What is a prosperity preacher? Someone filling the pulpit or the evangelist role who will tell you god wants you to be happy, pain-free, healthy, relationally prosperous and financially wealthy – all of the time. It implies:
- That Jesus is #2 and wealth (riches of the world) are #1
- That your heart is good and the things you want won’t hurt you
- That Jesus is a genie in a lamp, or father christmas, not the savior of the world
- That if you are sad, sick, pained, stressed in relationships or suffering in a job – that something is wrong
- Perhaps you are sinning, not praying hard enough, or cursed
This weekend we literally heard the following words come from an individual who calls himself an evangelist:
“I can’t tell you how many plane tickets Jesus has given me since I became a christian”
“Jesus wants you on the path to your destiny”
“Say fire fire fire fourteen times and the demons will go away”
“If anyone is sick or injured or needs prayer for any ailment in this place, I want you to come to the stage right now.”
“Let’s get saved first… then we’ll pray for your exams because that’s what you need to do to succeed.”
I hope we can see that actually, the bible says “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Why do we trust that the things we want in life are the right things to go after and will lead us to ultimate joy?
I think it’s worth saying that prosperity is not just monetary. To assume that all ministers who preach about prosperity are referencing money is wrong. The scriptures do comment on prosperity and health because the term also includes spiritual prosperity. It’s simply that these prosperity preachers completely miss the boat. They seem to have no problem luring you in to “getting saved” so that the things you want in life can come true. Only problem is: Jesus is a means to an end, and the bible never says those things.
The bible does say this though. Hebrews 11:35 “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated = of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains in dens and caves of the earth”
Were these people tempted to believe God was not listening to them or he was being sadistic? Probably. But vs 40 makes it clear: “god has provided something better for us” than what the world has to offer. If you go get the house with the pool and the fame for your job and all the things you want in life – well – you get it. And that’s all you get. That’s your heaven. No eye has seen no ear has heard and no brain has imagined what he has in store for those who see beyond the earthly treasures.