Does God want you to be Rich?

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In three of the Gospels, Jesus warns that each of his disciples may have to "deny himself" and even "take up his Cross."

In support of this prediction, he contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: "For what profit is it to a man," he asks, "if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"

Generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian means being ready to sacrifice. But for a growing number of Christians, the question is better restated, "Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?"

For several decades, a philosophy has been percolating in the 10 million-strong Pentecostal wing of Christianity that seems to turn the Gospels' passage on its head. Certainly, it allows, Christians should keep one eye on heaven. But the new good news is that God doesn't want us to wait.

Known (or vilified) under a variety of names -- Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Theology -- its emphasis is on God's promised generosity in this life. In a nutshell, it suggests that a God who loves you does not want you to be broke.

Its signature verse could be John 10:10: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." In a Time poll, 17 percent of Christians surveyed said they considered themselves part of such a movement, while a full 61 percent believed that God wants people to be prosperous.

"Prosperity" first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from mainstream view with the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals.

But now, after some key modifications (which have inspired some to redub it Prosperity Lite), it has not only recovered but is booming.

Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three -- Joel Osteen's Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes' Potter's House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar's World Changers in Atlanta -- are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits (although Jakes' ministry has many more facets).

While they don't exclusively teach that God's riches want to be in believers' wallets, it is a key part of their doctrine.

And propelled by Osteen's 4 million-selling book, Your Best Life Now, the belief has swept beyond its Pentecostal base into more buttoned-down evangelical churches, and even into congregations in the more liberal Mainline. It is taught in hundreds of non-Pentecostal Bible studies. One Pennsylvania Lutheran pastor even made it the basis for a sermon series for Lent, when Christians usually meditate on why Jesus was having His Worst Life Then.

The movement's renaissance has infuriated a number of prominent pastors, theologians and commentators. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen's by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. "This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?" he snorts. "There is a word for that: baloney. It's creating a false idol. You don't measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn't everyone in the church a millionaire?"

The brickbats -- both theological and practical (who really gets rich from this?) --come especially thick from Evangelicals like Warren. Evangelicalism is more prominent and influential than ever before. Yet the movement, which has never had a robust theology of money, finds an aggressive philosophy advancing within its ranks that many of its leaders regard as simplistic, possibly heretical and certainly embarrassing.

Prosperity's defenders claim to be able to match their critics chapter and verse. They caution against broad-brushing a wide spectrum that ranges from pastors who crassly solicit sky's-the-limit financial offerings from their congregations to those whose services tend more toward God-fueled self-help.

Advocates note Prosperity's racial diversity -- a welcome exception to the American norm -- and point out that some Prosperity churches engage in significant charity. And they see in it a happy corrective for Christians who are more used to being chastened for their sins than celebrated as God's children.

"Who would want to get in on something where you're miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?" asks Joyce Meyer, a popular television preacher and author often lumped in the Prosperity Lite camp. "I believe God wants to give us nice things."

If nothing else, Meyer and other new-breed preachers broach a neglected topic that should really be a staple of Sunday messages: Does God want you to be rich?

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/09/10/time.cover.tm/index.html
 

CharlestonChad

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Maybe those preachers will spend some of their wealth on figuring out how to get a camel through the eye of a needle.
 
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-Cp

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Maybe those preachers will spend some of their wealth on figuring out how to get a camel through the eye of a needle.
Camels quite regularly fit thru the eye of the needle.... what's yer point?
 

Hobbit

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Of course God doesn't want his children to be broke. He reminds us, however, not to become drunk with the power that wealth brings. God warns many times in the Bible not to be driven by money, but he also tells us to make full use of our gifts. I believe it is possible to be both rich and a Christian, but that God, not expanding your riches, should always come first.
 
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Of course God doesn't want his children to be broke.
Really?

Perhaps someone should tell that to Job! Pleaes back-up this statement with Scripture...
 

CharlestonChad

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Of course God doesn't want his children to be broke. He reminds us, however, not to become drunk with the power that wealth brings. God warns many times in the Bible not to be driven by money, but he also tells us to make full use of our gifts. I believe it is possible to be both rich and a Christian, but that God, not expanding your riches, should always come first.
Really? I would have logically thought that god would want a person to donate all their extra wealth to benefit others. But if you believe that god wants us to own a Benz and live in a big house, while our fellow man is stuggling to provide food for his/her family, then who am I to say you're wrong.
 
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-Cp

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Truthfully - the thing God wants the most is our hearts; everything else will follow after that.. :)
 

dmp

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Really?

