Friday, March 14, 2008

The Prosperity Gospel

Some conversations that I have had recently and some preachers that I've been watching on T.V. have gotten me thinking about is commonly known as "The Prosperity Gospel." This is the teaching that when one is truly obeying God and in God's favor then financial, material and physical blessings will follow. While it is true that blessings do come from God (James 1:17), it does great violence to the gospel to teach that money and stuff and limited visits to the doctor are an indication of one's strong faith or, on the otherhand, that financial challenges or sickness somehow indicate one's lack of faith.

As I grow older and mature in my relationship with Christ, I find myself coming into a much greater understanding of what the Gospel really means. I've found that my prayers have shifted from asking God to change my circumstances to prayers to change me in the midst of my circumstances. Although it is natural for us to want to be "prosperous," I find that it is during these times of comfort and ease that I'm most tempted to rely on myself and my own efforts. It is in the times of need and brokenness that I turn to my heavenly Father.

For those that are strong proponents of the Prosperity Gospel, I have to ask, "Is Jesus enough?" Can you still thank and praise Him in the midst of sickness and poverty as well as in health and wealth? As the Apostle Paul said in Philippians, "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

The Internet Monk posted on this topic a number of months ago and I think his post is worth a read.

You can also check out the video of John Piper below with some strong words on this topic. Piper does a great job of exalting Christ as being all-sufficient to meet all of our needs.

If the video player doesn't show up, click here.

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