Prosperity Theology: anyone hear about this before?


#1

I have seen this preached by numerous preachers on television, mostly on TBN, and I was rather shocked/surprised that this is a belief among a portion of the non-denom churches having pentecostal influences. I have heard this preached live as well. From what I observed, the belief is as follows:

Prosperity theology, in a nutshell, states that to have a bountiful harvest, you have to first grow it from seed. The examples I heard preached are: donate money to evangelical churches (pentecostal) in order to obtain a financial riches, buy someone tires for their car in order to get a nice car, and other notions like these. I believe it is a carry over from Jewish teachings where the righteous are “blessed” with riches while the sinners were “cursed” with poverty.

The gospel reading for this past Monday (Mark 10:17-27) seems to refute this type of theology. Does anyone know of other places in scripture where this is refuted? Does anyone have experience personally dealing with someone who believes this?


#2

[quote=MVH]I have seen this preached by numerous preachers on television, mostly on TBN, and I was rather shocked/surprised that this is a belief among a portion of the non-denom churches having pentecostal influences. I have heard this preached live as well. From what I observed, the belief is as follows:

Prosperity theology, in a nutshell, states that to have a bountiful harvest, you have to first grow it from seed. The examples I heard preached are: donate money to evangelical churches (pentecostal) in order to obtain a financial riches, buy someone tires for their car in order to get a nice car, and other notions like these. I believe it is a carry over from Jewish teachings where the righteous are “blessed” with riches while the sinners were “cursed” with poverty.

The gospel reading for this past Monday (Mark 10:17-27) seems to refute this type of theology. Does anyone know of other places in scripture where this is refuted? Does anyone have experience personally dealing with someone who believes this?
[/quote]

Jesus poverty refutes it. He certainly didn’t get rich like these guys are from fleecing the flock. Yes, this theology has been around for quite a while. It’s also called the health and wealth Gospel.


#3

I think it is horrid.


#4

I have heard of this before and I believe it has its basis with the Calvinistic theology. In essence, those who prosper in life are favored by God. Can anyone expand on this?

PF


#5

[quote=WanderAimlessly]I have heard of this before and I believe it has its basis with the Calvinistic theology. In essence, those who prosper in life are favored by God. Can anyone expand on this?

PF
[/quote]

Yes you are right, that’s where it was born, like Rosemary’s baby.

The idea that being blessed with abundance was a sign of God’s favor is related to the double-predestination taught in Calvinism. The Puritans brought these ideas to New England.

This is also the source of the ‘Protestant’ ethic and subsequent materialism. It helps explain how the British and Dutch became so successful in the mercantile age.

One good example is after the monasteries were closed and burned in England, there was no public institution in put in place to meet the needs of the very poor and displaced who would line up for the distribution of alms and food.

Eventually the British hit upon the idea of those notorious workhouses, debtors prisons, and indentured servitude. Some people don’t deserve any better, they are obviously already damned.


#6

I have heard my Baptist neighbors say such things…mainly along the lines of yes…you are saved, but if you sin bad things will happen to you.

My father-in-law told his daughter that if she divorced her husband one of her children would probably become sick.

It goes both ways…do good God rewards you, bad and punishment will happen, and I think it is the way that they keep each other in check, since one can’t loose salvation


#7

[quote=MVH] Does anyone know of other places in scripture where this is refuted? Does anyone have experience personally dealing with someone who believes this?
[/quote]

I’ve had some experience with this, also in a non-denominational church with a Pentecostal influence. These folks literally preached that you should pray for stuff because “God wants you to have good things”. They also said that you should never suffer…not exactly in those words, but that you should be free from sickness, even the flu.

This theology is not only refuted in Scripture, but pretty easy to refute using common sense. Just turn the message around - if wealth and health are signs of God’s blessing, does that mean the poor and sick are all living in sin? Another argument is that everyone has a particular weakness to sin…if a person has a weakness for greed, then this kind of theology could put a stumbling block in his/her path to God.

I haven’t done the apologetics on this in a while, but I would think the following Scripture passages could help (disclaimer: I looked these up myself, so please take them as suggestions. They don’t carry the Imprimatur :slight_smile: )

[list]
*] Mt 10:38-39; “whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
*]The passages about communal life in Acts, especially 2:45; “they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.”
*]1 Tm 6:10; “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.”
*]Heb 13:5; "Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”
*]I also thought MVH’s suggestion of Mark 10:17-27 is a good one.
[/list]God Bless


#8

This stuff is also part & parcel of many “New Age” groups. The thing I find really bad, is that most of the guys teaching this, are assuring people that if we send our money to** them**, we will get rich off it…Ummm, I think I smell a rat…It sounds like they are getting rich off it!
Sadly, I knew an elderly lady who gave away most all she had to these hucksters…(She had plenty to give, too!!). She had alzheimers type dementia. Her husband had left her well off. It was his former partner who had to intervene…
Makes you wonder how much lower some people are willing to go to…


#9

[quote=Lillith]I have heard my Baptist neighbors say such things…mainly along the lines of yes…you are saved, but if you sin bad things will happen to you.

My father-in-law told his daughter that if she divorced her husband one of her children would probably become sick.

It goes both ways…do good God rewards you, bad and punishment will happen, and I think it is the way that they keep each other in check, since one can’t loose salvation
[/quote]

Not sure I disagree with this. Bad things do happen when we sin, though I wouldn’t say that you will get physically sick. Divorce has consequences. Sin does have consequences.


#10

2 Cor 1:6: If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

2 Tim Chapt 1
11: For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,
12: and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Also I will have to find them later, but Paul has a nagging illness with his vision I believe it was. He also leaves a faithful man sick and moves on.

