Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church/
The Prosperity and Word of Faith Doctrines


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Chapter III -The Overlooked (Ignored?) Verses

Carol Brooks

    Index To All Chapters


    The Never Mentioned Verses
    Here is something I find really typical of the times but sad nonetheless. I have read what numerous people - both for and against the Prosperity Doctrine have to say. The defense of the doctrine almost always revolves around one or more of the following,

      They make their own money from the sale of books etc. and are entitled to spend it as they wish.

      their church does a lot of good work - Look how many people they help materially, and how many have been baptized or helped spiritually.

      They need security and privacy

    In other words, it all about what the defender believes is right and wrong. What is never ever mentioned is what God Himself has to say on the subject.

    Prosperity doctrine teachers only use those texts that they imagine will "prove" their position. And, quite obviously, their defenders never quote any of the Scriptural passages that clearly state that it is not necessarily God's will for us to prosper in this life, that the Bible repeatedly warns against focusing on the material things of this world, and that it clearly warns church leaders against being lovers of money or using godliness as a means to financial gain.

    In the New Testament, the covetous man is linked with idolaters and others entirely excluded from the kingdom of God. in the New Testament. Paul even warns the Corinthians not to keep company, or even eat with a brother who is covetous.

      But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. (1 Corinthians 5:11 NASB)

      For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5 NASB)

    Biblical Verses That Contradict The General Principles Behind The Prosperity Doctrine
    Not only do the specific Bible verses most used by the Prosperity Doctrine teachers not prove what they teach, but there are verses that disprove the general principles behind this belief. For example,

    The Prosperity Doctrine Teaches That It Is God's Will For You To Prosper. The Bible Does Not Agree

      And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:23-24 NASB)

      "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (Luke 6:21 NASB)

      "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. "Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. (Luke 6:24-25 NASB)

      Speaking to the money loving Pharisees, Jesus said "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? "And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Luke 16:11-13 NASB)

      But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 NASB)

      But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. (James 1:9-11 NASB)

      Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5 NASB)

      Paul wrote that it is "men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain." (1 Timothy 6:3-5 NASB)

      'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, (Revelation 3:17 NASB)

    Note: Jesus teaching in Matthew 19:23-24 (the first quote above) was triggered by the incident of the rich young man (Luke calls him a ruler) who came to Jesus and said he had followed all of the commandments from his youth. However, he seemed to want to take no chances and wanted to know what the one thing was that he could do that, so to speak, would take him over the edge and guarantee him eternal life. Jesus' instruction to sell all and follow Him revealed that although this young man claimed to desire the key to eternal life, he actually wanted the best of both worlds. "But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property" (Matthew 19:22 NASB) In the final analysis, his earthly possessions and lifestyle meant more than anything else to him. (One has to wonder what our wealthy evangelists would do if told the same thing by our Lord.).

    Jesus closed His teachings (verse 30) by saying - many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. The context tells us that the message has to do with who is or is not rewarded in the world to come. In other words.. the rich and famous in this world may not be the rich and famous in the next.. especially since Jesus was very clear that His followers had to deny themselves and daily take up their crosses, adding that those that did not do so were not worthy of Him.

    They Teach That You Will Be Rewarded Now .. In This Life. The Bible Begs To Differ

      'They will fling their silver into the streets and their gold will become an abhorrent thing; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They cannot satisfy their appetite nor can they fill their stomachs, for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling. (Ezekiel 7:19 NASB)

      "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done." (Matthew 16:27)

      And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first. (Matthew 19:28-30 NASB)

      But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 14:13-14)

      Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! (James 5:1-3 NASB)

    The Warnings

    If It Is God's Will For You To Prosper, Why Does The Bible Repeatedly Warn Against Focusing On The Material Things Of This World?

    1 Timothy 6:10 say it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Referring to this verse, prosperity teachers have been known to pretendithat there is no kinship between desiring money and loving money. But, as usual, the preceding verse has been glossed over.

      But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9 NASB)

    The author of the book of Hebrews himself correlates love of money with wanting more than you already have.

      Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will i ever forsake you," (Hebrews 13:5 NASB)

    So, according to the proponents of the prosperity doctrine, God's wants me to prosper materially in this lifetime. In order to do so I have to see myself "rising to new levels". I have to take the time to learn the techniques that will cause God to 'increase me financially'. I have to see my dreams coming to pass. In other words I have to have the desire to obtain more than I have now.

    So why then does God warn that this desire is likely to plunge me into ruin and destruction - that the "the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things" can choke out the Word of God? (Mark 4:18-19).

    And so it does.

    Note how when most prosperity teachers ascend their stages, there is a distinct lack of preaching on the Bible's Raison d'Ítre. Although these are the threads around which the entire fabric of the Bible is woven - the subjects that under-gird every one of the sixty-six books of the Bible - nothing, but nothing is said about Sin, the Wrath of God, Repentance and Salvation and Holiness.

    Week in and week out,  most of what you hear is how to achieve your own financial breakthrough and good health. The only Biblical passages quoted will be the ones that they claim support their doctrine. The entire service is centered around motivating the congregation to give financially so that you can be "blessed".

      A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth And does not know that want will come upon him. (Proverbs 28:22 NASB)

      "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; (Matthew 6:19-20 NASB)

      Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages." (Luke 3:14 NASB)

      Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2 NASB)

      Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, (Colossians 3:5-6 NASB)

      But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10 NASB)

      For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (Philippians 3:18-20 NASB)

      Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will i ever forsake you," (Hebrews 13:5 NASB)

    If It Is God's Will For You To Prosper, Why Does The Bible
    Clearly Warn Church Leaders Against Being Lovers Of Money, Or Using Godliness As A Means To Financial Gain?

      An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. (1 Timothy 3:2-3 NASB)

      Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, (1 Timothy 3:8 NASB)

      For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, (Titus 1:7 NASB)

      shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (1 Peter 5:2 NASB)

    Old Testament Examples
    In fact there are several outstanding Old Testament examples in the of the terrible consequences of greed and covetousness

    In 1 Kings 21 we are told the story of Ahab king of Samaria who so desired some land owned by Naboth that his wife Jezebel conspired to have Naboth killed. His reward? God told Ahab that dogs would lick his blood in the same place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth.

    In Joshua 7, a single act of covetousness on the part of one man Achan who purloined and hidden away that which had been dedicated to God (Joshua 6:19), led to a terrible defeat of the Israeli army at the hands of the men of Ai. Achan's words speak for themselves...

      when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it." (Joshua 7:21 NASB)

    King David coveted Bathsheba, his neighbour's wife which led to her becoming pregnant, David murdering her husband to cover up his sin and finally serious repercussions not only for David's family, but the entire nation of Israel.

    Continue On To Chapter 4 - If Positive Confession Is True... The Scriptures Are Full Of Ignorant People.

    If God wants His followers to be rich and healthy, then it is fair to assume that the giants of the Old Testament and Christ's disciples must have had some idea as to how these blessings were to be obtained. So let's travel back in time and see if we can find some evidence of "Positive Confession" and whether a bedrock principle of the Word-Faith movement is true - do negative statements really result in negative results? HERE


    Return To Chapter 2  - Alleged Scriptural Support