I hesitate to post this since it almost guarantees some kind of partisan reaction, but I have to admit that I never thought the prosperity gospel would wind up being so big. To me, Jesus’s words are clear — your physical blessings have little to no correlation with your spiritual health.
Paula White, a prosperity gospel preacher with close ties to President Donald Trump, is calling on followers to send her donations of up to one month’s salary. Those who don’t pay up could face “consequences” from God as he demands the dough as a “first fruits” offering.
“The reason is God lays claim to all firsts,” White wrote on her website. “So when you keep for yourself something that belongs to God you are desecrating what is to be consecrated to God.”
In this case, the “firsts” are money, which “supernaturally unlocks amazing opportunity, blessing, favor and divine order for your life.”
There is so much scripturally wrong with these few sentences, I’m not sure where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that we live in the New Testament, not the Old — which is where the offering of the first-fruits belongs. Then there’s the fact that early church leaders like the apostle Paul would reject contributions from Christians at times so that his ministry would not be an undue burden upon them. And yes, Christians are commanded to give “as they have purposed in their hearts” to their home congregations for the work of the Lord — but not for a payoff of some sort.
The dangerous part about this is the trend of trickle-down theology that seems to happen when a false doctrine takes too firm a hold among religious political figures. Shades of premillennialism infect church doctrine as a direct result of those teachings permeating conservative foreign policy rhetoric. Heaven help us if prosperity gospel teachings begin to infect the church.