What is Prosperity Preaching? Is a formula for a healthy and wealthy life? Or, is it materialism paraded as theology?
Read on to discover the 100% sure-fire way to being prosperous, not just in a few things I do, but in every single thing I put my hand to do.
Prosperity Preaching (also known as prosperity doctrine, the health and wealth gospel, or the prosperity gospel) is defined by the Lausanne Theology Working Group as the teaching that “believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the ‘sowing of seeds’ through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings.“
Well, that definition certainly sounds appealing. Aren’t we all looking to protect our rights? And aren’t we all looking for blessings, especially in the areas of health and wealth. All we need to do is believe we have this right, make a positive confession of faith, and sow a financial seed.
It sounds good. It comes from seemingly reputable people such as Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, and T. D. Jakes – all men whose messages I’ve enjoyed from time to time. But, something inside me stirs when I consider the words found in Psalm 1 about how to truly be prosperous, in fact how to be prosperous every single time, and these instructions have absolutely nothing to do with money.
What I make of this? Perhaps that preachers of the prosperity gospel, though excellent teachers on some levels, are not preaching the formula for prosperity that I find in Psalm 1. I do not doubt their hearts, only their theology on this point.
Read Psalm 1:1-2 below and notice the active words walk, stand, sit, delight, and meditate. Notice three words that are missing: believe, profess, and sow.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. “
In this formula for prosperity, I find three types of people I need to consider:
- The ungodly – those who have no interest in God, His Son, or His Holy Spirit;
- The sinner – those who are unrepentant and rebellious; and
- The scornful – those who speak ill of everyone they meet.
I reason the ungodly person is someone I shouldn’t be hanging out with, nor ask for advice. The sinner, I gather, is someone who, when I see them coming, get out of their way. And the scornful, I should, if I find myself seated next too, should get up and choose another place to sit.
My goodness, how many people in my life will have to adjust my behavior around just to be blessed or happy? Would it be the co-worker that inquires about my life just to offer advice? Or, could it be the friend at church who has their own sin issues that I should avoid and make way when I see them coming? Or, oh my, could it be the family member that has nothing good to say about anyone? This might be a large list.
As I read on, I find the true way to be prosperous. Not only prosperous occasionally but in ‘whatsoever’ I do, meaning that no matter what I do (whether I make a daily confession, whether I attend a Prosperity Preaching Church, or whether I sow a financial seed or not) I will prosper. And, oddly enough, there is not mention of my rights in this formula for prosperity.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
If I want to prosper in all things, the answer is hidden inside verse 3, the word ‘whatsoever’. Whatsoever means exactly that, whatsoever. – “If I can rid myself of listening to those who do not follow Jesus, and if I can keep my distance from those that are committing sin, and if can just keep my mouth shut when the urge to mock arises – well, that means that whatsoever I do, I am golden.
So, given the options in this formula for prosperity, do I believe in a God-given right to healthy and wealth, speak a daily positive affirmation, and sow financial seeds in order to secure a prosperous life? Or, do I adjust my behavior by heeding the warning found in Psalm 1?
I will follow the scripture. Why? Because it offers me a 100% success rate for prosperity.
performed by Kim Hill
Blessed is he who will follow the Lord,
He will not stand in the path of the sinner,
He will not sit in the seat of the scoffer,
For the law of the Lord is his delight.
In His law he meditates day and night,
He will be like a tree planted by water,
He will yield his fruit in its season,
His leaves won’t die,
In whatever he does, he will prosper.
For the lost, they are like chaff that the wind drives away,
They are not safe; at any time their life could perish.
The Lord holds the plans, and the paths of all who follow Him,
The righteous will stand secure and last forever.