Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

63. ARE CHRISTIANS ENTITLED TO WEALTH?

Over the past 4 or 5 decades, one message has been persistently present on Christian television in the USA.  It is more likely to be seen on Pentecostal networks advocating health, wealth and prosperity, confess it and possess it or name it and claim it.  The message is that God wants you to be wealthy.  God wants your desire for things to be satisfied.  All you have to do is take a step of faith and send some seed money to the perpetrators of this clever scam.  God is then supposed to honor your step of faith by seeing to it that you receive personal wealth equal to many times what you contributed. 

This scam has taken an interesting twist over the past few years based on Ex 12:35-36:

 

Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing;

And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request.  Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

 

Just as God orchestrated the great transfer of wealth from Egyptians to the sons of Israel, so today He wants to transfer the wealth of the unsaved to Christians.  All you have to do is take a step of faith and send some seed money to a Christian network.  God will then begin to transfer to you the wealth of the unsaved.  No matter how this scam is modified or presented, the fundamentals never change.  What an insult to God!

The fundamental claim, that you will receive many times what you give, appears to have its roots in Mal 3:10:

 

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

 

This verse seems to imply that if we faithfully give our tithe to the church, then we will automatically receive a tremendous monetary blessing.  However, text out of context is a pretext.  There is no Biblical teaching that we will automatically receive more monetary wealth from God than we give to the church as tithes, offerings, gifts, seed money or whatever you want to call it!

On a related issue, some have argued the text in Mal 3:10 requires that all tithing be done through the local church, the storehouse.  But this text will not bear that weight.  The storehouse is best viewed as God’s storehouse, not simply or exclusively the local church.  In the eighty times this word appears in the Old Testament, the storehouse is either the treasury of the temple (1 Kings 7:51) or the place from which all of God’s blessings proceed (Deut 28:12).

God has little interest in how much wealth you possess; He is much more concerned with your soul!