Why is this area of Christianity the cause of so much anger?
Just what is the ‘health & wealth gospel’? Is it Biblical, or is it heretical teaching? The general view of those who take issue with the so-called ‘health & wealth gospel’, seems to be that it is a teaching, which places the important of being healthy and well-off above everything else, including the new birth. In many cases those that are opposed to the ‘health & wealth gospel’ do not just merely disagree with it, they are vehemently and angrily against it. Why is this area of Christianity the cause of so much anger? I have noticed a similar anger, in people who reject the idea that Jesus is the only way to heaven, that Christianity is the only true religion and that all other religions are false. Could it be that the reason for this anger is because, like Jesus really being the only way to heaven, what the ‘health & wealth gospel’ teaches is actually true.
If we’re honest, it doesn’t seem like a particularly good promise, does it?
But is it true that the ‘health & wealth gospel’ places an unreasonable level of importance on those two things – health and wealth? Is it true that God did not really promise us health & wealth? Did God instead promise us a life of suffering? Let’s look at that last claim first – that God promised us a life of suffering. If we’re honest, it doesn’t seem like a particularly good promise, does it? If someone promised me that I was going to have suffering and hardship, I certainly wouldn’t be thanking them for it. Of course the answer to this (which is also the easy answer anytime that God apparently says something that seems to be bad) is that God’s ways are higher than our ways and that we couldn’t possible understand His motives. As New Testament believers, who have the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside of us, we still apparently can’t understand the ways of God. Really? What was it Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17-18? “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”.
Would you pray for [your children] to suffer?
Anyway, let’s come at this from a different angle. God is presented in the Bible as the ultimate Father, now what sort of father would want to bring suffering on their children. If you are a parent, would you pray for them to suffer, so that they can learn something, that they can maybe grow as a person? Of course you wouldn’t!!! So what makes you think that God would? Frankly it is an insult to the God of Love to suggest that He is the one causing, or allowing, His children to suffer. If that is your view of God, then you don’t know Him very well. And if you are already offended, then consider whether offense is an appropriate attitude for a Christian. I don’t want to get into this any deeper here, but you can read my posts, ‘Suffering Saints‘ and ‘We All Have Our Crosses To Bear‘ for more on the subject of suffering. The bottom line is, that if something seems to be against the character of God, then it probably is and if you seek Him on a particular matter, He will reveal the truth to you and as Jesus said, “the truth will make you free“.
What army wants a weak & sickly soldier?
We have seen that our loving heavenly Father almost certainly does not want us living in sickness & poverty. So now let’s look at why God would want to give us health & wealth. A good start would be because He’s a loving Father. I mean, what father wouldn’t want the best for His children? We want our children to be healthy – so does God. We want our children to have good things – so does God. Another, very obvious, reason why God would want us healthy is because a healthy Christian can be a lot more effective than a sick Christian. Oh I know that there are testimonies of people of have used their suffering in some way, but let’s face it – we are supposed to be soldiers in God’s army. What army wants a weak & sickly soldier? Psalm 105:37 in The Living Bible describes how God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt: “[God] brought his people safely out from Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; there were no sick and feeble folk among them“. Can it really be true, that now under our better Covenant, this situation has been completely reversed? Can it be true that God now wants His people to have no silver or gold and to be sick & feeble? Didn’t God say, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6)? Don’t misunderstand, God will certainly take you in that condition, He just doesn’t want you to stay like that.
Money does not make you humble or not humble.
What about the wealth part, doesn’t being poor make you humble? That’s what traditional Christianity has taught, but bear in mind what Jesus said in Matthew 15:6 from the New International Version, “You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition“. The truth is. that there are plenty of poor people who are certainly not humble and there plenty of rich people who are humble – and vice versa. Money does not make you humble or not humble. It is true that it can cause pride if you allow it to; but then there are plenty of Christians who are proud of how humble they are! There are plenty of Christians who take pride in their ‘suffering for the Lord’. Can you see the irony in this?!? It doesn’t take much intelligence to see that a godly Christian with money can do more for God’s kingdom, than a godly Christian without money. Look out, here comes offense again! “Well no, I don’t have much, but I know I’m doing a good work for the Lord!“. That’s great and provided you’re doing what God has actually called you to do, I’m sure He appreciates your efforts. However, couldn’t you do all that and more, if you had more money? Isn’t there more struggling people you could be helping, rather than you being the one in need of help? What about your church’s needs? Wouldn’t it be good to have enough money to met those needs? Or how about the wider Church? Wouldn’t you like to be able to give more to different ministries, etc? If you think money would turn you away from God, then by all means stay poor. But doesn’t that say something about your love for God? And if you want a Biblical quote, here’s Paul’s reason that God wants you to be wealthy, from 2 Corinthians 9:8 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition: “So that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]“.
Which version is it that is actually the heretical teaching?
But what about the claim that the ‘health & wealth gospel’ prioritises those two things? Because if true, that would surely be doctrinal error. That, is the big misunderstanding. The ‘health & wealth gospel’ does not prioritise those things. In fact, no one who believes that God wants us to have health & wealth refers to a ‘health & wealth gospel’. There is just the Gospel – which, amongst other things, includes health & prosperity. It’s just that those two things are often the most obvious difference from what traditional Christianity has taught. In John 10:10 from the Amplified Bible Jesus said, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]“. Based on those words, which version seems like the true gospel? The version that says that health & prosperity are part of the package of the Blessing that God wants us to have, or the version that says that God has promised us a life of hardship? Which version is it, that is really the heretical teaching? The word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’, telling people that they are going to have a tough life of ‘suffering for Jesus’, is not good news!
God wanted Abraham to be blessed, so that he could be a blessing to others and that is exactly what He wants for us now. It is time to reject false teaching and embrace true Christianity.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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