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Beyond the arguments that claim prosperity theology misinterprets the meaning of the passages it uses to support it, what are some of the main scriptural-based references that would be used in a theological discussion against prosperity theology?

  • possible duplicate of Are Christians supposed to suffer? – Affable Geek Jan 15 '15 at 15:23
  • @YuletideGeek I'm not going to vtc this because the linked duplicate has issues and this does not. My comment on that post – 3961 Jan 15 '15 at 18:07
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  • The prosperity gospel is broader than just escaping suffering in this life, so I don't think this should be made a duplicate of 'Are Christians supposed to suffer?' But because it's broader, that really makes this too broad, because there are so many ways that people would oppose it. Seeing as suffering has been taken care of by that question, I'd suggest narrowing this one to ask what the basis is that Christians shouldn't expect to be materially blessed in this life. – curiousdannii Jan 15 '15 at 22:05
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Scriptural arguments against Prosperity Theology

Some of the verses used to support it are taken out of context or are meant to apply the to nation of Israel.

To consider verses that come to bear on prosperity you might want to consider one that shows how prosperity can be a barrier to faith.

Luke 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Another verse focuses on the suffocating and deceptive effects of prosperity.

Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Other verses make reference to unpleasant consequences of prosperity.

1 Timothy 6:9-11 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

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I think if you're looking for a whole passage in the New or Old Testaments blowing away the suppositions of prosperity doctrine, you'll be looking in vain. Off hand, I can't think of anything stating, straight up, "... beware of doctrines that promote material prosperity over union with Christ ..."

But Jesus' discussion of what we ought to seek (first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness) as opposed to obsessing about "... what we'll eat, what we'll wear - for the pagans chase after these things" is about as close to a direct contradiction to Prosperity doctrine (IMO) as you'll ever find.

I have a friend with whom I often minister shoulder to shoulder on biker outreaches, and he's a proponent of Prosperity. While we deliberately (for the sake of unity) avoid this topic as well as universal healing and tithing, the thing that always trips up his argument for prosperity is the fact that he has to slice the bible into a million little pieces, then paste together a bunch of out-of-context verses, to prove his point.

For instance, he'll say Jeremiah 29:11 ... "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Then I say, "first, that's for the elders of Israel, but if that verse applies to us, doesn't Jeremiah 29:17-20 apply too:

"I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword ... "

Follow what I'm suggesting? Prosperity doctrine only holds together when you cut up God's word and take it out of context.

Now, this friend I'm talking about is a fantastic believer, completely sold out to God. If God tells him to do something, my friend does it without ANY consideration for the cost or impact in his own life. So while his doctrine is screwy, his life isn't. He ministers in power and boldness like few I've ever worked with ... that's why it's not my life's mission to straighten out his doctrine.

I guess my point is that, while Prosperity doctrine is garbage, it's a relatively unimportant thing when compared to issues of obedience, the heart and will. God can speak to my friend. If God wants to straighten out his doctrine problem, God knows how to do it.

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