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What About That Prosperity Gospel Thing?

*This article is a follow up to this one:

Gary Brumbelow responded to my comments at the Darrow Miller and Friends Blog here:

Thanks for the thoughts Mr. Brumbelow!

Here are the comments I left in response to that article:

Well, now I feel special. ?

Thanks for your response.

I found this very interesting:

Elizabeth Youmans, points out, “Prosper” in the Hebrew does not necessarily refer to material wealth, but means “to accomplish what is intended by God.”

It seems that in Christ prosperity flows from the internal to the external. I love the way it is said in the greeting in 3rd John:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3rd John 1:2 –

I believe that this includes material prosperity as well as soul prosperity, but not in the sense of it being a formula or a right. It is more like a “tendency.” It is also quite natural. Being changed on the inside leads to living differently on the outside. Living according to God’s principles tends to produce God’s results (unless He permits testing or persecution, of course).

So I am looking for the right way to say it to try and remove the stumbling blocks from those who have prosperity-gospel-phobia. ?

I think I would say it like this:

If you seek God before all else and live life according to His instructions you will prosper in your soul and you will also tend to prosper materially in the temporal world. This should not be misconstrued to mean that Christians should live for earthly riches, neither should it be misconstrued as a guaranteed escape from suffering and persecution in the “here and now.”

What do you think? (or what does anybody passing by this way think?) Is that a good way to say it? Am I missing anything?

Somehow this needs to be included:

Doing things God’s way works better – both in eternity and in the here-and-now.
I see several areas of difference between pop-prosperity and truth.

  1. Prosperity Gospel makes prosperity seem almost as something that results from superstition; truth includes the requirement to live according to God’s instructions.
  2. Prosperity Gospel seems to ignore the idea of “taking up your cross and following.” Truth includes this idea.
  3. Prosperity Gospel seems to be focused on “me” having a better life. Truth seems more focused on being equipped by God to fulfill His destiny for oneself.
  4. Prosperity Gospel seems to see material prosperity as something that can be gained and guaranteed by following a spiritual formula. Truth requires natural formulas (work ethic, integrity, wisdom, etc.) as well. Truth also acknowledges persecution and suffering in the temporal reality. (Ok, I know this is kind of another way to say #1)
  5. Prosperity Gospel seems to see material prosperity as a right; truth seems to see material prosperity as a natural tendency resulting from doing things according to how God designed them to be done.


I’ve already gotten some warnings to beware of the word “prosperity.” But, wow, the Bible sure has a lot to say about all kinds of prosperity, and it seems that material prosperity is included in that content.

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