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)
Literally…the entire Bible is filled with evidence for prosperity!! Yet, one could persuasively argue that Proverbs leads the way. Proverbs is one of the Bible’s greatest books because its wisdom applies not only to everyday life, but across the Old and New Testaments*.
Some of Proverbs greatest evidence for financial prosperity is its explanation of ‘why’ the poor are poor!** In other words, the wisdom of Proverbs teaches us why or how the poor become poor, for the express purpose of encouraging us to avoid the behavior (or thinking) that creates the poverty! Remember, there is only ‘ONE’ way for the poor to shed poverty: prosperity! No human being has ever been delivered from financial poverty except through financial prosperity! There are no exceptions to this fact!!
On the contrary, if you reject prosperity, you’ve just created catastrophic philosophical, practical, and theological problems! Here are just two:
i.You can never help the poor. Any help to the poor, in any area
(spirit, soul, body, or financially), prospers them!
ii.Because the poor exist, poverty must be God’s will! And because
you cannot help the poor without prospering them, the poor are
forever doomed to their poverty!***
The good news is, contrary to the ‘anti-prosperity’ doctrine is the wonderful wisdom of Proverbs:
1.“He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” (KJV)
“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
Very plainly this verse teaches a reason for poverty: laziness. The ESV does not mince words, using the word “cause”, to inform us that the “slack hand causes poverty.” Interestingly, the word for “causes” (ESV) or “dealeth” (KJV), is the Hebrew word ‘asah’; which is used in Genesis 1:26: “Let us make (asah) man in our image”. So, like God created man, laziness creates poverty!
Therefore, for all who choose to believe, Proverbs 10:4 teaches five very obvious points:
i.a reason for poverty: laziness
ii.do not be lazy
iii.hard work (“diligent hand”) is the foundation for riches
iv.work hard so you will be rich, and not poor
v.it is God’s will to be rich. If the hard worker creates riches, hard
work is obviously God’s way to riches.
According to this divinely inspired text, we are taught that poverty originates in laziness, which means poverty is an evil consequence of choosing an ungodly behavior. Then, in the same verse, we are taught to work hard to attain riches. How can God want us to be poor, and then inspire a text which teaches us how to avoid poverty?!?!
2.“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall
be honoured.” (KJV)
-“ Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is
This passage could not be more clear; a straightforward reading links poverty and shame.
i.The obvious first point is that poverty and shame/disgrace are negative, i.e.bad; i.e.to be rejected; i.e.not God’s will.
ii.Furthermore, to link these two together is irrefutable evidence that poverty is evil. The Bible does not link good and evil together, for example, mercy and shame; or grace and shame; or love and shame. The fact that Proverbs 13:18 links poverty with shame/disgrace is proof that neither are godly!
iii.Finally, this text plainly teaches poverty and shame are negative consequences of a willful choice to reject instruction! Most interestingly, the same Hebrew word for ‘instruction’ is used in Proverbs 1:7, teaching us that “fools” despise it(reject it)!
How can the anti-prosperity proponents explain the fact that the Hebrew word used to call a person a “fool” for rejecting ‘instruction’ in Proverbs 1:7, is the same word used to teach us that those who reject ‘instruction’ in Proverbs 13:18 create poverty for themselves?!?!
There are many other witnesses in Proverbs explaining why people are poor****. Yet, all with one voice scream:
“DON’T DO ‘A CERTAIN THING’ AND YOU WILL NOT BE
“DO ‘A CERTAIN THING’ AND YOU WILL BE RICH(prosper)”
It is not God’s will for any person to be poor! Poverty is a curse (Deut28)! Proverbs teaches us the way out of poverty—prosperity!
I thank God for His incredible tender compassion toward us!! He sends people to help us, if we are poor (Gal2:10; Jms1:27)! And subsequently, He teaches us to profit(Is48:17;Deut8:18)!
*Which refutes one of the anti-prosperity proponents’ greatest claims: “Prosperity applies only to Israel.” If it were true that prosperity applies only to Israel, why should not Proverbs also apply only to Israel? Is not Proverbs part of the Torah…which was given to the Jew/Israel?
**And what’s more, it calls poverty a negative or evil consequence. If poverty is an evil consequence, how can it be God’s will?
***Yet, the Bible declares that God desires to help the poor: Ps34:6; Gal2:10
****a.Explains poverty:Pro10:4,15; Pro13:8,18;Pro14:23; Pro20:13; Pro21:17; Pro23:21; Pro24:34;Pro28:19,22
b.Calls poverty an evil consequence: Pro10:15; Pro11:24; Pro13:7;Pro13:23;Pro14:20; Pro19:4; Pro22:2,7,9,16,22,23;Pro28:6,8,11
"If you would lift me up, you've got to be on higher ground" -unknown