So why do prosperity preachers redefine faith as a force? Why attempt to talk devotees inot believing that Adam was an exact duplicate of God—no difference, no distinction? Why perpetuate the pretext that every born-again person is as much an incarnation as was Jesus Christ of Nazareth? What’s the point?
The answer may surprise you. Turning the gospel of grace into a gospel of greed takes a complete revision of what Faith preachers describe as “traditional Christianity.” Jesse Duplantis is a classic case in point. Addressing Cornerstone pastor and televangelist John Hagee at a Cornerstone camp meeting. Duplantis explained that God is his comforter “because when you got some stuff it brings you comfort.” Jesse’s reasoning is remarkable, to put it mildly.
After clarifying that he is not just a millionaire but a multimillionaire, Jesse said to Hagee, “The Lord, I give Him the glory, is my comforter. If He is my comforter, Dr. Hagee, I live in comfort. That’s not only spiritually—that’s physically too. Because when you’ve got some stuff it brings you comfort.” Jesse went on to pontificate that those who would say otherwise “know nothing about the Bible.” With great aplomb he claimed to quote Jesus saying, “The destruction of the poor is their poverty” and challenged those who “know nothing about the Bible” to “explain that!” Talk about biblical revisionism!
First, to say that Jesus is our comforter in that He gives us a comfortable lifestyle might well be said to be the height of cultural conformity. Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The Lord then told His disciples the parable of the rich fool who was looking to his possessions for secruity (vv. 16-21). Jesus did not condemn possessions, but instead pointed out the foolishness of a temporary rather than an eternal perspective. Not mincing words, Jesus quoted His Faither as saying to the rich man, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you” (v. 20). The Master’s command was always the same: “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
How unlike the message of Duplantis and company! They relentlessly hawk the idea that prosperity is the diving right of every believer—a brand of “Christianity” that is little more than baptized greed garbed in a thin veneer of “Christianese.” A pitiable conformity to the cultural trends of our day.
Futhermore, just as Jesus is not our comforter in that He gives us a comfortable lifestyle, Jesus did not, as Jesse declares, say that “the destruction of the poor is their proverty.” Nor did He suggest that financial comfort was the destiny of those who place their trust in Him. Instead, Jesus said, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry” (Luke 6:24-25). As such, His message is the inverse of that of Duplantis, who pontificates that “poverty is a curse,” or of Hagee, who likewise communicates that “poverty is a curse” and that “it is the result of sin.”
Finally, we should note that while Jesus did not say that “the destruction of the poor is their poverty,” Solomon did (Proverbs 10:15 NKJV). Indeed, in the book of Proverbs he demonstrated that just as the prosperous are mistaken in considering wealth to be a “fortified city” (NIV) so the poor would be misguided in romanticizing poverty or using it as a pretext for laziness.
In sum, the very perception that Christians who are prosperous by the world’s standards are spiritually rich, while the poor are spiritual paupers, is as blasphemous as it is bankrupt.
—excerpted from Christianity in Crisis 21st Century