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Introduction: Some Views on Prosperity

Some Christians believe that God has promised them prosperity and affluence as a reward for their faith, and we should enjoy it. This is especially attractive to the impoverished, often pentecostal in tendency - e.g. Benson Idahosa. Other Christians believe that riches and affluence are evil, and that God has a 'bias to the poor'. Such Christians are often socialist in tendency. Yet others believe that moderation is the key: have enough for a pleasant lifestyle but 'not too much', not realising that their 'pleasant lifestyle' is far above the poverty line. Yet others believe that the pleasant lifestyle of millions is destroying the planet.

In the Bible can be found individual statements that support any and all of those views. So, if we want to follow Christ and truly represent God in the world, as this 'new view' beleives, how can we make sense of this? How should we live? To what should we aspire?

By 'prosperity' I mean wealth, comforts, conveniences, pleasures, safety, etc., not just money. Psychological and social prosperity as well as material.

Towards a More Coherent Picture

Here is a summary of a way of making sense of all this, recognising three dimensions of salvation:

Now, let us think it out in more detail ... (but this is yet to be expanded).

What is the Bible's take on prosperity?

That is to be expanded into a discussion at a later date.


Example: George Müller

Example: John Wesley

Here is an excerpt from What Wesley Practiced and Preached About Money.

"He [John Wesley] had just finished paying for some pictures for his room when one of the chambermaids came to his door. It was a cold winter day, and he noticed that she had nothing to protect her except a thin linen gown. He reached into his pocket to give her some money to buy a coat but found he had too little left.

"Immediately the thought struck him that the Lord was not pleased with the way he had spent his money. He asked himself, Will thy Master say, 'Well done, good and faithful steward"? Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money which might have screened this poor creature from the cold!' O justice! O mercy! -- Are not these pictures the blood of this poor maid?

"Perhaps as a result of this incident, in 1731 Wesley began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor.

"He records that one year his income was 30 pounds and his living expenses 28 pounds, so he had 2 pounds to give away. The next year his income doubled, but he still managed to live on 28 pounds, so he had 32 pounds to give to the poor. In the third year, his income jumped to 90 pounds. Instead of letting his expenses rise with his income, he kept them to 28 pounds and gave away 62 pounds. In the fourth year, he received 120 pounds. As before, his expenses were 28 pounds, so his giving rose to 92 pounds.

"Wesley felt that the Christian should not merely tithe but give away all extra income once the family and creditors were taken care of. He believed that with increasing income, what should rise is not the Christian's standard of living but the standard of giving."

See the full article.

Example: Benson Idahosa

This page is offered to God as on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2010, but you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext. Number of visitors to these pages: Counter.

Created: 5 December 2010. Last updated: 5 October 2014 summary based on 3ds, Example of Wesley, defn of prosperity.