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4 Ways Evangelicals Overcorrect for Prosperity Theology in Unhealthy Ways

However, in rejecting this teaching wholesale, sometimes evangelicals run the risk of having to surrender entire Bible verses to prosperity preachers so as to not give off even the slightest hint that prosperity theology approaches something close to the truth. 

We find one example of such a biblical truth in Proverbs 11:24: “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”

While this is proverbial wisdom rather than an ironclad covenantal promise, it does establish as a biblical principle the idea that those who give generously are often the very same people whose physical needs are provided for—and then some. 

Similarly, when the nation of Judah refused to bring forth its tithes to the Temple, resulting in God’s judgment, God sent the prophet Malachi to tell them, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:10). 

Again, we need to exercise care in the way we apply this verse to our own lives, as this is one of the very verses that prosperity preachers bandy about as a key proof text. This is a specific promise given to a specific people at a specific time, and that isn’t us in the here and now. 

Nevertheless, it does point to the fact that when we are generous, when we support the mission of God not only with our time but with our finances, blessing follows. While that blessing might not come in the form of a private jet (actually, that’s almost always not the case), people whose lives are marked by generosity are the people who are the happiest, most fulfilled, and abundant. 

In other words, a generous life is a life of blessing. 

Money Is Complicated. We Need Lots of Discipleship. 

Whether we are prone to chase wealth or idealize poverty, money has a great deal of power over us. And so it is an area of life where we need constant discipleship. We must always take care that we do not sit under teachings that weaponize it, whether it be prosperity preachers seeking personal gain or the unhealthy responses to such a grievous theological error.