A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted a ten minute video clip of a well known Christian author attacking, what he called, “the prosperity gospel.” This particular author has , I believe, sold hundreds of thousands of books, and I could be wrong, but I doubt that he is struggling to keep a roof over his head. That aside, I cannot understand how someone who is apparently well versed in the scriptures could attack one of the fundamental elements of Jesus’ ministry, by claiming that financial or material prosperity is not God’s will for people’s lives. In fact I believe that one would have to twist, misinterpret or miss out completely large portions of scripture to try and justify the claim that God is not interested in the financial and material well being of His children.
It is important to completely debunk these wrong teachings which have been perpetuated over the years, resulting in many Christians being kept in poverty all their lives, wrongly believing that it was the will of God. The Bible clearly teaches that God wants to bring people out of poverty and into abundance, so that not only will their needs be met, but they will be able to meet the needs of others also.
So lets begin with the first major statement that Jesus makes about His ministry in Luke chapter 4 and verse 18.
“ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
Jesus came with GOOD NEWS, for that is the meaning of the word “gospel,” and the first people he mentioned were THE POOR. Let me save you some time at this point by letting you know that the Greek word translated into English as “poor,” means financially and materially poor. It is used 34 times in the New Testament and overwhelmingly refers to people who are living in material lack, such as beggars and widows. In other words those in dire financial straights.
If that is the case then what would be good news for these people? Well I have heard some utter nonsense preached on this verse over the years. Things such as “poor people are actually being blessed by God by their poverty,” in other words, they are in some kind of spiritually enviable position by being poor. “Wow brother so and so, you are so blessed that you can’t afford to pay your rent and you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. God must really love you” I am sure brother so and so would really thank you for those words of wisdom and comfort(sic).
On the contrary God wants to meet the needs of those in lack, to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked, even to pay the tax bill of the one who cannot afford it (Matthew 17:27)
The GOOD NEWS for the poor is this…God wants to release you from your poverty, plain and simple. Is God interested in your financial needs? Yes He is. Let us stop trying to over spiritualise this simple truth and miss the point. In the days ahead I plan to continue on this theme. As I do so, I hope that a new light will dawn in your life, especially if you have believed a lie concerning God’s ability and desire to provide for your physical needs. I believe in a gospel of prosperity because prosperity is at the heart of the gospel.