One Ebony Voice

The thoughts and views of an African-American...

The Prosperity Message is Prophetic

Reve' M. Pete, D. T. S.

On Saturday, February 28, 2009, while watching Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union conference on C-SPAN, I heard a panelist on the second panel say that preachers ought to stop preaching prosperity and start preaching the prophetic. The panelist further stated that prosperity is about the individual and the individual's family and associates. The panelist said that if preachers do not start preaching the prophetic, then President Obama would be a one-term president.

When I heard that statement, I thought, "What could be more prophetic than the message of prosperity?" Every day, there are televised news reports of more job losses and layoffs. People are applying for unemployment in record numbers. Those persons certainly do need something for themselves and their families. The true message of prosperity is not some religious gimmick for the purpose of extracting money from people, but addresses God's plan for individuals having their needs met according to His riches in glory.

I first heard the prosperity message in 1990. At that time, the minister who was preaching the message said the Lord says get out of debt! In 1990, no one knew that eighteen years later there would be a financial crisis in this nation that was brought on by greedy lenders who made ill-advised mortgage loans to unqualified persons at the encouragement of legislation supported by Democratic committee chairmen in the House of Representatives and the Senate. No one knew that those bad loans would eventually bring the American economy to the brink of collapse. No one knew that this financial crisis in America would spread a financial crisis around the world like a bad flu epidemic. The minister who preached the prosperity message that I heard was only obeying what the Lord through the Holy Ghost had commanded him to do. This minister, along with others who obeyed the Lord's command to preach prosperity preached tithing and giving offerings. They taught the spirituals principles of sowing and reaping. They taught that being in debt was not God's plan and that the Bible says the borrower is the servant of the lender.

If persons who were offered those ill-advised mortgage loans had not accepted those loans because they had heard and believed the message of prosperity that was preached by ministers who preached in obedience to the Lord's command to them, then maybe the American economy and the world economy would not be in this current crisis! Instead, such preachers were maligned to the point of becoming poster children for the scriptures in Matthew 5:11, 12: "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Isn't it interesting how persecution and the prophetic seem to go hand in hand?!

Preachers who have faithfully preached the message of prosperity have prepared individuals who took heed to the message for this time of financial crisis. Their prophetic preaching is a good example of fulfilling the instructions recorded in 1 Peter 5:2-3, "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." For their obedience to the Word of God, those preachers will receive a reward. "and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." 1 Peter 5:4

During this time of financial crisis, it will be very interesting to see what happens to people who were "shepherded" by preachers who actively and vehemently fought the prosperity message. What message are they giving to their flocks now? Are their members spiritually prepared to handle the sudden and abrupt upheaval in their lives caused by this national financial crisis? If not, I do not believe these ministers will receive a reward.

"Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by the fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.

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