In Defense of P. D.
Is P.D. a matter of public drunkenness? No. Is P.D. political deception? No, I’m not impressed with Machiavellian politics & don’t want to defend it. This short essay IS about the controversial thought in Christianity of the Prosperity Doctrine. That is the notion that part of God’s blessing of the redeemed is prosperity – get close to God & He will help you do well. And it’s a hotly debated subject. Some opponents of the prosperity doctrine are so opposed to it they are like Hitler in that he would occasionally fall on the floor in a rage & chew on the carpet, practically foaming at the mouth. (LOL) Possibly, part of the reason folks have strong objections to it is due to some money raising techniques televangelists have used. Maybe their extravagant lifestyles also rub folks the wrong way. Sure, the prosperity doctrine could have a bad reputation . . .
Now I am a fairly simple minded guy, but I don’t want to base my thinking on what someone else is saying or doing. And my early doctrinal position didn’t really include much on the subject of money. But I did start giving to the Christian cause right after meeting the Lord in about ’72. And I was poor & tight so every dollar was a sacrifice . . . I did notice that money or time given to the “cause” seemed to return to me. (Luke 6:38) And that spiritual law hasn’t changed in the 40 plus years I have practiced it.
So, logically the issue of the Prosperity Doctrine leads to the question: should sincere Christians who are redeemed, born again, saved, confirmed, baptized, sanctified, polarized, or whatever – should they enjoy the fruit of their labor, or practice austerity? I think of Mother Theresa who would be given a nice carpet for her upstairs apartment for a touch of class & comfort. She would throw it out the window to the street below. Or how about the Amish, who believe autos & electrical appliances are too “worldly” to be righteous. (While I respect the austerity of those above, I believe a lot less folks would commit to Christ & His Church if they thought it meant sleeping on a bed of nails.) I think in this free country we should have a few comforts – especially if we have earned them & paid our taxes – to God & Caesar . . .
It may be in order to mention C. I. Scofield’s definition of salvation: “The Hebrew and Greek words for salvation imply the ideas of deliverance, safety, preservation, healing, and soundness . . .” He does not directly mention prosperity. My gospel note, “What’s In It For Me” link 28, is in effect MY definition of Christ’s salvation. Neither do I mention prosperity. But we both suggest it in essence.
In the Bible there are VERY prosperous cases. Like Job, Abraham, David, Solomon, Matthew, probably Luke, and many others. Of course they are NOT my examples – Jesus is. And His advice on the subject seems to be – practice restraint with reason – be neither too poor or too rich – money should be a tool, not a god. Here are some Bible passages on the subject:
-- Proverbs 13:21 “Misfortune pursues sinners, but prosperity rewards the righteous.”
-- Pro 16:20 “He who gives heed to the word will prosper, and happy is he who trusts in the Lord.”
-- Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing, etc.) shall be yours as well.”
-- 2 Corinthians 9:11a "You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, . . ."
-- 3 John V. 2 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health . . .”
Finally I would say the Prosperity Doctrine is a subtle part of God’s blessing, but I would never put an emphasis on it. However, I do have reason to believe God is faithful to His Word. His salvation package and blessing are amazing, and they are worth looking into. Choose Jesus and his Value system, they are alive. See also 2 Chronicles 16:9, Psalms 37:25-26, Proverbs 10:22, Habakkuk 3:19, John 10:10b, Philippians 4:19,
Other interesting Titles: www.gospelnotes.net - Link 1 is Index * * F. J. Stone * *