Thursday, February 9, 2012

Does God Want You To Be Rich? Jesus And The Prosperity Gospel

(A heads up: If you are a committed capitalist, hate socialism in any form, and do not call yourself Christian in any sense of the term, then this little article will be of no interest to you whatsoever. It's only for those who claim Christianity in any of its multitude of forms.)

Lots and lots of talk these days about capitalism and the free market, especially since it's an election year here in the US. One side claims it is the bastion of money and prosperity and abundance and at the same time accuses the other side of trying to turn this country into a "European style socialist state," whatever that means.

Many if not most traditional and evangelical Christians are on board with all that rhetoric. And they are certainly against the so-called entitlement programs currently on the books, including Social Security, Medicare, and the infamous food stamps. Unless, of course, they're using those programs.

So, would Jesus condone all the capitalist yelling and screaming? St. Paul? St. Peter? Any of the New Testament authors and apostles? Would they applaud the mega-church pastors who every week are yelling from their gold-plated pulpits and billion dollar TV studios, "God wants you to be rich!"?

Hardly. They were all on the side of the poor against the rich. They knew that money and power corrupt. They told their followers to sell all they have and share it with those who have little. Jesus even reminded us that as you do good unto the 'least among you,' you do it unto Jesus himself. And Paul was even more adamant. In fact, every time he used the word 'love' in his epistles, he was actually saying 'justice.'

God's love, then, is shown and experienced in the world through social justice.

The New Testament teachers were diehard socialists. St. Paul even bordered on socialist/communist. How do I know this? The Bible tells me so.

Don't believe it? Read again, or perhaps for the first time. And do yourself a favor. Don't do what so many do: Pull bits and pieces of Scripture out of the story and use them to support their positions. The New Testament is a complete picture. Take it all together and you have your answer.

Jesus, Paul, and Peter are socialists, pure and simple. Can you handle it?

(Note: I am what might be called a social democrat. I share the above info with you to remind you of what your Bible says. If you claim the Bible as the literal and inerrant Word of God, then you will want to be aware of what it actually says, won't you? Don't take my word for it. Study, pray, meditate and come to your own conclusions. Just be willing to face the truth when you see it.)

Much love to you on your continuing journey in Spirit.

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