2 Tim 4
20: Eras’tus remained at Corinth; Troph’imus I left ill at Mile’tus.

Why did he leave him ill if it was so simple to cure him.

There are many false prophecies and doctrines with the H&W preachers as well. I think it was benny hin who said a whole bunch of people were going to rise from the dead just by touching the tv when his program was on. I’d like to know how many people keep there loved ones in the living room waiting for the Benny Hin show. :slight_smile: The doctrines and claims are the most wacky in this group.


#11

[quote=thessalonian]Not sure I disagree with this. Bad things do happen when we sin, though I wouldn’t say that you will get physically sick. Divorce has consequences. Sin does have consequences.
[/quote]

It does make a certain amount of common sense…

Actually, if you think about sinful behavior, you realize that it does make you sick a good majority of the time…that is why God tells us not to sin…but it shouldn’t be a deterent to sin. A deterent to sin would be the fact that you want to please God


#12

[quote=Lillith]It does make a certain amount of common sense…

Actually, if you think about sinful behavior, you realize that it does make you sick a good majority of the time…that is why God tells us not to sin…but it shouldn’t be a deterent to sin. A deterent to sin would be the fact that you want to please God
[/quote]

Agreed. Further there is a tendency that because a tragedy or illness happened to someone that they were sinners. This comes up in the Gospels a couple of times. One place where a tower came on 18 people and another where a young man is afflicted with some disease and Jesus asks the pharasees if it was his sin or his parents. It was neither. With tower it just says that there sins were no more grave than anyone elses. Their time was just up. So we must be careful in judging someone


#13

Speaking about judging reminds me of another thing about this kind of teaching that bothers me. They can be very judgmental.There is a “blame the victim” mentality kind of mentality in it…
Just as some phoney “healers” will tell people that they are not healed “because you don’t have enough faith”, the prosperity teachers will say that if you have financial problems, it is because you aren’t being generous enough…Or, you aren’t sending your money to the “right person”(i.e., them).


#14


2Cor.12

[list=1]
]7] And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a* thorn** was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.
[/list]This is the verse I mentioned earlier. If health and wealth were true, why didn’t Paul just cure himself.


#15

It’s the name it and claim it theology. I actually know some people who think mentioning that you are coming down with a cold has claimed the evil spirit of the illness. It can get pretty warped when someone gets ill and dies, as we are all apt to do. Suffering is not considered carrying the cross at all.

I even heard a man on TV say he hadn’t had a headache in 20 years because he was right with God. I can tell you this causes horrible doubt and pain to people with disabled or critically ill children.

I think it has evolved from not only Calvinist theology, but our culture’s failure to see the value Christ put on suffering.


#16

Being former Pentecostal this man avanzini.org/ was one of the best. Most of the TBN group are prosperity preachers. I once was in a camp meeting when a young preacher held up his arm to show he had arrived in God so all could see his Rolex. A co-pastor of my church was joking (not really) when she said she was going to get a vanity plate for the front of her caddie saying “paid for by your tithes”. I never really bought off on that part of my journey, but a lot of loving people get really hurt by it. Pray for them. Peace, Mike


#17

[quote=WanderAimlessly]I have heard of this before and I believe it has its basis with the Calvinistic theology. In essence, those who prosper in life are favored by God. Can anyone expand on this?PF
[/quote]

I believe Robert Schuler with his “Glass Palace” is one of these propsperity type. He may still be on Sunday morning TV. Don’t know for sure because I am at Church most of Sunday morning.

I have a good friend, who before coming into the full heritige of his Catholic Faith, was preached this gospel and bought into it. Give your life to Jesus and only good things will happen to you. If it doesn’t try harder. Your Faith is not strong enough. Now send me five bucks so that I can continue the work of the Lord. He is one friend who seems to move from one financial problem to another so obviously it wasn’t working for him.

One of the extant New Age beliefs is that what you think creates your reality. You choose what happens to you in life by your thoughts including the time and manner of your death. That is because you are not an individual, you are part of god. You have divine power because you are god. Caraaazyy!


#18

Don’t blame Calvinists for properity word-faith heresy.
I was weaned on calvinist theology. The prosperity theology was thoroughly despised by any good calvinist because it turned God into a magical "genie’ bound to grant our wishes. Calvinism is given {dubious, imho} credit for the so-called ‘protestant work ethic’. (If you want to explore Christian/Catholic economic theory that deals with what really allowed economic growth … try acton.org/ppolicy/tech/creativity/ . )

Anyway…it was different from the “blab it an’ grab it” exploitation of the sheep you all are describing here. That heresy, in my humble opinion, derives from an arrogant deliberate distortion of our participation in the divine nature. They say “we are gods”: we have the ability to create by our words, to claim the right to have others serve us. justice, mercy, kindness, suffering, servanthood are abandoned via greed and gluttony. These are slayers of the soul.
May God have mercy on those decieved by these wolves, these dishonest shepherds.


#19

Man, I wish I had a Lamborghini Diablo. That would be a good thing! Actually, I’d settle for just the chance to touch one without getting arrested. But then, would that be in the “name (character)” of Jesus?

Well for now I guess I will be happy with the blessings I receive from my used Nissan Altima.

Dan L


#20

Ah, yes. “Name it and claim it.” During my Protestant years I heard many very popular evangelists (mostly the traveling kind) explain that God doesn’t want his children to suffer, and He doesn’t want them to go without anything. They equate wealth with God’s “favor.” And all you have to do, my friends, is sow a seed in faith – a monetary seed – and it will come back 30, 60, or 100 fold.

They preach the “Widow’s Mite.” All you have to do is give all you have. And then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be yours and there is nothing God can deny you.

Rolex-wearing charlatans, all of them. Benny Hinn, Jesse Duplantis, and the “Bishop” T.D. Jakes. Lord have mercy.


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