Recently, my husband and I have been doing well financially; we both have stable income, and we just found out our housing will mostly be covered by financial aid this summer. After months of being without jobs, agonizing over pennies saved, and relying on other people’s generosity to survive, we made it. But after all this, I still don’t believe in prosperity gospel.
Prosperity gospel may be familiar to some of you: the belief that if you do the right things, you will have success is very popular in certain churches. It’s a staple of the Proverbs as well, like in the following verse:
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
But everyone who is hasty comes only to want.” (Prov 21:5, NRSV)
The verses in Proverbs claim that good things will happen–you just have to be righteous, and they’ll come to you! Many people take this as truth and encourage those less fortunate with it. But in my personal experience, and in the experience of others, this is not the case.
Was driving hundreds of miles to sleep on couches every few days, stressing to stretch my meager income, and struggling to plan a wedding a “sign of prosperity to come?” Was making below poverty level for weeks on end, praying endlessly for a job and that our cars wouldn’t break down, losing hair due to stress and clinging to sanity all just a “season that will pass?” I don’t want to think of it as waiting for future success; instead, I recognize it as fighting for life.
Millions of people experience worse than we did and never receive any reward. What would prosperity-gospel supporters say to the people who follow its requirements and still don’t make ends meet? I have a college degree, and it still took me seven months to find a full-time job, barely surviving three months on our own until I found a position. How can we expect the impoverished to survive any longer on mere words of “blessings” and “fruits”? What business do we have marking someone’s lack of success as “not having enough faith?”
What do you think? Does prosperity gospel have its uses, or is it completely bogus? Let me know in the comments!