You all must find another name for what you really mean when you are up against ‘Prosperity Gospel’. Those two words. Just look at them. What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with prosperity? What’s wrong with Gospel?
Yet those two words today elicit a seriously negative attitude towards preachers. When you turn on the TV and there is a Preacher asking you to ‘Send’ some amount of Dollars to his ministry, or to buy a book or any other product they have…what goes on in your mind?
Let’s get some things straight here:
In my early Christian life, I was taught at church that you cannot have a counterfeit if there was no original. In other words, what people abhor these days in the name of ‘Prosperity Gospel’ was once an authentic message void of selfish manipulations and taking advantage of masses. I am particularly up against the way the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ has been preached for decades.
The obsession of God performing miracles on a daily basis I believe is wrong. There will always be two parts to a miracle: Your part, and God’s part. Unfortunately, people think that their part is only prayer and fasting and then God does the rest. As a result, many people abdicate doing what is in their hands to ‘wait on God’ to work a miracle.
They point at Esther in the Bible who fasted…but wait a minute. Is that the only thing she did? Fast and pray? Check out that story again. The lady went ahead and charmed the King with her appearance, with her wisdom and courage she tactfully orchestrated a reversal. Ask yourself, If she just stayed in her chambers fasting and praying for 40 days, do you think we would be reading about her today?
Ok, how about Jesus, he fasted for 40 days….yeah? And then what did he do? He worked!! He said that foxes have places to sleep but the Son of Man did not have a place to lay his head. Translation: He worked exhaustively hard!
The Prosperity Gospel being preached that all you gotta do is give, or pray, or fast, or visit the guys in prison, or take communion, or any other spiritual exercise…and then sit back and watch God work is all WRONG! Controversial? Of course! I must admit that I get baffled when preachers seek to use Scripture to activate the Prosperity Gospel. For Example, a preacher would say that you need to give USD 133,000 for your miracle money. Why? Because 133 corresponds to Psalm 133 that says something about prosperity. (It doesn’t am just using it as an example).
Why do I think its wrong? Simple. How many people want financial blessing at the instance that the USD 133,000 was mentioned? Everybody! How many people do you think God wants to prosper financially at the instance the USD 133,000 is mentioned? Everybody! OK…how many people are able to afford the USD 133,000? Not everybody. What happens to those who cannot afford it? Is there another way they can qualify to receive the blessing?
I believe the miracle or the Key to the breakthrough is not necessarily in the amount…but in two or three things:
It is this kind of preaching that has given birth to the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ as it were. Consequently, it becomes easy for a preacher to say that you just give and God is going to bless you and the masses follow unquestioningly.
For the record, I am for the Prosperity Gospel and this is how I believe it MUST be preached:
Jesus had no problem with people prospering. To Him, prosperity must be looked at in order of priority. If your message of prosperity is the premium message above the message of Salvation, then you are losing track. I know people say that it takes money to spread the Gospel…but remember that the Gospel you are preaching is primarily reconciliation to God and not cars, houses and jet liners.
If I come to your Church and you preach a storm and I get saved, good. But then again, before I go to heaven, I will have to stay here on earth for a while. I am now a regenerated Spiritual being, living in a body full of passions, longings and desires in this world that continues to lower the standards of compromise every waking day. The Gospel therefore has to cater for the Body (I remember being taught at NLC and being instructed that as a Leader, I ought to do some physical exercises to keep my body fit), my Soul (messages about Desires, Personal Purpose, Passion and Goals), as well as Finances (the Why, How, and the What).
“I define balance as the ability to go to both extremes equally!” I am paraphrasing one major visionary who makes me weep every-time I see his passion to preach the gospel and reach out to as many people as possible. His name is Jack Hanes. Let’s look at it this way: Can you claim to get cheques in the mail if you have no mailbox? Can you Claim to receive royalties if you have no intellectual property to attract them? Can you claim to receive a car and you have no driving license? How do I call you if you have no phone?
My point is this: There must be some practical thing apart from your giving that God is going to bless. It could be work. It could be your personal projects. It could be your pursuit of your gifts and talents. You cannot just give and expect the giving to work wonders. God is going to prosper you with what you have in your hands after you have given.
Therefore, I need to see these prosperity preachers at least dwelling on the practical aspects of life too. Jesus did this a lot. When is the last time the people in your congregation were taught about their life purpose? When is the last time they were taught about Entrepreneurship? Isn’t that the Gospel?