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Prince of the Poor vs Preachers of Prosperity


One of the fascinating and thriving teachings in the contemporary Christendom, towards which multitudes are drawn, is “prosperity.” Never before in the history of the church has there been a greater emphasis on this topic as it is in the present age. There are many prosperity preachers emerging in our time, most of them found on television. Regretfully, many are excitingly receiving this teaching without careful examination.

Preachers of Prosperity
Basically, there are two piteous elements found in prosperity teaching:

a) One of the famous clichés of prosperity is this – sow a seed (money). Prosperity teachers motivate people to sow a seed (money), thereby reaping a great harvest (material blessings) from the Lord. Even if someone doesn’t have sufficient money or living in debts, they can still sow a seed of faith (whatever little money they have) and reap abundant financial prosperity. Obviously, there is an immense emphasis on giving in their teachings.

Of course, the Holy Bible too teaches a lot about generous giving. But what do the promoters of prosperity teach about where to give money? The focus is on giving to them. When they teach on sowing your offering, the prime focus is to draw your attention toward themselves. They generally link financial prosperity to giving to their ministries. The multiplication of finances is dependent upon your pledge to bless them with your offerings. And to convince people, they widely quote the Holy Scriptures, often distorting its intended meaning.

Now, I am not trying to say that it is wrong to present ministry needs with a genuine heart and let people to think and pray about giving cheerfully. However, to pressurize people through constant fund-raising appeals, giving utmost focus in messages on financial giving by people (in order to receive generously), and to teach people’s prosperity being dependent on their financial pledge to our ministries—this is something which reflects self-centered ministry, not God-centered service.

b) Another element of prosperity teaching is promising earthly riches. Its proponents claim that God wants every believer to become rich (but this is connected to your giving to them). According to them, whosoever is not living a wealthy life is out of God’s intended will for them. They assert in their teachings that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the “sowing of seeds” through the loyal payments of tithes and offerings.

Prince of the Poor
Well, let us compare the teachings of prosperity preachers with what our Price of the poor, Lord Jesus Christ, taught and emphasized:

a) If there is any topic that Jesus Christ discussed a lot in the gospels – it is on money. It is said that it was his second most addressed topic, second only to the Kingdom of God/heaven. But when it came to giving, where did He emphasize to give? When the rich young man confidently said he had been obeying the commandments of God from his boyhood, what did Jesus tell him? Did He not say to him, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…then come and follow me?” (Mk. 10:21) Did He exhort, “Go, sell what you have and give that money to me; sow in my ministry.”

Furthermore, when teaching about storing eternal riches, He told His disciples, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (Lu. 12:33). What about the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lu. 10:25-37), not to mention the division of the Sheep and Goats (Matt. 25:31-46)? In these parables, did not Jesus teach about the necessity to help the needy?

Unlike the preachers of prosperity, Jesus Christ was the Prince of poor. Although He taught on generous giving, the focus of giving was directed towards helping the needy. He did not live a prosperous and luxurious life by extracting money from people in the name of 'sow and reap'. He did not attempt to thrive on the offerings of His followers. He lived for the best of others, offering Himself as a servant of all. O, how I wish today’s prosperity teachers to reflect on this aspect of Christ-likeness!

b) Secondly, Jesus did teach on gaining treasure, but He promised heavenly treasure for all who are generous. To the rich young man, Jesus said, “"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mr. 10:21). Again, He said to the disciples, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (Lu. 12:33). Jesus guaranteed eternal treasure, not earthly prosperity for all. He did not teach “sow and reap” as a means for gaining more and more material prosperity on earth.

True, I believe, without any doubt, God abundantly prospers certain people materially in order to be a blessing to others. There is no denying of the fact that the Lord will provide all of our needs (not wants) according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. I admit fully that we are required to pray to our Heavenly Father for our daily bread (essential needs of life). I even declare strongly that God desires everyone to prosper spiritually so that we would be conformed to the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. But when it is said that material prosperity is God's will and purpose for everyone and that financial prosperity is dependent on giving to these prosperity teachers, I assert that it violates the sacred teachings of the Holy Scripture.

As we are living in these last days, we are warned from the Scriptures that there will be enormous teachings that are false and unsound (2Tim. 4:3-4; 1Tim.4:1-2). We are strongly exhorted to test everything (1Thes.5:21) and should not be quick to believe anything (Pro. 14:15).

Therefore, I encourage the believers to follow the teachings of today’s preachers with a discerning heart, just like the Bereans who “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). If the teachings of Paul were examined and the Bereans were commended for doing so, how much wise we need to be and scrutinize the teachings of numerous modern day preachers and teachers, who are unlike the Prince of poor!

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Comments

  1. Thank your message about prosperity teaching. Today poeple are following these preachers rather than Jesus Christ. They are selling Jesus for money. Today Christians don't want to hear the sound doctrines of the Bible but like to hear about blessings of prosperity. We need to pray for these preachers who are misleading people .We need to teach believers the sound doctrines of the Bible.

    Dr.Akbar
    India Outreach Missions
    Nagpur.

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  2. I was watching TBN with my grandmother who whole heartly put her faith in the TV evangalists. We had a little debate about the preachers cause all day they talked about sowing a seed and reaping a plentiful harvest and it seemed the more you give the more you get. To me I told her " it seemed as a hustle" but she made me feel as if the devil were using me cause what i was saying to her wasn't right but I know in my heart what their really doing and this helps to confirm my conviction. The funny thing though is when she told me about one of the pastors having 3 airplanes now what do you need with three airplanes???????

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