Prosperity Theology-Is it Biblical?

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Prosperity Theology-Is it Biblical?

Сообщение Belcantante » Пн ноя 21, 2011 6:47 pm

(Перевод нижеследующей статьи на русский язык находится здесь)

Is material wealth a sign of God's approval? You might reach that conclusion from religious broadcasts that promote what is called 'prosperity theology' or a 'health and wealth gospel'. The basic premise is that you give in order to get.
What makes this line of reasoning dangerous is that it holds a kernel of truth. God promised Israel, for instance, that He would reward them for faithful giving. "Honour the Lord with your substance and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so shall your barns be filled with plenty and your presses shall burst out with new wine." Prov. 3:9,10

Support for this premise also calls on the record of the patriarchs of Israel, of Solomon and of Job as men who were richly blessed materially because of God's approval.

But Bible students would quickly recognize that this is not the complete picture. Israel was warned against the dangers of wealth-particularly that in prosperity they might forget God. (Deut. 8:7-18). Furthermore, David noted that often the opposite principle seemed to be in play, "I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourish like a green tree in its native soil."( Psalm 37: 35). Again, David observed, "I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked--This is what the wicked are like-always carefree, they increase in wealth" (Psalm 73: 3,12)

Is material wealth and prosperity a sign of Divine approval? If indeed this was the case then the Lord Jesus Christ who had no where to lay his head and the Apostle Paul who faced adversity at every turn would be black listed and the likes of Annas and Caiaphais would make the A list. Those who would encourage you to 'live like a King's kid' thinking Jesus lived a life of splendor should read their Bibles!

Certainly many thought that there was a direct cause and effect relationship between righteousness and prosperity on the one hand and sin and adversity on the other. This was the thinking of Job's three friends who believed that the misfortune that befell Job was the result of hidden sin. But they were ultimately to learn that the sin was theirs and it was Job who was accounted righteous in God's eyes.

Our Heavenly Father causes the 'sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. His goodness is extended to all. Oft times instead of prosperity arising because of faithfulness, the opposite occurs. Paul warned Timothy, 'Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted' (2 Tim. 3:12). This is certainly the experience of believers in some parts of the world today. Like many in the early ecclesias Paul was neither healthy nor wealthy. In fact, the physical ailment-- this 'thorn in his flesh'--was given to him so that he might realize that God's grace is made perfect in weakness. The Judge of all the earth will do right, but in His time, not ours.

The central flaw with the health and wealth gospel is that it is centered on us not God. The Almighty is not at our beck and call like some genie in a bottle. Those who advocate that we 'name it and claim it' have in essence made God into a servant to do our bidding. When we attempt to manipulate God to provide us with a richer lifestyle or more comfort, we may be asking Him to remove the very things he has put into our lives to make us more Christ-like!

The health and wealth gospel mindset reduces God to an automaton that is programmed to give us what we want. If we had no needs, God would probably just disappear. Rather than striving for greater affluence under the guise of 'faith', we need to realize the things that are of true value. The Apostle Paul likened the success of his previous life as a Pharisee to excrement compared to his new life in Christ. "Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish (dung), that I may gain Christ." Phil. 3:7-8

Alan Ghent
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