THE DANGEROUS PROSPERITY DOCTRINE
By W. G. Guy
Jesus and the apostles warned us that in the last days there would be false teachers, preachers and prophets that would bring false doctrines into the church. One of the main false doctrines today is the prosperity message. Why is this doctrine so dangerous? The prosperity doctrine focuses our attention on CREATION rather than on the CREATOR.
The focus on creation is the basis of materialism – possessions of the things of this world! Jesus warned us about this in the Gospel of Luke.
Luke 12:15 – And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
I remember when this doctrine was introduced back in the early 1970’s when we had a speaker come to our church who had recently published the book, You Can Be A King’s Kid; (this began the prosperity King’s Kid theology.) As he was speaking on the topic of his book, I turned to my wife and said, “This message is coming straight out of the pit of hell”. She said why? I told her, “Because it focuses attention on creation rather than on the Creator”.
1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Since then many preachers have picked up on this false doctrine. Why has it become so popular? The reason is because it appeals to people’s carnal fleshly lusts.
1 John 2:15-16 – Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Many of these preachers have become very wealthy because carnal Christians flock to them to have their ears tickled with such flesh pleasing messages. The apostle Paul instructed Timothy, follows:
2 Timothy 4:2-4 – preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The doctrine of prosperity promotes COVETEOUSNESS!
Colossians 3:5 – Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
We see from this scripture that the carnal lust of coveting worldly things is a form of IDOLATRY. When our focus is so fixated on material things they become idols that have so captivated our desires that we devote our time, attention and money to acquiring such possessions. These preachers even claim that material prosperity is the outward sign of God’s blessing.
1Timothy 6:3-6 – If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Notice what Paul said to do about such preachers: from such withdraw thyself. Why are we told to withdraw from such; because they are teaching “after the rudiments of the world”.
Colossians 2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The danger of this false doctrine is that it draws people away from God and enhances the lustful flesh which Jesus said we are to deny and die to; putting such lusts on the cross daily.
Luke 9:23 – And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
The prosperity doctrine is a focus on the things of this world, not on the things of God and His Kingdom.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
God not only knows what you need, but He also knows how to bless you and to prosper you merely by seeking Him and walking in obedience to His Will and His Word which is centered in Jesus Christ His Son.
Romans 8:32 – He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
We are also warned not to be carnally minded, lusting after the things of the flesh and this world.
Romans 8:5-8 – For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Seeking after the prosperity doctrine as taught by these false preachers is to be carnally minded. This focus on the things of the world is not life but spiritual death, as stated above: For to be carnally minded is death. To die to self and seek first the kingdom of God is being spiritually minded, which is life and peace. This spiritual life and peace is true prosperity, because it is eternal. The things of this world will pass away, but these true riches are eternal.