Introducing “Prosperity Teaching”

Is it GOD’s intention for us to possess and enjoy financial wealth and/or material abundance in this life?

For some of us, the answer is clearly no, for others yes. Then there are those who would offer a ‘qualified’ yes, or a ‘no, but…’.

That said, this is not a question to be considered of peripheral importance to the Christian faith. In their helpful book, Across the Spectrum, Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy cite the maxim, “In the essential things, unity. In the nonessential things, liberty. In all things, charity.”[1] How we define “essential” and “nonessential” is an important question, but here I simply wish to say that how we understand GOD’s intentions for our lives in the present is crucial in a way that debates over the nature of “Hell” or the “destination of the unevangelized” are not.

Our answer to the above question reveals our expectations of GOD and what we believe GOD expects of us. It provides a means of judging how we’re doing in our walk with GOD and can lead us to disappointment and despair if we our expectations are mistaken.

The theology that I will refer to as prosperity teaching and which others have called “the prosperity gospel”, answers with a resounding YES! It is GOD’s desire and intention that we “prosper” financially/materially.

I believe this answer is mistaken and that it is of non-negotiable importance that we get it right. And so, it is essential that we discuss this, and that we do so with charity.

[1] Gregory A. Boyd and Paul R. Eddy, Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 2002), p8

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