Taking Prosperity Theology Down One Verse at a Time

Are you sick an tired of seeing Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen and their ilk? Are you tired of having your Christian freinds foist their books on you? We'll you may not ever be able to get your freinds to stop watching T.D. Jakes but you can get them to stop bothering you about the one armed bandit in the sky that is their God. The answer is elegant in it's simplicity the bible. Unless specified my quotes are from the NRSV See ya after the Jump Simulcast at StreetProphets, Waiting for Vizzini, and DailyKos

I had a long exchange with a co-worker about the book he had by Paul Yongi David Cho, a Word of Faith heretic. Anyway, I provided him with alot of what you see below. I thought it might be helpful when you get in conversations with your freinds.

Acts 4:32-35
32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Timothy 6:3-15, 17 18
3Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, 4is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, 5and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. * 6Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that * we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

The Good Fight of Faith
11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made * the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords

17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share

Mark 10:17-25

The Rich Man
17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 18Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: "You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother." ' 20He said to him, 'Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.' 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, 'You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money * to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!' 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, 'Children, how hard it is * to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.'

Here I am debunking some common cherry picked prosperity verses

2 Corinthians 8:9 (King James Version)
9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Here you might want to read the whole passage. Paul is encouraging his flock to be generous to the poor

13-15... it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,'The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.'

3 John 1:2 (King James Version)
2Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Here John is doing a letter intro. e.g. I hope you are doing well. Its a well wish and a compliment nothing more.

Ecclesiastes 5:19 (New King James Version)
19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God.

From the same passage:
10 The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.

11 When goods increase, those who eat them increase; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

12 Sweet is the sleep of labourers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.

Psalm 35:27 (New King James Version)
27 Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
"Let the LORD be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."

Here's a better translation NRSV

27Let those who desire my vindication
shout for joy and be glad,
and say evermore,
'Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant.'
28Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all day long.

emphasis mine

Deuteronomy 8:18 (New International Version)
18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

again it is instructive to read the entire passage

2Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. 3He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. * 4The clothes on your back did not wear out and your feet did not swell these forty years. 5Know then in your heart that as a parent disciplines a child so the Lord your God disciplines you. 6Therefore keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him.

emphasis mine

I summed up my argument with him this way.


The thing is your words seem to suggest a sense of entitlement that
somehow you were promised or owed something above your basic material
needs by God due to your belief or good intentions but this is not so.
You say I'm making a connection but you are mistaken it is the
scriptures that are doing that. Bottom line is is that every
scripture I can find says that accumlation of wealth is a spiritual
problem to be dealt with not a sign of gods favor per say. Look at all
the evil rich folks the Ken Lay's,The Burnie Ebbers, the false
prophets the Cho's, Joel Osteens, Creflo Dollars, Kenneth Copelands,
and Joyce Meyer's of this world God has stored up judgement and wrath
for them here

2nd Peter 2 1-3

1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be
false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive
opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing
swift destruction on themselves. 2Even so, many will follow their
licentious ways, and because of these teachers* the way of truth will
be maligned. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive
words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not
been idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Malachai 3:5

5 Then I will draw near to you for judgement; I will be swift to bear
witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those
who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in
their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside
the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

or James 5 1-6 if you prefer

Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are
coming to you. 2Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are
moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be
evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have
laid up treasure* for the last days. 4Listen! The wages of the
labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry
out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord
of hosts. 5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you
have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned
and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

To your question I'm not sure what my thithing has to do with how much
money I make. I don't titthe for reward but rather to give to a cause
I belive in. Same as giving to the Dems but more reverent lol. I'm
still waiting on you to answer my question about Mr Cho. Cho is
promoting heresy and the occult wrapped in the guise of Christianity.
He's giving you false hope and putting you in danger. I encourage you
as your Christian Brother to ditch that book you are reading and
instead pick up Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship or
Henri J. M. Nouwen's Making All Things New. I'm sure those will feed
you much better. I'll loan you the latter. Consider Matt 6:31-33 This
is the only material promise we have from god be satisfied with it or
be ever dissapointed. It's your choice.

31Therefore do not worry, saying, "What will we eat?" or "What will we
drink?" or "What will we wear?" ... and indeed your heavenly Father
knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the
kingdom of God* and his* righteousness, and all these things will be
given to you as well.

You might also find comfort in

Psalm 73
A Psalm of Asaph.
1Truly God is good to the upright,*
to those who are pure in heart.
2But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
my steps had nearly slipped.
3For I was envious of the arrogant;
I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4For they have no pain;
their bodies are sound and sleek.
5They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not plagued like other people.
6Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them like a garment.
7Their eyes swell out with fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues range over the earth.

10Therefore the people turn and praise them,*
and find no fault in them.*
11And they say, ‘How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?’
12Such are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13All in vain I have kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14For all day long I have been plagued,
and am punished every morning.

15If I had said, ‘I will talk on in this way’,
I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
16But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I perceived their end.
18Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20They are* like a dream when one awakes;
on awaking you despise their phantoms.

21When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22I was stupid and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast towards you.
23Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24You guide me with your counsel,
and afterwards you will receive me with honour.*
25Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
26My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength* of my heart and my portion for ever.

27Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
you put an end to those who are false to you.
28But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
to tell of all your works.

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