I’ve always been more heart than head, but that doesn’t mean I neglect logical thought. One of the reasons that I study theology is because when done correctly, it should inform ministry practice. The more we learn about God, the better we understand how our lives should practically reflect truth.
Everything we do has a message. The pastor from the case study probably doesn’t realize what the prosperity gospel communicates on a deeper theological level.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, God is “the supreme or ultimate reality: as the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.” To further elaborate, “supreme” is defined as “1) highest in rank or authority 2) highest in degree or quality, and 3) ultimate, final.”
Logically speaking, if God is the loftiest being ever, and Jesus is God, no one deserves more than him. In fact, if someone was entitled to more than him, that person would be the loftiest being. They would be God. What the prosperity gospel is actually saying is that Jesus and the Father are vending machines to serve us. It is a reversal of status in which God becomes lower than his so-called followers.
If Jesus was a homeless nomad who was mocked as he was murdered. Why would his followers prove their faithfulness by respect and wealth?
If we choose to accept the prosperity gospel, we must abandon all doctrines associated with God’s supremacy and the Atonement. If the logic behind Christ’s atoning sacrifice is that he is perfect and the incarnation of God on earth, then the prosperity gospel stands as an affront to his perfection. If, as the prosperity gospel states, blessing is wealth and honor, then the cross was the opposite of Kingdom come.
This pastor must re-evaluate the logic of his teaching.
So do we.
Every time we allow ourselves to feel entitled, we risk idolatry. The worship of ourself is so tempting.