Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places - Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)
Every now and again, a false teacher writes about the prosperity gospel. We must recognize that this remains an underpinning in nearly all apostate churches as well as some trying to stick to the real gospel. It is baked into the purpose driven church model and the seeker friendly church model. It is part of the heresy that encompasses the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The bless me theology has bred generations of greedy Christians trying to buy favors from God. Here is today's deep theology - if you are constantly looking for what God can do for you then you spend no time in thankful reflection for all He has already done for you. The above link is to a recent article by someone named Marti Pieper, who thinks she has some biblical insight into prosperity. Let us reason together once more beloved.
The so-called prosperity gospel has received a lot of negative press over the years. But David Friend, pastor, entrepreneur and podcast host, says the truth about prosperity comes down to a simple biblical principle that people make complicated: God loves us and wants to bless us. - Marti Pieper
The prosperity gospel has received its negative press because it is well deserved. It takes the true gospel and makes it about money. Sure, they couch their terms to say that prosperity is always more than material goods but we all know what they are talking about. What is telling is that prosperity preachers do not try and hide their error as we see here. It is because God so loved us that He has already blessed us in Christ, as the key verse explains. Past tense, not future tense. If God did nothing else for us He already did everything by sending His only Son to die for our sins. The problem with pursuing the prosperity gospel is that Calvary is not enough. They want more. Specifically, they want more carnal, worldly blessings. The bible teaches us to not store up our blessings on earth where they can rust and decay. Yet the churches that preach this bless me now theology create sheep who are invested in Christianity for some level of profit. If you pray enough or have enough faith then God will bless you but this theology fails outside of the shores of countries that are already prosperous. The underground church in China or the persecuted church in the Middle East seek to survive, not prosper materially. Doesn't God want to bless them too? Why are they not all delivered from their oppression and made to be filthy rich? This is why Christ rebuked the church at Laodicea - for being poor while thinking they were rich.
'"When I first became a Christian, I kind of thought that Christians had to be poor and meek and quiet and had to sit around and not really say much and not earn a lot of money," he tells Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of Greenelines on the Charisma Podcast Network. "And then as I read the Word of God, I discovered in Deuteronomy 8:18, it says, 'You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.'' - Marti Pieper
Now we see the typical sleight of hand played by prosperity preachers. They only present two polar opposites. So if you speak against their version of prosperity then they accuse you of being pro-poverty. Nonsense. Can God provide you with great riches? Sure, He is God. The reality however is He knows what will happen if you hit lotto and that is why you do not. Is there something wrong with having a job and providing for your family? Deuteronomy 8:18 does indeed state the truth but it is not a prescriptive text. It does not assert or even imply that everyone must have the power to gain wealth. It is also part of the law given to the nation of Israel. These promises were if they were able to adhere to the Mosaic Law, which they were unable to do. That is why God needed to send His Son in the first place!
""So He wants us to be blessed. He wants us to prosper in all things," Friend says. "And so that's the message I want to get out. I want people to realize that God loves us, and God wants to bless us. And when we read in the Word of God that we're supposed to give to the work of the Lord, it's not so God can put us in bankruptcy. No, it's so God can open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that we cannot contain. "And so we serve an amazing God, a God who believes in prosperity, and I believe in the message, and I believe that God's people need to step up and just take control, just receive that in their life and be blessed to the Lord," he says." - Marti Pieper
And so we come to the quid-pro-quo that God never said and all prosperity preachers rely upon. Mixing verses from Malachi that do not apply to the church, Pieper has concluded that God wants all believers blessed. In order to achieve this nebulous standing of blessed however, you must first give your money to the church. In fact, Pieper essentially says God is handcuffed and cannot open the windows of heaven until you give money first. Beloved, God is not the originator of some grand pyramid scheme. The Christian landscape is littered with broken faith over being promised blessings that never came because God is not the one making these deals.
"Friend offers two simple steps for moving into financial blessing. "Step one to be blessed financially is to put God first in everything; that means pray and put Him first. And then in your giving and your budget, put Him right at the topthat you're going to give to Him. I believe 10% of what we make should go back to the Lord. I believe in that. And I've taught that for years, then I also believe that when we do that, we become a better steward of what God has given us, we become a better manager. "Some people say, 'Well, how can I give away 10% of what I have to the Lord, because I can't afford it?'" Friend says. "And I'll say, 'No, no, you can't afford not to.'" - Marti Pieper
Then David Friend has been lying to his sheep for years. Mind you, this is not a message against giving. If you find a church actually preaching the gospel then you will never find a greater place to invest your money. The return on investment however is not material. It is in growing into the fullness of Christ and seeing souls won to the cross. Do not fall for the pressures of quaint sayings like you cannot afford not to. God knows your situation. The bible says he who does not take care of his own family is worse than an unbeliever. I know of at least one story of a woman who refused medical care for her cancer and instead just kept increasing her tithe to Kenneth Copeland's church. Did leadership lean in and help this woman? Nope. They took her money until she died and left behind a family that will never trust the church again. So should we give? Absolutely but only meeting two criteria. First of all, we cheerfully give, under no compulsion. Secondly, we give because of what He has already done for us, not what we think He might. In other words, we do not give to get.
'"Because if you give to Him, it will make you a better manager of what you have, because you have to adjust your budgets accordingly," Friend says. "But then don't just give 10% to the Lord, I believe, give 10% to yourself and save 10% of what you make. And I believe that we can live on 80% of what we make, if we can really adjust to do that. ... And if we do that, people literally in their 20s and 30s. Today, if they just saved 10% of their income every single month, that'd be worth millions of dollars by the time retirement comes around."' - Marti Pieper
It is easy to throw around numbers that do not speak to the lived situations people face every day. Sure if you can afford to take 20% off the top of your income you probably should put some away and give some to the church that feeds you. Just remember that the why is more important than the act. If you truly grasp what God has done for you then you will not have buyer's remorse for investing in His church. The trick is finding one that is doing His will and work. Do not sow your seed into the apostate church beloved. Do not pay into the work of the devil. Do not fall for the recurring false teaching of tithing and forced giving to chase blessings. Thank God for everything you do have.