By Jarrod Belcher
“Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9. Over the past fifty years or so there is a stain that has appeared on the Christian church in the form of the prosperity gospel. It’s actually not gospel at all, but rather some evangelists are propagating a teaching describing the benefits of faith in God as temporal prosperity blessings such as miracles, healings, or wealth. These blessings are said to be made available to those who show the proper faith usually through what’s described as sowing a seed. And of course the best way for you to get your miracle or for you to come into financial prosperity is to sow a seed to an evangelist. That seems pretty convenient…. for the evangelist.
If you would have told me 35 years ago there was going to be a Christian television network devoted to spreading the gospel I would have been thrilled at such an idea. Yet in the years since TBN’s creation there may not be a single entity that’s done more to drag the name of Christ through the mud. They have enlarged the pockets of wealthy pseudo-pastors at the expense of people whose desires for a better life have been misplaced. It’s probably not a stretch to say most of the donors have been poor themselves or taken advantage of because of their desperation. Of course Jesus’ name is mentioned here and there. That’s how they get by with being “Christian.” But the main thing in many of their programs is to talk about getting a miracle, or a healing, or gaining wealth through your faith to sow a seed to their ministry.
Why is it that these evangelists tempt their listeners with wealth when Jesus and the rest of the New Testament authors expressly warn us of the dangers of earthly riches? Perhaps it’s because they are false teachers twisting the Scriptures to their own destruction. But let us not be so. We shall hold fast to the one and only gospel which preaches Christ crucified for our sin and raised for our justification, and salvation through repentance and faith in Christ. That’s the only true gospel.