The Real Prosperity Gospel

by Apr 23, 2009

The financial crisis is causing Prosperity Gospel believers to rethink their expectations. Not just the people who expected God to give them Bentleys and McMansions. People who expected God to make life comfortable and convenient. Which means most of us Christians in America.

Of course, there’s nothing new under the sun. John Calvin confronted the same thing almost 500 years ago. Knox Bucer-Beza paraphrases his words in a CT article:

Prone to blame God in adversity and praise ourselves in prosperity, we murmur against God if he does not grant us quiet nests. We imagine that adversity can only come from Satan—as if he were a second god—and thereby fail to recognize that nothing that happens, even when intended by Satan for evil, isn’t turned by God to the wider purpose of our salvation. Nothing can thwart God’s gracious purposes toward us in Christ. Paul does not say that all things are good, but he does say that God works all things together for good for his people (Rom. 8:28).

Therefore, it is wrong to infer from prosperity that God is favorable toward us, and from suffering that God is angry. For God does not consider in chastening the faithful what they deserve but rather what will be useful to them in the future. He fulfills the office of a physician rather than of a judge. Suffering often brings us to the end of our rope, so we will look to God in Christ for our safety.