Some Christians call it “Health and Wealthy Heresy”, or “the Prosperity Gospel”, or any one of their many creative epithets! Yet, let me be crystal clear, I have been in ministry for over 40 years, and over that time, I have neither heard nor read even ‘ONE’ argument against prosperity that is either:
2.Logical or rational
Here we go! One of the statements I so often hear is, “Prosperity is unbiblical”! I really find this statement intriguing, especially considering the great number of times the word “prosperity” appears in the Bible! For example, I use Logos Bible software to study the Bible. A simple search in Logos using the word “prosperity”, in 10 Bible versions, yields a result of 315 verses; while using the word “prosper”, yields 396 verses. Now this does not mean all these verses refer to money, but many do! My point is that the Bible is full of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, as it relates to money!
What is absolutely amazing to me, is that so many of these pastors who disagree with prosperity, will teach stewardship in their churches; yet, anyone who applies stewardship to their financial life…will prosper!! I have literally found so many areas of hypocrisy like this in the anti-prosperity positions that is it stunning how we read the same Bible!!
There are so many places to begin –either with or without the Bible*--and I’m not sure of a best place, so let me just go for it! If this is not your perfect beginning place, bear with me!
In their book, “Millionaire Next Door” in 1996, Drs Thomas Stanley and William Danko make some incredible truth statements:
1.“Wealth is not the same as income. If you make a good income each year and spend all of it, you are not getting wealthier. You are just living high. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.”
2.“Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning, and most of all, self-discipline”
3.“Eighty percent of America’s millionaires are first generational rich.”
Let’s examine these statements in the light of the “anti-prosperity” Christians:
1.Their definition of wealth is brilliant! Drs Stanley and Danko do not fight over whether it is God’s will for wealth—they assume it! This quote unequivocally declares if you make an income, and spend it all, you are not getting wealthier. The fundamental assumptions driving these facts are: it is good to make an income; it is good not to spend all your income; it is good to save and invest the income you don’t spend. And best of all, if you do this, you will become wealthy or wealthier! In other words, you will prosper, i.e. have prosperity, i.e.have more money! I repeat, this is prosperity!
In Psalms 112:3, Bible declares of the man who:
1.Fears the Lord
2.Delights in His (God’s) commandments
“Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.”
Psalms 112:3 assumes wealth and riches are good, because this verse reveals how God has chosen to bless, i.e.reward, those who: 1.fear the Lord; 2.Delight in His commandments!! How any honest person cannot see financial prosperity in this verse—is simply beyond my comprehension!
2.Drs Stanley and Danko’s second quote declares the means to wealth…the road to wealth…the way to wealth! In other words, if we were to ask these two authors with Doctorate degrees, “how do I get wealthy?” Or, “How do I get rich?” Their answer would be: “hard work, perseverance, planning, and most of all, self-discipline”!!
Please note what they would not say, “You are being carnal!” “It is not God’s will for Christians to have wealth, riches or money!” “That prosperity gospel is ungodly!” “Why do you attend a church that preaches Christians should be wealthy?”
Furthermore, note the way to wealth Drs Stanley and Danko recommend is character or virtue! I repeat, the way is: i.hard work; ii.perservance; iii.planning; and iv.self-discipline. Can any honest Christian say these virtues are wrong, evil, ungodly, or carnal? On the contrary, character traits originate in God Himself, Who alone possesses them, and gave them to mankind!!
3.The third quote goes back to the very foundation of Biblical prosperity as revealed in Genesis 1:28, The ‘Be Fruitful’ principle. Fruitfulness is productivity. When God created mankind, He designed him for productivity; and then gave man the command to “be productive”. Productivity is the foundation for ‘ALL’ financial prosperity! If you produce you will prosper; if you do not, you will not.
In conclusion, if you disagree with the idea of financial prosperity—you must disagree with all three quotes of Drs Stanley and Danko!!!!
On the contrary, rejoice and be glad, for God wants to prosper YOU!
*Theologically, using the Bible is called ‘Special Revelation’. Using the creation is called ‘General Revelation’. Because God gave both ‘Revelations’, one can find God’s will and power in both.
“People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but they’re unwilling to improve themselves; therefore, they remain bound.” -James Allen