Gospel of Wealth
David Platt - “A woman who lived in the city and knew some English asked, “I have a television, and every once in a while I am able to get stations from the United States.” she said, “Some of these stations have church services on them. I see the preachers, and they are dressed in very nice clothes, and they are preaching in very nice buildings. Some of them even tell me that if I have faith, I too can have nice things.” She paused before continuing. “When I come to our church meetings, I look around, and most of us are very poor and we are meeting here at great risk to our lives.” Then she looked at me and asked, “Does this mean we do not have enough faith?”
It tears me up that she had to ask such a thing. This beautiful lady probably had seen and knew more about true Christianity than most Americans living in luxury in the United States and most emphatically more than those ‘name it, claim it’ preachers she had the ill fortune of watching on her television knew. I apologize for the vehemency in that statement, but it is like a dagger to my heart when mal-teachings mislead innocent people and cause them to doubt.
What the Christian lady saw in her television in a foreign land was what we call the Gospel of Wealth. If you have enough faith, God will grant you whatever you wish. There are verses that say ‘ask anything in my name and it will be granted.’ But these are taken out of context for the biblical principle is that IF you seek God and His will, then you may ask of anything and it will be given to you. The key is to be within God’s will and if it is within God’s will then it will be given to you. It is not a blank check within which you can ask for absolutely anything and it will be given to you.
That philosophy stems from the belief that God needs us more than we need Him. That words are where the power is and by believing enough, you can make anything happen. It is taking the power away from God and attempting to put it all in the palm of your own hand. It is making a god of yourself. This philosophy is also called ‘name it, claim it’, as in name what you want in prayer and claim it by having faith. The problem is, what if God says no? Surely the Gospel of Wealth cannot save you from dying? Will faith allow you to beat death here on earth? A family tried that once. I heard the terrible story on the radio. The family had a son who was deathly ill, but had just been convinced by a ‘name it, claim it’ pastor that if they had enough faith, their son would be healed. So they stopped all medical treatment and prayed and prayed. The son died, but they did not give up, for they had faith. They believed their son would revive. They buried their son. They believed their son would be resurrected. Day after day went by, they still believed their son was physically alive.
Faith in faith is nothing. Faith in a lie is self-destructive. Only by faith in the truth will freedom come.
God works through prayer, and He always answers prayer. Except sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer is wait, and sometimes the answer is yes. God does work miracles through prayer, but on His terms, not ours.