Q. I have a question about a popular TV preacher who’s always preaching, “God wants you to have lots of money, get the job, get the girl, etc”.
How many people have been extremely discouraged and feel like failures when this doesn’t happen for them? Maybe they even think God is punishing them by preventing them from attaining all that the prosperity teachers say they should have. What do you think of the prosperity gospel?
A. The Lord said that we should be living full, abundant lives (John 10:10), but there’s a basic flaw in the prosperity gospel and it has to do with motive. Many of the Bible verses upon which this gospel is built are being referenced incompletely or out of context, and because of that they appeal to our materialistic human nature instead of to our spiritual one.
Try to imagine the good that could result if prosperity gospel preachers would add the rest of the story. What if they taught about God using the same measure in blessing us as we use in giving to others (Luke 6:38), or about storing up treasure in Heaven instead of on Earth (Matt. 6:19-21) by using our resources to advance the work of the Kingdom, or about being made rich in every way so we can be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:11).
But since they don’t, they are by and large the only ones who benefit from their message. And that makes them more manipulative than motivational, selling a distorted form of the gospel that appeals to mankind’s greed instead of his gratitude. I think those who teach the prosperity gospel this way have a lot to answer for.