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Letter: The true gospel directs church to serve poor, not seek prosperity

I question the prosperity gospel. The words prosper, prosperity and prosperous all occur in the Old Testament, never in the New Testament. The concept of a prosperity gospel doesn’t come from the lips of Jesus. 

According to Wikipedia, the prosperity gospel is a religious doctrine that claims that riches are the will of God and that donations to Christian ministries will increase one’s material wealth.

Some televangelists imply that if you give money to them and/or their ministries, then God will reward you with economic prosperity. That contradicts the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus twice states, “You cannot serve both God and riches.” He clearly separates wealth and serving God. “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Some religious leaders try to convince their followers that any money they give goes directly to God. What? God, if he is a supernatural being, doesn’t have any use for money. The money actually goes to pay the salaries of the religious leaders, for their houses and their cars, and sometimes for their airplanes. The money is spent on the upkeep of their humongous worship buildings and to build satellite worship houses.

A small percentage of money may go to the poor. More likely, the money is used to pay for a Thanksgiving meal for the poor once a year, or to deliver Christmas toys to their children.

It might be more helpful if religious people would vote for political action to subsidize the poor with food, medical treatment, job training, transportation or housing.

It is not helpful to teach that if the poor would just go to church and give their money to God, God would reward them and make them prosperous.

Jesus never preached a fake prosperity gospel. Instead he spoke about the unrighteous disparity between the rich and the poor. He was more concerned about this disparity than about any other subject.

Jesus never showed interest in raising money to build a place of worship. He never indicated he wanted people to sit on benches and to worship him with praises. He, instead, taught people to love one another, and that includes loving the poor.

You don’t need a church building for that. For that you need compassion, a compassion that results in action.

The Biblical quotes are from Mathew 6:24, Luke 16:13 and Luke 18:24.

Calvin King


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