What is the Prosperity Gospel?

The so called “prosperity message” has been the center of much controversy in the  secular community as well as in the Body of Christ. Once again I am dismayed that we can’t come and reason together as Paul once suggested, and find some common ground when it comes to “Biblical Prosperity”. I will be honest with you, I have exhausted the argument on both sides and found errors with both. It sort of speaks to a bigger problem in the Body of Christ when we don’t  allow the word of God to be our final  authority. I believe it’s healthy in any discussion to have a deliberate use of certain words. For instance, some critics of the Bible  try to appeal to the etymology of a word in English to gain understanding from a word that has its origin in Hebrew or Greek. Now I will admit that I am neither  a Greek or Hebrew scholar, but I do use a concordance diligently. I say  this because we must understand how the word “Prosperity” is defined from a Biblical perspective. The Hebrew word for “Prosperity” is “Shalom” which means peace . However not just any kind of “peace”, such as the absence of war, but  this kind of “peace “yields blessing to every aspect of a person’s life. To have this kind of “peace” means that you are walking in the  fullness of God’s blessing. It means your finances are well. It means you are in good health. It means that you have a sound mind. This is what true Biblical Prosperity is all about. I’m not sure when it got reduced to a fixation on increasing only. I know some people who are  blessed materially and they don’t let the increase change them. However we all know people who are miserable even with material increase and I would hardly call that prosperity. If you can’t be content with increase then that’s greed and not prosperity. With all that being said, is it wrong for a Christian to prosper and to materially increase? Certainly not! It is not the increase that’s the issue, it’s the attitude toward the increase. Lets look at some scripture. 1 Timothy 6:17 says “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”  This verse illustrates the right attitude to maintain in regards to increase. It’s essential that you don’t put security in “uncertain riches” but put faith in the living God who is the manufacturer of riches. Most Christians don’t see poverty as a curse. They will view increase as a blessing, but never entertain the notion that decrease may be a curse. This is especially true for people who have more than enough to take care of themselves and yet they constantly always come up short. They have the wrong attitude about money. On the other hand, some people make an idol out of their poverty just as much as some make an idol out of their riches. Now, let me say that I am not one of these “Prosperity Hustlers” that’s going to promise that you will have your own private jet and everything, but a Christian is supposed to increase for the sole purpose of being a blessing to someone else. Yes it’s better to give than to receive but you can’t give what you don’t have. Solomon said  “Money is the answer for all things.”  (Ecclesiastes 10:19) Some Christians accept poverty as God’s will for their life. This type of thinking does not line up with scripture.  The blessing is all about reproducing (Deuteronomy 28:8). Now again God doesn’t bless us so that we can increase personally, but so that we can be a blessing to someone else. In closing, I would say be grateful for what you have but don’t be content with it.Remember the blessing is having all that you need to do the will of God and a little extra to share with others. Always strive to reproduce for the kingdom.

Peace, Julian James


One Response to “What is the Prosperity Gospel?”

  1. Kevin Boone Says:

    Julian, a really good balance of this teaching, scripture to think on, and thought provoking statements. Some might have issues with the contentment statement near the end, but I think I understand what you are saying: Be content with what God has given you, but don’t just assume or settle for the belief that the present increase must be it. I also like the teaching you gave, biblical, that the increase is not just for us, but for furthering the Kingdom. You are giving a balance that most people I’ve heard speak on prosperity fail to give. Money is something God obviously uses as a tool to reach out to people in the Kingdom. You are doing good. I’m taking 4 Sundays away from church, a month, entirely. I’ve got to rest after 11+ years at the same place, so if I don’t call or meet you for a month, don’t think I’m ignoring you. WE can talk over the internet if that’s okay. Grace, K Boone

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