The Prosperity Gospel And The Poverty Gospel Are Both Wrong

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Posted: May 08, 2019 9:00 AM
The Prosperity Gospel And The Poverty Gospel Are Both Wrong

Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo

My friends and fellow Christian entrepreneurial sister Stevie Knight, who grew up as a missionary’s kid, have had lots of conversations regarding business, economics, entrepreneurship, and marketplace ministries. Some Christians embrace the numerous errors, myths, and even theological biases and doctrines which hinder what God has commanded. Stevie and I search for and then scrap the bad for the best of God’s prosperity answers.

Our search: What are the unhealthy and ungodly views of poverty and prosperity that we need to ditch in favor of God’s Biblical view of His economy and prosperity?

The “Prosperity Gospel” preachers portray our Heavenly Father as your “personal genie in the sky.” When you “sow” into their TV or church ministries, you’ll wave your “Holy Spirit” wand so God can bless you and fill your bank accounts with riches (However, you should donate/give/pay/invest, 2 Cor 8:10-9:15, to those churches or others who actually feed you correct and accurate Biblical prosperity information, i.e., “the laborer is worthy of his wages”). In reality, they give you false hopes, they fleece the flock of its treasure, time, and talents.

The “Poverty Gospel” preachers counter the “prosperity gospel” and portray our Heavenly Father as “doom and gloom.” Their theologically “correct doctrines,” martyr- and fear-based living with attacks on wealth, our heavenly ambitions (Psal 37:4), and the free enterprise system boxes us in and walls us off from God’s wealth creation mindset. They fleece the flock of hope.

Both have produced devastating effects within His church. These erroneous mindsets have taken us “out of the fight” of God’s will for our lives, just as any enemy military disinformation campaign is expected to do. An email discussion I had with a retired wealthy businessman (who did discuss his own various business financial struggles) almost did the same. While getting his M. Div. (Masters of Divinity), his family was currently financially well off while we were struggling with poverty bouncing from just below our mouths to just below our noses looking for ways to get our heads further above the poverty water line.

When I said, “God wants us to prosper” (John 10:10, 3 John 8, 2 John 8), he theologically heard “prosperity gospel” and began his negative theological criticisms. We were seeking his Godly wisdom and habits and a life preserver of financial hope to help our financial flailing, he was throwing us more poverty and hopelessness weights (won’t lift a finger to help, Matt 23:4). Or the heartfelt comment from a good friend about their poverty pain, “OK God, please let up some, I learned my lesson.” While I heard my friend’s pain, the God ping to me when he said that was, “Your lessons learned I want to become habits burned…deep into your soul with My Godly disciplines, never to be forgotten or failed to be performed, then shared so others might prosper.” 

What caused us to pivot from our unhealthy poverty to a healthy prosperity mindset? I did a word-for-word study of the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) and found the talent was the largest currency in the first century,[1] up to 200 lbs of gold or silver. That meant one slave got five talents worth today about $20.8 million (gold priced at $1,300/ounce) and he doubled it. This fact alone took the shackles off of my poverty mindset, Jesus talked about $20 million in a business context? Talk about the pedal to the metal; the entrepreneurial insights didn’t stop there. 

Studying Matt 25:14-30 further you find the owner gives a number of talents, “each according to his own ability” (verse 15), worth $20.8, $8.3, and $4.1 million in investments respectively. God’s Word shows there are talent, skill, ability, and financial inequalities. But there is equality of opportunity, it starts with our physical birth, which is our God-given talent baseline. Then coupled with our spiritual birth and our spiritual gift(s) and our growth, we’re to discover and develop all of them to be productive and profitable for God’s glory!

READ: We Are Fearfully And Wonderfully Made… To Be Entrepreneurs

Matt 25:19-23 says the man “settled accounts” (v. 19) with them. After seeing such large amounts of investments given to these individuals in the Bible, other verses went beyond the profitable results of their efforts. “You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master!” (v. 21, 23).

READ: God Does NOT Own Your Business, But He Is Your Angel Investor

The master promoted both slaves because of their profitable businesses! 

The master commanded the slaves to enter into (and share in) his joyfulness. The word “enter” (Greek e?s????µa? eiserchomai) is in the imperative mood, he commanded the slaves to enter into his joy. The Amplified Classic Bible says, “His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.” The master wanted them to enjoy their profitability and his joy with their efforts.

The master promoted them! Just like God promoted Job after he passed His testing (Job 42:7-10) by doubling Job’s fortunes. Too often we see our troubles as God disciplining us or fail to see our problems as consequences for our bad decisions, rightfully so. But in some cases, our adverse situations is God testing us to prove if we are worthy of His next promotion. Our lessons learned need to become habits burned, to become good muscle memory of Godly habits because we don’t brake through our situation and stop to achieve a breakthrough, we put the pedal to the metal and keep driving on. 

If Jesus talks about the largest currency in a business context in the parable of the talents. Then He discusses promoting two slaves because of their business accomplishments with His investments. Finally, He tells the slaves to enter into “the blessedness [divine favor] which the Lord enjoys,” then put your foot on your entrepreneurial gas and take it off your brake pedal.

Prov 22:29 AMPC Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Do you want to know what those Godly entrepreneurial prosperity habits are?

Let’s have coffee to put your pedal to the metal and be skillful in your business.