Before I conclude this series of tidbits, I would like to go backwards in history a bit to show that prosperity is not some new-fangled doctrine invented by contemporary “Prosperity Preachers” (whatever that is)! Of course, this should be an obvious truth considering that the Bible literally possesses hundreds of verses dealing with money, prosperity, riches, poverty, the poor, etc!
Let’s move forward! God’s word declares,
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we
through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom15:4).
The text uses the word “aforetime”, which means “former days” (ESV), or “earlier times” NAS; and finally, the Strong’s concordance defines it as “previously”. In other words, what is written historically, we should presently use to learn!
Of course, the primary application of this passage is the Bible. Yet, this passage is not limited to the Bible, because an abundance of historical writings exist which possess value for us today!
Now, I would like to examine quotes by two past famous preachers which confirm Biblical financial prosperity.
1.In 1702, Cotton Mather(1663-1728), New England pastor and author of ‘The Great Works of Christ in America: Magnalia Christi Americana’, wrote: “Religion brought forth Prosperity, and the daughter destroyed the mother.”
2.Theologian John Wesley(1703-1791), creator of the Wesleyan church said, “I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore, I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of true religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches.”
While at first reading, many of my opponents will immediately leap to declare that these quotes condemn prosperity; but that is typical of the mindsets of people who see only through their bias(Lu11:34-36). For example, let’s examine Pastor Mather’s quote. Because anti-prosperity preachers see what the want to see, they immediately jump to the second part of the quote to support their prejudice declaring: “You see…Mather says “the daughter” (who is prosperity) “destroyed the mother” (religion), therefore we should resist the prosperity heresy, so it won’t destroy our faith”. Of course, this is simple-minded thinking!
The beginning of Pastor Mather’s statement: “Religion brought forth prosperity” is the foundation for his point. Without this first phrase, the latter phrase of his sentence is without meaning! First, by using the word “Religion” he refers to Christianity. Second, using the same Bible we presently possess, according to this New England pastor, who preached over 300 years ago, his quote meant to apply the Bible to one’s life, family, or nation creates financial prosperity! I repeat, he derived this theology from the Bible (Ps33:12; Pro14:34; Deut28; Deut30:9;).
Subsequently, Pastor Mather uses creative language (“the daughter destroyed the mother”), which is derived from the Bible’s warning of prosperity found in Deuteronomy 8:11-18. In other words, Pastor Mather’s quote is a statement confirming prosperity, not rejecting it! His quote is creative language to warn against allowing pride to rise-up ‘in prosperity’, causing one to forget God, and use the financial increase outside of God’s purposes!
Second, John Wesley’s quote is even more succinct. Considering only the first sentence, “I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion”, one could use it to reject financial prosperity as Godly. However, to leave the quote in its context, any honest interpreter can see Wesley’s real point. The statement “For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches”, informs us ‘how’ religion produces prosperity: industry (work) and frugality(character or stewardship). In other words, Wesley plainly teaches that anyone who will work hard(Pro14:23), while retaining stewardship(Lu16:1-8)…will become rich!!!!
Therefore, John Wesley joins Cotton Mather confirming Biblical financial prosperity!!! But I repeat, both men of God, simply use their creative prerogative to describe the Deuteronomy 8:11-18 warning, to ensure that those who prosper understand that God prospers mankind to remember His great Name!
Once again, rejoice and be glad! God desires you to prosper, increase, and grow financially! Don’t wait…call on His great name for an idea!
“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth… (Deut8:18)