Perhaps someone should tell that to Job! Pleaes back-up this statement with Scripture...


Dude - JOB was perhaps (2nd to a King of Israel) the richest man EVER in the bible. that's a story of God exactly showing his hand in helping Job get 'stuff'...land, family, wealth, etc.
 

CharlestonChad

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Truthfully - the thing God wants the most is our hearts; everything else will follow after that.. :)
How do you give your heart to god? Is it by trying to better man-kind by spreading around the generous and uncondition love of god?
 

Joz

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How do you give your heart to god? Is it by trying to better man-kind by spreading around the generous and uncondition love of god?
You answer His call. You have the choice to accept Him or turn Him away. Otherwise, what you suggest, is trying to earn your favor with Him & that doesn't work.
 

GeeWhiz

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Dude - JOB was perhaps (2nd to a King of Israel) the richest man EVER in the bible. that's a story of God exactly showing his hand in helping Job get 'stuff'...land, family, wealth, etc.
You certainly have a distorted interpretation of Job. I already pointed out in another thread how the story of Job was to answer the theological question, which is "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

The story of Job never did answer that question, instead it copped out with a hollywood ending.

On another thread you bragged about your wealth, it was a type of brag that comes off as selfish is good, or greed is good, a me, mine and no more, it's all about you mentality.

That's the problem I have with you Christians, you go around and serve two masters, of the two, God takes second seat.

The Jews are the same way, "we are not here to discuss God, we are here to discuss the new Jewish Community Center."

The irony of it all is that you can display your love of money openly and yet ban my "Corporate religion" post. That post was funny, you should have let others be the judge of that post.
 

dmp

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You certainly have a distorted interpretation of Job. I already pointed out in another thread how the story of Job was to answer the theological question, which is "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

The story of Job never did answer that question, instead it copped out with a hollywood ending.
You have NEVER read the story of JOB if that's your conclusion. wow. Do a modicum of reasearch before trying to talk to something. I bet you think Scrooge was the story about an evil, bitter, penny-pinching devil-of-a-man.

On another thread you bragged about your wealth, it was a type of brag that comes off as selfish is good, or greed is good, a me, mine and no more, it's all about you mentality.
I have no wealth of which to brag. Therefore one of two things are happening. Either you can't read, or you are confusing me with another.

The irony of it all is that you can display your love of money openly and yet ban my "Corporate religion" post. That post was funny, you should have let others be the judge of that post.

wtf?
 
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-Cp

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Dude - JOB was perhaps (2nd to a King of Israel) the richest man EVER in the bible. that's a story of God exactly showing his hand in helping Job get 'stuff'...land, family, wealth, etc.
That's 1/2 the story - the rest is how God allowed all of his wealth, riches and even family be taken from him... i.e. he allowed Job to become very poor financially...
 

Joz

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You certainly have a distorted interpretation of Job. I already pointed out in another thread how the story of Job was to answer the theological question, which is "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
The story of Job never did answer that question, instead it copped out with a hollywood ending.
Job was a bet between God & Satan. The story of Job is about trusting God and being faithful. And the "hollywood ending" did not take away the pain that Job felt in his heart.

As far as "why does bad things happen to good people?" The Bible says that it "falls on the just as well as the unjust". Just the way things are. And trust me, it's a very hard thing to accept, sometimes.
 

dmp

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That's 1/2 the story - the rest is how God allowed all of his wealth, riches and even family be taken from him... i.e. he allowed Job to become very poor financially...


Right...it's half the story...the LAST half...about how God not only gave him back what he had, but gave him back DOUBLY what God had allowed to be taken from him.

:)
 

mattskramer

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Money and Christianity - This is a big issue among many that turned me off of Christianity. If preachers really believed in what they preach, why do they commit so many gross atrocities? Read about Robert Tilton and Jim Baker to name just a couple. Also see:

http://www.rickross.com/groups/tv_preachers.html

I understand that no one is perfect but I’m not talking about your average Joe. These are supposedly devout knowledgeable Christians who firmly believe in salvation – life after death – eternal peace – etc. and they do things like this.
 

Bonnie

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Yes God want us to be rich, he gives us everything we have in life including talents, and compassion, so that we never forget him, and share what we have. He wants us to share our wealth with others as a way to help them, and help us get to heaven.
He wants us to be happy so he gave us marriage, sex, family, so that we will be happy and in turn have the desire to help make others happy was well.
 

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