"Prosperity preachers" proclaim that God wants you to have material wealth and happiness—right now. While positive thinking has its merits, does God promise prosperity, health, and happiness for you in this life? In the years ahead, this question, and the strength of your relationship with God and Jesus Christ, will become more profound than you may realize.
Picking up the mantle from Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, a new generation, including Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland, now champion the "prosperity cause." And their message is well received. Their message is one that God wants us to have immediate material wealth, health and success and that we need not worry about economic crisis, geo-politics, or advancing prophecy.
This is an appealing, but incomplete message.
During the waning years of the ancient kingdom of Judah, there were prophets and priests who were likewise preaching "prosperity." However, God ordained Jeremiah to be a true prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah prophesied that because of Judah's wickedness, the nation would be destroyed (Jeremiah 7:4–15). Further, he chastened the false prophets who preached that times were good, and would only get better.
"And the Lord said to me, 'The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, 'Sword and famine shall not be in this land'—'By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed! And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they will have no one to bury them—them nor their wives, their sons nor their daughters—for I will pour their wickedness on them" (Jeremiah 14:14–16).
Like ancient Judah, our modern nations are headed toward catastrophe because of national sin. And, while God does promise to reward those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), and a true Christian is promised protection from war and disease (Psalms 91:4–7), these promises are contingent on repentance and obedience (Acts 2:38, Luke 6:46–49). And the greater rewards are saved for the future time when Christ has established His literal government on this earth (Luke 20:36, John 14:1–3).
"Prosperity preaching" is simply inadequate and irresponsible. It fails to teach God's clear command that we and our nations must repent and return to worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who commands that we keep His seventh day Sabbath (Deuteronomy 5:14, Isaiah 66:23, Luke 4:16), and that we teach that Christ's kingdom will soon be established (Luke 11:2). Prosperity preachers miss the big picture—that without national repentance, our nations are headed toward prophesied destruction.
To not preach repentance and the coming Kingdom of God is not only to disobey Scripture (2 John vv. 9–11), but is also to allow millions of church-goers to have a false sense of hope based on an incomplete gospel.
God does indeed love each of us (John 3:16), but He requires repentance and obedience. Only then, are we promised protection and favor in the years to come.
Notwithstanding a temporary, European-led economic rebound, this world is simply not going to produce sustained material wealth, peace and safety. In the coming years, this world will experience the most traumatic time in human history (Matthew 24:21). Modern church-goers need to read and believe what the Bible actually says, and modern preachers need to heed the warnings God gave through His prophet Jeremiah.