Dr. Lindstrom, I was recently talking to a charismatic Christian. I asked him how he felt about a certain T.V. Christian broadcaster and his wife who recently purchased a five million dollar home in California with elevator,climate controlled wine cellar, six car garage, etc. I reminded him that this home was bought with money that these people beg for on t.v. every day. He said there was nothing wrong with it, that was what God wanted. I told him I didn’t think so, since everything I’ve read in the Bible seems to point the other way, such as not laying up treasures for yourself on earth where moths and rust corrupt, and where Jesus told the young wealthy man to sell his belongings and give to the poor and follow him. What are your comments on these Prosperity Preachers? Thank you.
First of all ministers should be paid. According to I Timothy 5:17-18 they are worthy of double pay. Notice the phrase ‘double honor’. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” As a labourer they are worthy of a salary just like anyone else who is employed Many pastors can barely make end meet because they are greatly underpaid. This is a shame and shouldn’t happen. Just as wrong as “Prosperity Preaching” is the teaching that Christians should be poor. But when we speak of those who abuse the office of minister, I think you are dead on target. I Timothy chapter three speaks of the criteria for a minister. I would like to focus in on 1 Tim. 3:3 “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.” This verse speaks of not given to FILTHY LUCRE! Lucre means “gain” which we generally see gain as “money” or “wealth.” Those who are preaching the “Prosperity Gospel?”. These are not generally preaching the “Gospel of God’s Grace” They have to appear prosperous in this world financially in order to delude their followers that they will also be financially prosperous if they follow the teachings of such a minister. It is the blind leading the blind. Where should our priorities be? First, our message needs to be correct. That does not mean that ministers should be poor, but there must be a reasonable balance. Not only does hording filthy lucre to ones self deprive God’s people, but it is not a good personal testimony. How we use our money demonstrates the reality of our love for God. The Apostle John links money and the love of God: “But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”.