I’ve been following a series of posts at DesiringGod.org (John Piper’s website) around prosperity preaching. Basically, they’re a set of posts appealing to prosperity preachers.
Prosperity preaching, for those that don’t know, can probably be summarised as preaching that encourages Christians to trust God to make them prosper. That sounds ok, but much of the preaching stops there, and that’s the problem. It’s not about telling people that they can know God, have eternal life in Jesus, be saved completely from sin and death etc., but it only ever talks about how God will make us rich.
Wikipedia probably puts it better — ‘[it is] 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.”‘
I see it as a very legalistic teaching, to be honest. It’s all about doing the right things and having the right faith to see God bless you. That’s not a relationship, that’s just formula and legalism.
At any rate, here are some quotes from Piper’s post in the series today that encouraged me:
My biggest concern about the effects of the prosperity movement is that it diminishes Christ by making him less central and less satisfying than his gifts. Christ is not magnified most by being the giver of wealth. He is magnified most by satisfying the soul of those who sacrifice to love others in the ministry of the gospel.
I do not want prosperity preachers to stop calling people to maximum joy. On the contrary, I appeal to them to stop encouraging people to seek their joy in material things. The joy Christ offers is so great and so durable that it enables us to lose prosperity and still rejoice. “You joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Hebrews 10:34). The grace to be joyful in the loss of prosperity—that is the miracle prosperity preachers should seek. That would be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That would magnify Christ as supremely valuable.
Ryan Peter is a writer, journalist and ghostwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. He writes fantasy, sci-fi, inspirational fiction, and on faith. Ryan is also part of the New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) translocal team.