We sometimes get too complex when we attempt to explain why a certain popular doctrine in the church today is not biblical. We pour over the verses that apply and look for each particular instance where Jesus or one of the disciples spoke about the issue. We lay them out in list form to attempt to prove our case definitively and throw out Bible verses at others until we are blue in the face. While the Word is wonderful and specific verses are always worthwhile, sometimes the issue involved is just so much simpler to understand if we look at the pictures that God gives us in the Bible. While it is helpful to understand that Paul wrote that he has learned to be content in all things, a broader and perhaps simpler statement of the same truth in the Bible expressed by looking at the life of Jesus or of Paul can at times be more helpful in tearing down strongholds of false doctrine.
This is the case when debating the always flourishing doctrine we commonly refer to as the Prosperity Gospel. This teaching suggests that Jesus wants His followers not only to be spiritually rich, but also materially rich on earth. Yes, there are numerous verses that directly contradict this teaching and they can be very effective in responding. But if we zoom back a bit and just look at the lives of the great New Testament men of faith in the Bible, we can see a bigger picture and pattern that should make the preachers of the prospeity gospel blush and then seek repentance at Jesus’ feet. Any honest look at the life of Jesus and the lives of the great saints of the Bible should lead to the conclusion that money has nothing to do with faith in Jesus and God’s blessing on us as believers in Christ.
Our example in this world in how we live and act is Jesus. You can not find a more blessed or righteous a person in all of history. His faith was perfect in all aspects and His relationship with His Father, immaculate. Yet, He was born poor, lived poor and died without a fancy home, fancy car and with meager possessions. His faith is unmatched in all of history, no one knows He is God and the goodness of God better than Jesus, and yet Jesus ended up with nothing material in this world. His Kingdom was not of this World was His explanation to Pontius Pilate why this was so.
Well, Jesus was different you say, we are just people and once He rose from the dead things change. The fancy preachers with helicopters and private jes cite verses I tell you, verses!
Paul the Apostle possibly had riches and power after all. He was possibly a member of the Sanhedrin and had great schooling and great position. Yes, Paul had position and power and was a real up and comer in society until, of course, he met Jesus and everything changed. After becoming a Christian, Paul has very little, is regularly beaten, put in prison and generally is poor and persecuted for the remainder of his life…which ends with him executed for his faith in the Risen Jesus. Read 2 Corinthians 11 for Paul’s list of material prosperity, shipwrecked, beaten, flogged, stoned, lost at sea. Fancy prosperity gospel preacher are you ready for a life of great faith?. Paul is one of the greatest men in Christian history, yet materially he had nothing. Is Paul’s faith somehow defective that it does not result in him driving a Bentley? Is Paul doing it wrong?
Paul is stoned, Peter ends up crucified, John the Beloved Disciple is boiled in oil and exiled where he likely was forced to work in terrible conditions in a mine, the list of terrible deaths and rough lives of great men of God goes on and on. If you read your Bible this should present a great discordance. The men who are presented by God as an example for all believers through the work of the Holy Spirit lived lives of want and persecution. The prosperity gospel teaches that you will have a fancy house and want for nothing if you just have enough faith.ou can only believe one as they are contradictory. So which one?
Peter and Paul gave everything they had so that people could be saved and asked nothing in return. When their lives compared to the preaches with helicopters and private jets preaching a gospel of only prosperity, who honestly should you trust more? I honestly take solace from the fact that Jesus loves me greatly whether I am doing well at my tent making job or whether I just lost a big client.
Jesus gave up everything so that we could be saved. Our King did not die hung from a Cross just so we could have a fancy car.