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The Prosperity That Matters: Some Semi-Coherent Theological Musings

I won’t lie, I want total prosperity. I’d love to never worry about my finances ever again. It would be awesome if my heath was top-notch, more-so for my wife who struggles with nagging ailments. How much confidence could I exude knowing I didn’t have a care in the world?

Some people preach this. They even demand it to be true, because words matter. In other words, what you say with your words creates what matters to you in this world. So, be careful! 

FYI, that’s a law. One that God never wrote down for anyone. In other words, its bull.

It only takes the final breath of one person to expose how wrong this “doctrine” of total prosperity is. I heard it in various forms through some churches I’ve attended. It never sat well with me, even when I wasn’t smart enough to figure out why, or even ponder quietly instead of speaking out. (My mouth gets me in trouble) God does do miracles, even still today, but more times than not, he works in and through the constraints of this broken and fallen world, not condoning bad things to happen, but sometimes using poverty, sickness and death to lead us to greater place, a greater understanding. 

I’ve seen God heal and I’ve seen God let lives slip away from this existence. I’ve seen this in both christian communities and other in places. It IS appointed for man once to die and then the judgment. That judgment is draped in one simple question, “What have you done with Jesus Christ?”

Did the early church not get this “doctrine” of total prosperity? Is this a new revelation for today? I suppose if I argued the martyrdom of the saints, a proponent would say, “They died unnatural deaths.” Almost as if death was forced upon them. Fair argument, I suppose. Here’s a thought, If we have a guarantee of an abundance of health, why does Paul tell Timothy to drink a little wine to settle a stomach-ache? Our words should be enough, right?

Instead of freeing up resources to give to needier members, why wouldn’t the Apostles in the book of acts simply just teach that prosperity is theirs to have, PRAISE GOD! 

Now, I don’t always understand this walk with God. I still struggle and sin. My health sometimes brings me to the end of myself, as I wonder if this next thing is more serious than a simple ache. 

Total prosperity in this world has not been a guarantee for me, and I’m sure someone would say, “That’s my whole problem!” Like I said before, It takes one death, only one, to prove this “doctrine” false. 

Though a false doctrine, I don’t see how this keeps someone from salvation. I think Christians, real Christians, can be deceived, whether by Satan, or their own bad understanding, into believing things that don’t line up with Scripture, but also doesn’t effect eternal consequences for them. 

Many Christians have a poor understanding of baptism and communion. Choosing to believe in a symbolic act instead of it being a supernatural act by God in their life, as scripture actually preaches. Many Christians have a solid grasp of theological matters, but put it into a historical box, that says, “Only do church like this!” It keeps them, theological smart, but sometimes aloof to the world, almost as if they are saying, “We have this truth for you, if only you’d come to this church” 

So I do think that many of us in the framework of salvation, have put ourselves in these boxes. Saved, by Christ redeeming work, but wrong on other issues. I’m no different. Though other Lutherans would probably label me, “Lutheran-ish”, this is my theological/spiritual bent. Yes, I want people to know it. I think it is the closest thing to what scripture teaches. But, if I’m not willing to come alongside someone in their journey, just because they don’t get it, then my Lutheranism means nothing. 

The same is true of those proponents of the prosperity “doctrine.”

As I said earlier, I’ve been a part of these circles, and I’ve seen people get shunned for not “toeing the line” of the same belief. I’ve never been an “easy christian”. In fact, My Lutheranism is probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to being in close simpatico with others. Still, I did say some would categorize me with an “-ish” at the end. My own past experience has been that, if you’re not fully in, you’re nearly out. This doesn’t happen, or at least it didn’t for me, with a stern conversation or a letter/email, but by a backing off, or being less included than others. 

We ALL like our little cliques, don’t fool yourself. 

Here’s what I know, and I think I could find an agreement in a myriad number of different denominations. From the followers of the free spirit flowing Benny Hinn all the way to the rigid and total obedience demanding, John MacArthur and everyone in-between. 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Lord. 

He is Savior of the world. 

He lived for us.

He died for us. 

He rose for us. 

From a practical point of view, going back to my semi-coherent article, Christ is my total prosperity. He lived sinless, and because at, God sees me the same way. He doesn’t guarantee us a life of ease and prosperity as some teach it. Some Christians will live with chronic illness. Some Christians will live with children who may fall away from the faith. Some Christians will suffer through things like death and divorce. 

And yet…

They will still prosper. 

Because Christ prospered in our place. 

Christ will hold onto us, despite our poor understanding of secondary theological issues. He will hold onto us in our poor practice of our right understanding of all those secondary issues. There is nothing that separates us from the love of Jesus Christ. 

Of this I am most thankful. 

This was not an endorsement of any specific theological bent, but an endorsement of Christ and how he is enough to carry us through to the end, even as we pass through the shadow of death in the form of so much we don’t theologically understand, or in the other case, do wrong in practice to one another in this christian faith.

Semi-Coherent rant over.

We now return you to your regular schedule spiritual lives. 

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