Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prosperity Gospel

The older I get, the more I realize that the message of the gospel is a tough sell. This message will likely cost you your wealth, your security, and possibly your life. This message led Jesus and 11 of his 12 closest followers to the grave. I don't know about you, but that's certainly not a path I want to go down.

A much easier message to sell is to give away 10% of your earnings and the Lord will pay you back and then some; giving money to God is an investment. This is the message of the prosperity gospel and here is a great ESPN piece on high profile athletes and their high profile churches.

If you want my humble opinion, there's probably a special place in the afterlife for men like Creflo Dollar. I hate to say it, but I think my heightened image of Kurt Warner just fell a bit. Not to be too hard on the guy, but I honestly think that he is more comfortable getting involved with ministers who are wealthy. It would probably make him feel very uncomfortable dropping by Joyce Meyer's house if she lived in a modest home, or heaven forbid in the ghetto. What we have here are prosperity ministers who tell the rich exactly what they want to here: God loves you and has blessed you and will continue to bless you abundantly as long as you do a list of things. And I think it's safe to assume the list includes tithing 10% and the blessing includes personal achievement and wealth.

Messages like this make me want to rip out the Old Testament of my bible and throw it in the trash. That or steal a bunch of money from people I consider my enemies and take it back to my giant home full of wives and slaves, as I could make a pretty good biblical case for that. Giving away money is NOT an investment, it's a way of life that shows that your values are greater than money. I don't get how these preachers read the same bible I read and live such different lives. The message of prosperity and even security died with Jesus. Am I missing something here? What scares me is that I actually think Creflo Dollar believes what he preaches and is justified in acting the way that he does. What's scarier is that more Christians probably agree with him than me.

A message to Kurt Warner, if this ever finds you, please stop giving your money to a mega church and just give it to the poor.


Shannon Smith said...

Great post.

It's hard to listen to the church leaders in that video. Once I went looking for scripture that backed the prosperity gospel, but I was not very successful in finding it.

Do you know what scripture they use as the basis of their teaching?

Emily Mitchell said...

Here are some they use:
*Malachi 3:10 — “And prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

*Mark 11:24 - “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

* John 14:14 — “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

Emily Mitchell said...

of course it's pretty easy to support any behavior you want if you take scripture out of context. I'm pretty sure Christ didn't mean for those verses to support the "name it, claim it" attitude . . .

Zack said...

@shannon - also Jeremiah 19:11, where God says, "I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you... to give you a future and a hope."

The trouble is when you take that scripture and disregard the fact that God came to earth to model the perfect life by being a poor social reject who was tortured and killed.

Chris Waluk said...

I looked up "prosperity Theology" on Wikipedia, but it only proved to be more fuel to my fire as the "arguments against" seem to be much more convincing than the "arguments for". Wikipedia does provide a thorough list of prosperity teachers, although curiously leaving off Bruce Wilkinson.

Alan Wilser said...

I'm pretty appalled at the BS in that video. The stuff that those pastors and athletes were saying was so self incriminating. It kind of reminded me of the Frost/Nixon interviews, except that ESPN didn't really ramp it up when they could have.

Chris said...

I'll give my not-so-humble opinion, the prosperity gospel is complete trash, and calling it a gospel is just plain out wrong.

Creflo Dollar is a conman, as is Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and most of the other televangelists out there. They all go against the basic idea that you can't serve both God and money. Prosperity doesn't mean monetary gain.

However, I'm not so sure that I'm ready to blame the celebrities that these people are targeting, they're no different from you and I (except they're rich and famous and are under different types of temptation than we are).

Anonymous said...

hey bro im outta phoenix arizona and kurt warner/larry fitzgerald and 20 other no named arziona go to a christian homeless shelter every thanksgiving and feed turkey to the men since when did they support WOF/prosperity

Bill Cummings said...

I saw that when it was broadcast the other day as well and had the same reaction.

I think the word "gospel" should be taken out of the term "Prosperity Gospel". It should be called "Prosperity Sham".