Three ways the prosperity gospel has infected our churches.

We withhold our worship because, as far as we’re concerned, we we aren’t feeling it because the Lord hasn’t given us what we demand.

Be honest, how many of your prayers start and end with thoughts about the glory of God? How many of the things you ask the Lord to do are to serve his glory? Now there are things in the everyday life of the believer that, should we ask the Lord for them and should he grant them to us, most certainly serve his glory. But often, that thought it nowhere near our motivations.

 

So many of our churches—otherwise sound, godly, healthy churches—have been infected by the prosperity gospel. Obviously, we’re not handing out lifts across the world in our private jets. We’re not typically telling people that, if you just trust God enough, he’ll make you rich. But we definitely do believe some soft prosperity lies.

Let me land on just three examples.

Prosperity prayers

Be honest, how many of your prayers start and end with thoughts about the glory of God? How many of the things you ask the Lord to do are to serve his glory? Now there are things in the everyday life of the believer that, should we ask the Lord for them and should he grant them to us, most certainly serve his glory. But often, that thought it nowhere near our motivations.

Many of our prayers, if we’re being honest, are just transactional. We imbibe the slightly iffy theology of the third, and frankly questionable, verse of the children’s chorus, the wise man built his house upon the rock. We effectively think, as the song goes, the prayers go up and the blessings come down. I’ve prayed for the stuff I want now the Lord’s gonna bless me big time.

Even if we’re not being quite so crass about it, we happily pray for Norma’s back to get better, or Ali’s asylum application to be successful, or Frank to get that job he applied for. But often, underlying those requests, is a belief that the Lord never wants us to be ill, face deportation or out of work. But, who do you think put us in those situations to begin with? What is more, guess who never promises to take us out of those situations?

What the Lord is concerned about is his glory and the multifaceted ways that it is served. Rarely is that our concern, we are more bothered about folks being upset over their situation and want the Lord, like some prosperity genie, to make it better. Give them the thing they crave Lord, then they’ll be happy, and you only really want us to be happy, don’t you Lord. In other words, we affirm the person’s contentment is tied up in things other than Christ and then petition the Lord to grant the thing (that isn’t him) to make the person content. That is prosperity praying.

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