiculous. The person that is teaching you that is the person who wants to get your money. That is the bottom line. They want your money to flow into their pockets. Unfortunately many believers are impressed with the hundreds and maybe even thousands that get help through these ministries because these ministries can boast that they in turn give a ‘tithe’ of the money that comes in. You are using the wrong measuring rod. It should be thousands and tens of thousands helped or saved as a result of the generosity of believers.
Teaching that God wants all believers to be financially rich is wrong.
It seems as though most leaders who teach that God wants all Christians to be rich live lavish lifestyles. Is there a connection? You figure it out. What example did Jesus and the apostles set? Jesus and the Apostles did not live extravagant lifestyles.
Many Christians have been taught incorrectly that the following verse is proof that God wants Christians to be rich.
3 John 2
“2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (KJV)
This is NOT an indication of God’s wish for all Christians to be financially prosperous.The Bible contains many warnings about the dangers of riches. Following are just a few of them:
“23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (NIV)
It is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom heaven. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it will be easier for you to enter heaven because you are or want to be a rich Christian. We are warned in the 1 Timothy…
1 Tim 6:9-10
“9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (NIV)
Verse 9 above is a warning for anyone that desires to be rich – saints and sinners both. If you have accepted the ‘prosperity gospel’then you believe that you are supposed to be financially rich and desire to be rich – then this warning is especially for you.
The Bible says ‘The wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just…’
The Bible sure does say that. But, as usual, the verse is taken out of context and twisted to get people excited about getting something as a result of their giving. Unfortunately, it follows the ‘prosperity gospel’ formula of teaching people to ‘give-to-get’.
Let’s see the entire verse.
“22 A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children,but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (NIV)
There is nothing wrong with what the Bible is saying, the problem is with the interpretation. This portion of a verse is used to get people excited and looking forward to getting ‘..the sinner’s wealth..’. Stop a moment and think. If this were true the way it is usually taught, then a sinner’s wealth would always flow to the righteous. Without trying too hard, you should be able to come up with some names of sinners whose fortunes did not and does not flow to the righteous. Nevertheless, this portion of a verse is used to get people excited and ready to receive this great flow of money that supposedly will come to the righteous real soon. This teaching is usually followed by heavy pressure to give to a church or ministry with the promise that God will bless you. A greedy person taught you to be greedy and God doesn’t promise blessings to greedy folks. Greedy folks can convince a lot of people with itching ears to give them money but just because the speaker is wealthy does not mean it is a result of God’s blessings.
Using this verse as an excuse it seems, some very notable ministries have supposedly accepted sums of money from various organizations that seek to compromise the gospel of Jesus Christ and substitute it with a gospel of wealth and comfort. These ministries did not plunder the wicked. Instead they sold out and have become subject to a different gospel. They often plunder poor Christians and those who do not understand the Bible.
So then, as a result of this popular teaching, we have Christians lusting after the riches of sinners. There’s is something wrong with that. We are warned in the book of Proverbs:
“2 The wicked desire the plunder of evil men,but the root of the righteous flourishes.” (NIV)
You may be a Christian but the Bible clearly teaches us that it is wicked to desire the riches of evil men. There is no exception. If you have been taught to lust after the riches of evil men, then you have been listening to the ‘prosperity gospel’ which is often very far from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Bible says ‘God will increase my store of seed and that I will be made rich …’
The Bible does say something like that but it is not a promise for everybody just because they are a Christian. The entire verse reads:
2 Cor 9:10-11
“10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (NIV)
The discussion about giving (NOT tithing) actually starts much earlier in 2 Cor 8:1. It is summarized this way:
2 Cor 8:1 – 15 – Generosity encouraged
2 Cor 8:16 – 9:5 – Titus and his companions sent to Corinth
2 Cor 9:6 – 15 – Results of generous giving
It is incorrect to teach that the verse quoted above is somehow a promise for everyone. It is not. What is happening here is that the writer is continuing to explain the benefits of being generous. It seems it is often taught incorrectly that after God blesses with great riches that you that you can be generous. That is incorrect. You can be generous while having very little as demonstrated
2 Cor 8:1-2
“8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (NIV)
Generosity is not something that is reserved for the rich. The Macedonian church was noted for their ‘extreme poverty’ but yet they wanted to share in the ‘… service to the saints …’. Generosity is something that everyone can have right now and not wait for some overwhelming blessing from God before being generous.
This is certainly true for Christians that are generous like the Macedonian church. Their generosity was a result of what was in them and NOT as a result of some preacher promising what they could get in return.
I was told to bring my W2 form to church!?
WAKE UP!! Shake yourself free from the clutches of some preacher that your itching ears have allowed yourself to get attached to!! Preachers can request and even demand this because you
Have been convinced that you need to ‘tithe’ to please God. Tithing is no longer required under the New Covenant but you have been convinced through very effective preaching that out of all the laws that are no longer required that ‘tithing’ is the one law that God still requires!
You don’t read the Bible for yourself or if you do, you really don’t understand it. Just because you can find the words the preacher read from in the Bible doesn’t make everything he or she said about those words correct.
Your are not thinking for yourself. You have basically turned off your brain and instead have looked around at everybody else that is doing it so you believe it must be the right thing to do. It is NOT. Even if tithing was for New Testament believers, which it is NOT, tithing in the Old Testament was done on the honor system. That means no religious leader walked out to your farm to count the cows or sheep or whatever herds you had to tell you how many were supposed to go to the synagogue in order to obey the Mosaic Law. The same was true about an Israelite who farmed. The Mosaic Law did not instruct religious leaders to come around at harvest time to make sure that Israelites tithed the correct amount.
“12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them.” (NIV)
An Israelite’s vow (above) is all there was to guarantee that the correct amount of produce or animals was tithed. There was no ‘punishment’ from church leaders for failing to tithe. You could not be told ‘you can’t be in church leadership because you don’t tithe’! All the leaders in the church were from the tribe of Levite and their job was to take care of the synagogue and receive tithes and offering from fellow Israelites.
Your church requesting your W2 form is just another way the original Old Testament scriptures have been reinterpreted to supposedly ‘fit’ these modern times. Tithing was never money. It was was always produce or animals. Contrary to what is being taught elsewhere, all the Israelites did NOT tithe. It was only required of those who owned the land and owned 10 or more herded animals.
You have to give seed money to build your faith!?
Nonsense. Absolute garbage! You don’t need to give anyone money to build your faith in God. Hebrews Chapter 11 contains a list of people that were commended because of their faith in God. None of them had to give money to have their faith built. You don’t have to give ‘seed money’ to build your faith in God either. The way to have your faith built is to do the same as the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 – trust God. Believe God. Believe that he
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV)
Are you seeking him or are you seeking earthly rewards? Are you giving money because or what you can get out of it? Do you think you can force God to bless you even though you give for selfish reasons? God doesn’t bless selfishness no matter how convincing the presenter was.