Jesus Promises Persecution Not Prosperity

Jesus Promises Persecution Not Prosperity February 28, 2019

Three Reasons the Prosperity Gospel isn’t the Same Gospel Jesus Taught…

Joel Osteen Prosperity Gospel

One.

It’s wrong because, it’s not at all Christianity.

Christianity is not about the avoidance of hell; neither is Christianity about gaining entry into heaven. And, in similar fashion, neither is Christianity about gaining some form of earthly prosperity. In fact, doesn’t Jesus say something about how much easier it is for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for the rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?

In a world of relationships governed by conditions we”re trained to believe that love is always dependent upon our behaviors. This isn’t Christianity and neither would it be anything close to what the Gospel is. In fact, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton (Notre Dame professor of religious studies) label this as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” in their book Soul Searching.

Two.

It’s wrong because it’s emotionally abusive.

In my opinion, pastors have no right to put words in place of Jesus’ – it’s not just sociopathic but it’s narcissistically arrogant. If and/or when God doesn’t come through, as these pastors promised God would, they’re then leading these vulnerable people into believing something must be wrong with them.

Did they not pray hard enough?

Does God not love or see them?

Is it too late?

Are there sins irreconcilable?

Maybe they committed the unknown unpardonable sin…

This is something I will say that I agree with John Piper on (as I’m always trying to find positive similarities between myself and “opposing” fam), in that, the prosperity “Gospel” is a twisted form of Christianity preached, mostly to vulnerable communities that are, many times, living in abject poverty.

Three.

It’s wrong because Jesus promises persecution not prosperity…

The Gospel is not “God will love you if…” The Gospel is “God loves you. Period.” Jesus didn’t say to Zacheous “if you want my attention then first do these things…” Sure, Jesus told the woman at the well to “Go and sin no more…” but what Jesus didn’t say was “if you do ever sin again, I won’t love you.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg… as we see through the four canonical Gospels Jesus actually promising the opposite of the prosperity gospel; for instance, Matthew 10, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves… You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.

In Luke 14 Jesus disperses of a large crowd following Him by breaking down the actual Cost of Discipleship echoing similar sentiments as He lent to the apostles saying that “27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Looking at the lives of the apostles they were flogged, beaten, imprisoned and murdered as a direct result of following Jesus.

The “gospel” according to “prosperity”  would say that the apostle Paul must’ve not been praying hard enough when imprisoned (Philippians 4:10-13); or, that Jesus was somehow wrong when saying that John the Baptist was the greatest man to have ever lived (Matthew 11:11a)…

As we know today, John the Baptist said more than a prayer in prison but yet, John literally sent Jesus a messenger (for a more literal form of salvation) and, Jesus’ response back to John was:

… “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers[a] are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

– Jesus, Matthew 11:4-6

John the Baptist was beheaded…

Must’ve not been praying hard enough.

Conclusion:

Usually, the prosperity gospel is the result of lackadaisical pastoring, or unabashedly taking advantage of the emotionally vulnerable – i.e. their churches are bankrolled by manipulating the poor into giving them money.

What’s most disgusting about this form of the gospel are the pastors who benefit off of it at the cost of misleading and lying to their impoverished congregants; because this is not at all the Gospel.


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[1] Photo of Joel Osteen is a screenshot from “Lakewood Church, a megachurch in Houston, Texas on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. 2011 Robert Seale; Robert Seale Photography”
[2] ChurchLeaders.com, Psychological Effects of Prosperity Gospel
[3] Full research study
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