Bible Verses Prosperity Preachers Wish Didn’t Exist
by Conrad Mbewe
Every so often when discussing the prosperity gospel, I hear proponents say, “But surely God doesn’t want us to be poor, does he?” This is viewed as a trump card, as if there’s no middle ground between obscene wealth and abject poverty.
People who say such things ignore the many Bible passages addressing wealth. They choose to forget the words of the wise man who prays:
Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (Prov. 30:7–9)
They also choose to ignore the many biblical passages warning against the detrimental effects of wealth—and especially love for wealth. You don’t hear prosperity preachers mention such verses. It’s as if their Bibles are missing them.
Jesus on Wealth
Jesus has plenty to say about the dangers of wealth. In the Sermon on the Mount, he teaches:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . . . No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matt. 6:19–24)
In Mark 10:17–25 Jesus deals with a rich young ruler who wants eternal life—so long as he isn’t asked to sacrifice his great wealth. When Jesus tells him to sell all he has and give it to the poor, he’s disheartened. He goes away sorrowful, for he has great possessions.
Jesus goes on to make the unequivocal statement, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” You don’t hear these words from prosperity gospel preachers. Rather, they give the impression that material wealth is the sure sign all is well between your soul and God…
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