John Piper on the prosperity gospel
I saw this on Bryan Davidson’s blog,
So…. haven’t you heard? God wants you to have that promotion! If you give money, God will give you a nicer car! God doesn’t want you to be poor. I see financial success for you in the coming days…
Sound familiar? It’s the “Health & Wealth” doctrine. Giant slogans, catchy lines, and a message built around telling you that if you just join God, if you will start giving in the offering plate, if you will only have more faith, then all of God’s material blessings will rain down upon you. It’s a gospel built around self, and like any good, destructive doctrine, it has some truth in it. It’s just a little off.
Why did the apostles go around destitute and persecuted? If God wants me to be prosperous and have success, then why didn’t Peter, James, Paul, and all those guys who were much more spiritual than I?? After all, I never wrote part of the Bible….
What about giving our life away as Jesus did? Doesn’t it strike you as a bit odd that…
1. The letters from Paul, Peter, John, and even Jesus to the early churches (found in the New Testament) never talked about living our best life now, or living abundantly in regards to material things, and worldly positions? Paul wrote he had learned the secret to being content in any state. Some would teach Paul must not have had enough faith when he was “in need.”
2. Jesus promised the disciples they would be persecuted, but didn’t speak of having everything given to them so they could relax in safety and prosperity? In fact, he promised quite the opposite of what we promise today.
3. Health and Wealth doctine is so popular… IN THE RICHEST NATION IN THE WORLD? Easy to say here isn’t it? Easy to say from multi-million dollar sanctuaries.
Let’s just call it for what it is: The health and wealth doctrine is idolatry masquerading as Christianity. It is an appeal to portray Christianity as a safe place, where all your needs will be provided for, where comforts will be had, and where God will protect you.
In other words, it really appeals to the feminine side of us, and our desire for safety and protection and provision.
And it’s just not true.
Christianity is dangerous to belong to. There aren’t any guarantees that nothing will ever happen, but there ARE calls to risk everything. Jesus called us to risk our lives by going anywhere he leads us, even to places that are unsafe or even downright hostile. Jesus called us to be willing to sacrifice everything. He who loses his life for my sake will find it, he said. He told us to give without expecting anything back, to help those who are in need with no regard for ourselves, to go on spiritual rescue missions in the deepest, blackest corners of our world.
He said it wouldn’t be easy.
His followers often found themselves with nothing to eat, let alone a promotion.
They braved threats, gave their lives, and more…
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. -Hebrews 11:37-38
I fear too many of us in Christianity have become the church at Laodicea (in Revelation 3) with video projectors.
Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— Revelation 3:17
My apologies to video projectors everywhere.
Click on the video if you dare. It’s really powerful stuff. And consider: What has God really called me to do?