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The Poverty Gospel

Rebuilding Christian Society

Rev. Conrad Long

Preschool Manager, Preacher, Blogger

The Poverty Gospel

By: Conrad Long

In modern American Evangelicalism, various theological camps and denominational groups have many disagreements, but one thing that almost all can unite on is the evil of the Prosperity Gospel. Those nasty blasphemers like Joel Osteen, who teach that God just wants you to be rich and happy, and you can be sure and certain you’re going to heaven if you give them lots of money, and God will make you rich and happy just like they are. Ick.

But nobody seems to realize that they generally teach and believe the flip side of the same slimy, materialistic coin: God just wants you to be poor, and if you content yourself with doing nothing and having nothing, you also can be sure and certain you’re going to heaven, and God will make you faithful paupers just like the others. This is the Poverty Gospel.

All kinds of problems result from this erroneous gospel. Poverty does not make one faithful any more than prosperity does. The focus continues to be on possessions, only now the standard is the fewer possessions the more holy. And instead of making those devourers of widows’ houses feel guilty, they saddle good Christian businessmen with doubts about their life choices, and perhaps even salvation. “Can’t get a camel through the eye of a needle.” Nevermind not only that Jesus said this was possible with God, but also that the disciples correctly inferred that if a rich man couldn’t be saved, NO ONE could be.

After all, most of the great heroes of the faith were very wealthy. If we want a Godly approach to material things, we should look to their examples. Christians should be productive and profitable servants, tending to their prosperity and ability to bless others as well. But, as Solomon says, to all things there is a season: a time to be poor, and a time to be wealthy; a time to sell, and a time to buy. We must accept the situation God puts us in, and do our best where we are at. The Gospel is available to rich and poor alike, just as to the free and the slave. But please stop acting like being poor makes you a saint.