“The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising.”
With that one quote, Leonard Ravenhill perfectly captures the dilemma facing the Church today.
We’ve lost it.
We’ve traded in our heavenly treasure for earthly trash, and we’ve been paying for it ever since. Pastors have become swindlers. Prophets have become fortune tellers. Bishops have become bartenders. Our pulpits have traded in the glorious Gospel of our Blessed God for pyramid schemes meant to keep the leadership’s pockets lined with the same cash that will be used as tender on the Day of the Lord.
I realize that may sound jarring to you, but it’s just true. Not since the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church has the Body of Christ been so ravaged by the desire for worldly gain.
Why is this such a problem? Well, let’s take a look at some reasons…
Firstly, the entire foundation on which the so called “Prosperity Gospel” stands is completely separated from Biblical truth.
Think about it.
Isn’t it a little bit hard to believe that the same Jesus who told the rich young man to sell all his belongings and give the money to poor now wants His followers spending lavish amounts on themselves? Am I the only one having trouble with this? (Matthew 19:21)
How about the treasure hidden in a field that caused a man to sell everything he owned in order to buy that field? (Matthew 13:44)
Who could forget the merchant that sold all he had in order to purchase the pearl of great value? (Matthew 13:45)
Now, some of you are surely thinking, “But Jesus is talking about the love of money. The money itself isn’t the problem, we can have as much as we’d like as long as we don’t love it!” Indeed, Jesus is talking about the love of money. However, if you don’t love money, why would you keep it all for yourself? Why not give all your money away if you don’t love it? After all, John Wesley made a lot of money for his time, yet gave most of it away.
There are countless verses found in God’s Word concerning the relationship between Christians and money; nearly all of them speak negatively of it’s impact on our lives.
Paul hammered the proverbial nail in the prosperity coffin when he wrote to Timothy:
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:9-11)
It’s Not the Gospel
It’s called the “Prosperity Gospel” for a reason.
We know from scripture that there is no other gospel we should be following other than the one proclaimed by Christ and His apostles.
In fact, in his letter to the Galatians, Paul was quick to point out that there is in fact no other gospel. Period. (Galatians 1:6-9)
Jesus said that we cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
Turn on your television and watch TBN. Chances are, there is a Praise-a-thon asking for people to give them money. If it’s not a Praise-a-thon, it’s probably a false teacher telling you how to get money by giving him or her money (I’m looking at you Joyce Meyer and Gloria Copeland).
There is very little, if any, emphasis given to Christ’s saving work on the cross. If anything, you may hear that Christ died to make you rich. All of the scripture used in defense of this idea is taken completely out of context in order to suit the message of these prosperity peddlers.
Beloved, do yourselves a favor and turn off the televisions. Stop paying exuberant amounts to head to one of Benny Hinn’s (Fake) Healing Crusades.
Instead, open up your Bibles. Test and examine the things you hear in light of God’s Word. I think you will quickly find that these false prosperity teachers fail to meet the standard.