Destructive Prosperity: A Smack Down On Incorrect Doctrine

You wanna make more money?…Sure we all do.There is a new gospel that is pervading modern Christianity. Pastor David Curtis of Berean Bible church calls it a “destructive gospel”. The prosperity/name-it-and-claim-it gospel has become big money. This is the false gospel that tickles ears and makes folks feel good about going to church because they know that they are going to hear about all the earthly treasures they are storing up. They are taught that God is poised to pour out these rich earthly treasures on them the moment they say it or believe or claim it.

I want to be completely transparent for a moment. Before I was saved I was a sinner. I do not mean that I did not attend church and told lies occasionally. I am talking about lying (and being good at it), sexual immorality, and filthy language. By my own carnal reckoning I would say that if there was any person undeserving of salvation and God’s grace it was me. Even when I tried to act more Godly (which is impossible, for it is only by God’s grace that we called righteous), it truly was as filthy rags. The stain of sin still lingered and the filthiness from my rags got all over anything I touched so that before long my acts and attempted behavior changes just became filthy again. It was as though a child, perceiving his dirtied face reached up with mud-covered hands and tried to wipe away the filth from his countenance. It was not until I surrendered to God and confessed that nothing I can do can make me clean. A rag can not wash itself. It must be acted upon by a higher power outside itself. It takes a person placing it in the washing machine and then the rag can be cleaned. I could not find the answer to uncleanliness within my own being. God saved me by His grace and I am forever grateful to Him and I am completely reliant upon Him.

Can you see where I am coming from? God never had any obligation to do anything. Granted, out of his infinite kindness He has revealed Himself and His great love through His Son. But saving us, blessing us, and prospering us were never required of Him. Who would be so bold as to suggest such an obligation? Well, Joel Osteen is so bold. Kenneth Copeland is so bold. Such false gospel proclaimers hold up their banner verse, namely III John verse 2. I said Claim It!!!But I would like to point out that they forget to whom it was written. It was written from one man to another. It was written by John to his friend Gaius. Yet prosperity teachers have hijacked it and declared that it is a promise to all believers. Yet the Bible was written for us, but not to us. Besides this was a personal prayer of blessing that John prayed for his friend. It in no way represents the will or future actions of God and I do not think John would have wanted it to be taken that way.

Another question I would pose (and one that sets me on fire where it concerns this issue) is what would be the response of first century Christians to this destructive teaching? Concerning the common accusation that people are not blessed because they need more faith, how would Abel, Job, Stephen, Peter, the persecuted first century Christians, St. Ignatius, Joan of Arc, William Tyndale, and and the persecuted Puritans respond to Osteen, Copleand and the like? If I could speak on their behalf, in light of their sacrifices, I can imagine what the response might would be.

How dare you! How dare you pervert the gospel for which we were martyred? We loved not our lives even unto death and yet you question our faith by your crooked doctrine. Was our faith insufficient because we did not live our ‘best life now’? Because we were often poor, persecuted and oppressed in life were our lives and faith not pleasing to God?

Granted, most of these martyrs I have mentioned would be too humble to elevate themselves and their sacrifice as much I have elevated them, but the response still would not be unwarranted.

Osteen speaks of living in total victory. But the only total victory that the Bible speaks of is victory over sin and death. We will still get flat tires, scraped elbows, bills, and mortgages. But what are these things but momentary light affliction compared to the riches of the promise of the new covenant which is this: we were dead and are now alive. Whereby once we were blind, now we see. Old things have passed, behold, all things have become new. Is there any greater salvation? Is there any better life now? What is money? What is a job? What is a house? Should we not consider them and any achievements to which we may attain to be rubbish compared to knowing Christ Jesus our Lord? If you are going to be sold out to Christ because of the salvation that comes through Him and because He is now your King, then be sold out. But if you are looking for a hand out or if you are looking for a god that is nothing more than a genie in a bottle, then you will have to look elsewhere. Joel Osteen, you are a good motivational speaker, perhaps one of the best, but do not call yourself a preacher. A preacher proclaims the gospel of the Bible and you, sir, do not.

We waste precious time, opportunities and resources when we use them up on ourselves and complaining to God about our own ailments and problems yet never lift a finger to help others with the same problems. Would it be more pleasing to God, instead of claiming healing for our hurt knee, to go and do some work around someone’s house for them despite our hurt knee? Is it not more Christ-like to ignore our back pain and go help a brother or a lost person move to a new house, in spite of our back (just lift with your legs not with your back)? What more clearly represents love? To go around claiming financial freedom or to give to the church or others even out of our poverty (do not forget the widow who came and gave all she had, thus giving the most, Luke 21:1-4)? Be on the look out for ways in which the selfish prosperity gospel may have crept its way into your theology and thought processes. Do not forget how God has already given us our best life (and eternity) now through the cross of Christ.

Josh H.


2 Responses to “Destructive Prosperity: A Smack Down On Incorrect Doctrine”

  1. March 8, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Great application Josh. My heart breaks for all the people who listen and believe his teaching. It was great to be reminded why we are here.

  2. March 8, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Excellent post and thought-provoking. Too often we forget that we are not promised prosperity, but persecution. Not rejoicing with us, but rejection of us… There are so many Christians who base what they believe to be God’s will on whether or not good things immediately happen from it, whether it be mission trips, church planting, or whatever.

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