While reading through articles and commentaries regarding the so called “gospel of prosperity” I recognize 2 different reactions in my heart:
– yes, a “prosperity gospel” is dangerous and wrong. It´s misleading trustful children of God and our congress should make this very clear.
– but, such a reaction, as necessary it is, is not costly at all for myself. It´s not “my problem”. I never preached or taught such and never will and, in my opinion, the influence of prosperity gospel in germany (and the most northern parts of europe), is very small.
Really ? May be a hidden but very dangeraous aspect of a gospel of prosperity is also connected to my life in Germany. The message is not ” believe and you will become wealthy and healthy”, but the message is “believe and don´t mind being wealthy !”
Living in a wealthy country (with many poor people) makes it difficult to look at the personal circumstances of life style and wealth from a – may be – more radical point of view. My preaching and teaching about the cost of discipleship like it´s presented by the rich young ruler (Matthew 19,16ff) or about the widow´s offering (Mark 12,41ff) will differ depending if I ever “left everything and followed Jesus” or not.
So materialism IS a dangerous enemy for our churches in germany (and Europe ? and the U.S. ?)and for myself, because financial point of views often seem to reign our surveys and discussions. And sometimes we may preach or teach a hidden “prosperity gospel” not merely with our words but with also with our deeds, because the way we live we are making no difference.
Without shifting the focal point too much, this is something I would like to talk, think and pray about.