As I ate my toasted-sandwich I found myself feeling sick deep down in my stomach, not from the ham and cheese, but rather from the dribble that was spewing out of the mouth of the prosperity preacher on my television screen.
As per usual this peddler of error was speaking on one of the big three topics that wolves like him enjoy sprouting about. This morning was on "Finance, God and You!" And the general gist of the message was this, "If you give God money, He will bless you, He will make your business succeed, and you will be rich." At the promise of wealth the crowd erupted in applause and cheering. This preacher was really playing up to their desire for money. He was dangling their God before them, all they had to do was give the church (under the disguise of giving to God) money and because of that act of faith, because of that seed that is sown, then they will be rich!
The so-called preacher then went on to use an analogy of how God deserves everything, which I must admit I agree with. The Lord Jesus is worthy and deserves everything we have, we should spend and spent in His service. But we should not engage in the worship of Jesus with the mindset of getting something in return. If that is our attitude, then we have degenerated Jesus into nothing more than a high yield, high interest, savings account.
Such concepts are foreign to Christianity.
The TV preacher went on to tell a story about how God gives us everything, but in reality we should pay for it. We should pay God for air, gravity, life, salvation etc. The preacher then continued to say that if we were really serious, then we should give God 90% of all our money and live off the 10%. At that moment as the sounds of works righteousness hung in the air, the money-grubbing preacher then said, "But that is where grace kicks in!" We only have to give God 10%, we only have to pay God 10% for all these things!
As he said that, visions of John Tetzel and the selling of indulgences for salvation ran through my mind. This was a return to the works based salvation system of Roman Catholicism. Give us money and God will save you.
To my horror all those in the congregation began to cheer again, their praises of money rung loud and clear. They had been offered a good deal, if they give 10% to God they get life, salvation and riches. You'd be a fool not to take it. Their open Bibles which laid on their laps said a message that was different to what the wolf was saying, but none in the congregation seemed to care. Give me money!
This error, this demonic lie, sickens me! Why? Because it attacks Jesus on many levels.
1. The prosperity gospel robs God of the Glory. The message that this preacher proclaimed was aimed at man and not God, it was all about man being central and not Jesus being central. It took the glory from God and elevated man to a place where God is bound to honour him with riches.
God tells us in Isaiah 42:8: "I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other..."
When these prosperity preachers tells us that God is bound to make us rich, that God must bow to us, then they are making man the sovereign and God the servant. They make it so God shares His sovereign glory with another, which flies in the face of Scripture.
2. The prosperity gospel attacks the atoning work of Jesus. The message that was proclaimed on thetelevision by these charlatans was basically, "Give God 10% and you'll be saved!" That is works based salvation. It says that what Christ did on the cross when He died as a substitute for His elect was not enough to purchase salvation, but rather we must do something to finalise our salvation, and that final step is giving our money to a wolf in sheep clothing.
The Bible says: "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7 ESV)
Our works, our giving of money cannot ever earn or purchase salvation. The salvation that comes through Jesus Christ is a free gift, something that is not earned by us, but rather it is something was purchased by Jesus when He died and rose again. The prosperity gospel attacks this, they attack the cross of Christ.
3. The prosperity gospel encourages greed. At the heart of the prosperity message is the message of greed. You want money, you want riches, you want blessing, if so give. Do you want more money, do you want more riches, do you want more blessing? Then give more!
This message is built upon the desire of man to want wealth and status. It is a sin to be greedy, but that is what this demonic message is founded upon.
God says, "For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD." (Psalm 10:3 ESV)
This greed that comes from the prosperity message can and does lead to Jesus being cursed and people renouncing Christ. This message is dangerous!
4. The prosperity gospel causes Jesus to be blasphemed. When the world looks at Christianity they sadly see what is being broadcasted on television, as a result the unsaved think that Christianity is all about money and all about the church getting richer. This evil has caused many people to curse and blaspheme Jesus, as in their mind they think Jesus is all about money.
I've had people come up to me and say, "Christianity is against greed and coveting, yet on TV they always want your money. What hypocrites!" That is the view of the world. The prosperity pimps who prostitute Jesus and His message have caused the world to curse Christ.
The Bible says: "You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonour God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:21-24 ESV)
When Christianity says it is wrong to be greedy and it is wrong to covet, but then preach a prosperity message we are being hypocrites and causing Jesus to be cursed.
All these things show the evil of the prosperity gospel. At the heart of the prosperity, word of faith message is a satanic deception that is all about attacking God by robbing Him of His glory, by removing the atoning work of Jesus, and causing Jesus to be blasphemed.
Sadly, Hillsong which is the largest church in this nation, is a church that preaches the above message of riches and blessing. As a result of the evil that is spewing forth from them and also churches like them, people in this nation of Australia are burning with anger against Jesus and His church.
We as Christians must not tolerate this evil, we need to preach the true Christ and true Gospel. We need to separate ourselves from those who claim to be brothers in Christ yet preach a greed filled message (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
God is not silent, God is not asleep, He has seen the evil of these prosperity preachers and He will judge them. The Bible says:
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."(2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV)
May God have mercy on Australia and purge from this land those false teachers who would preach the prosperity message!