Gospel on Prosperity


I was watching a presentation titled “Who is a Christian” in the show 360 by Anderson Cooper on CNN a few days ago.

He said that there are some evangelical Protestants who preach that prosperity is what God wants everyone to have because “He wants us to have life abundantly”. Sorry I forgot what exact passage that is in the Bible.

The preacher had a huge congregation who believed in praying for prosperity and money saying that Jesus wants them to have this if they just believe. The preacher had a beautiful wife with a big mansion and drives a luxury car.

A friend told me a famous lay Catholic preacher, used (I am not sure if he still is) to teach a similar thing. He’d ask his poor congregation to invert an umbrella to catch “blessings” in material form will pour on them. He also has a nice house and cars. Many people believe what they said regarding prosperity and faith.

Are there any teachings of the Church or in the Bible on 'prosperity" and accumulation “material wealth”?


Who was the famous Catholic Lay preacher?

Among some Protestants there is a teaching which says that God will give you financial wealth if you just believe strongly enough. This has always troubled me.

It seems to imply that if you are poor, or if something terrible happens in your life, that your faith is somehow lacking.

The New Testament also does not promise any material success if you follow Christ. If anything the bible promises that you will suffer ridicule.


He’s a local Catholic preacher (Filipino), who started a very big Catholic community here in the Philippines mostly made up of poor and middle class—which makes them a politically strong group. (I am not sure if I’m allowed to name names in this forum).

The politicians here would try to outdo themselves to get in his favor during elections as he has a big following and has big clout with his followers.

The Church assigned a bishop as their spiritual director to help them keep in line with the Church teachings…which is a good thing.

The umbrella thing—I am not sure if their group still preach it especially since the bishop is now part of it, and I believe they now have better spiritual direction.

But there was once an element like that in his teachings before and it did help encourage the poor to believe and hope for a better, more materially stable life when they join their group.

I agree with you here. Didn’t Jesus say to his followers, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

I believe in praying for God’s help in times of need. I believe that all that I need, He will provide as long as its for my own good. I think its good to believe in God’s mercy and grace.

Many materially well-off Catholics and other Christians help alleviate the suffering of the poor. I think this is a good thing, so I am not saying being rich is a bad thing, especially if they have concern for others in need. I think both rich, middleclass and poor folks have a place in our Church.

What I don’t believe in preachers living in a materially excessive lifestyle from income derived from preaching God’s Word or believing a preacher when they say that all I have to do is believe that I will be provided a mansion and a luxury car just by asking for it in my prayers.


I saw that show, too. It really bothered me. To me, there was a huge disconnect between these people and Christ’s message. When I think of everything I don’t have in this world, I remind myself that “my reward is not here”. I watched the program, and I noted that one of us – me or the program’s participants – were out of touch with His Message. I was hoping that it wasn’t me.


Are you talking about Velarde and El Shaddai?



I am not a fan of Velarde but I must admit, El Shaddai has some good points too, especially since they do bring the poor and marginalized people in touch with their Catholicism. They do have mass said during their meetings.


Same here. I thought they had a “me…me…me” mentality.

They pray to have material wealth instead of praying for a spiritual one. I don’t think this is what Christianity is about.


Well, there’s the story of the young man who asked Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus answered that he needed to keep the commandments. And when the young man pressed further, Jesus told him if he wanted to be perfect, he should sell everything he had and give it to the poor then come follow Him.

Also, if you read about the earliest church in Acts, the first Christians sold all they had and pooled their wealth and divided it according to each ones needs.

Christ Himself did not accumulate wealth, so it seems the Bible wouldn’t teach that. If the bible says Jesus wants us to have life abundantly, it’s probably referring to spiritual life, not material goods.

The preacher you are talking about could possibly be Joel Osteen from Texas. He’s become very popular. He’s a great motivational speaker, but I’ve heard even him admit that there’s not a lot of theology in what he preaches. I’ve heard him several times on TV. He’s very personable, but I think he’s right. I’ve never been taught some of what he teaches! I’m not even sure if he’s ever taken a class in theology!:slight_smile:


For some Protestants this came from the Calvinist notion of predestination.

Calvin believed that: “the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. Not all are created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death”

Because of this belief, some Calvinist-based theologies separated their people and knew that some of their flock were members of the “unconditional elect.” (Some believers in this doctrine include a name familiar to many Catholics - Loraine Boettner).

The Puritans and others believed that the unconditional elect could be known due to their success, character, and position in society. Therefore, a minister or judge would likely be amongst the elect.

Through the years this theology somewhat mutated along with help from laissez faire capitalist philosophies and social darwinism into what you speak of here. A group of Christians who pray for material wealth, which is symbolically a sign of God’s grace.

It is a far cry from the Church’s view of the poor in the Medieval times.


There is a bit of truth in the “prosperity gospel” idea. God doesn’t want our projects to fail. A lot of the Church’s moral rules are designed to prevent families falling into poverty. It is not wrong to pray for material success, if that is what you want.
However poverty freely chosen is better than wealth, and wealth is not a sign of moral goodness or “election”, as others in this thread have pointed out. Also, too much focus on money can easily become a form on enslavement. One cannot serve two masters, as Jesus put it.


Regarding to “have life abundantly” is from John 10:10

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.



I’m also not a fan of Velarde and if the Church has finally put a Bishop in charge to keep him under control, that’s good. I think they should have done that years ago. He got himself into a position of power and control over this group and while El Shaddai does good, Velarde himself has simply used the group to enrich himself. He has a huge house in Ayala Alabang and the money came from the collections from the people in the group. That money should have gone to the poor and to the Church, not to him.


Hi everyone!

Thanks for your replies and for contributing to my understanding on this topic.

To me, it can be discouraging to see some so-called Christian leaders use the gospel to enrich themselves materially. I wonder sometimes if Christianity or greed is their true motivation. :frowning:

I honestly think that being rich is a privelege that God grants some of us. Whether its a good thing or a bad thing depends on how we use this wealth to make the world a better place for everyone and also how we use it to bring ourselves and others closer to our God.


If you want to refute word of faith people simply take a picture of their parking lot while they are in worship. The vast majority, drives average rusting cars. Also, look at the congregation, as many as any average congregation will wear glasses, losing hair, aging, losing teeth and so on.


I was watching a presentation titled “Who is a Christian” in the show 360 by Anderson Cooper on CNN a few days ago.

He said that there are some evangelical Protestants who preach that prosperity is what God wants everyone to have because “He wants us to have life abundantly”. Sorry I forgot what exact passage that is in the Bible.>>>>>

This is true. I’ve attended a non-denom that preached this EVERY week. The pastor & his family live in a gated comunity, he has his friends go up on stage and testify how wealthy they are now because they have faith & always believed, etc.
Thithing, thithing, tithing, was another big issue every week.

Now my husband became friends with one of the “insiders” (as I called them- the church is “clique-y”) & this poor guy can never get a break when it comes financially. Now what’s his problem? I’ve seen him profess his faith, etc so where’s his abundance?

I’ve also seen how some of these TV Evangelists live. Not too shabby. Remember Jim & Tammy Faye Baker back in the 80’s? Air conditioned dog house??? :eek: And I feel that to non Christians this is the #1 turnoff to Christianity.

There’s nothing wrong asking God for financial help, I’ve done it, & have been blessed, but I think if all you’re doing is praying to God so you can with the PowerBall that’s just wrong!!! :slight_smile:


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