The prosperity gospel, so popular & pushed on so many poor and minority people, preaches the idea God gurantees truly faithful believers physical health and financial wealth, is not new. These preachers, often very wealthy from the massive contributions from the faithful believers, ususally show all the trappings of wealth, expensive cars, home, life styles, etc. Their message is all over radio, televison and now the internet yet most of these "believers" remain relatively poor throughout their whole lifetimes.
The prosperity preachers appear to be more interested in their own pocketbooks. But then, so are businesses that depend heavily on you, the often innocent taxpayer.
In the light of today's weak economy, perhaps the prosperity movement should consider focusing on financial literacy, personal discipline and saving for the long term, rather than emphasizing supernatural possibilities. (Like hitting the lottery jackpot) Churches can be effective in teaching people how to convert from a culture of borrowing and spending to a culture of saving and investing.
In Luke 15:28, Jesus is quoted: Suspose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (Not in Peoria but then Jesus was not aware of our culture today of consultants, enginners, moral lacking attorneys, architects and "blue sky" seerers.) In Jesus teachings, Christians have suffiecent content for financial guidance and prudent approaches to managing money.
Reasonable people know that faith in God must be accompanied by responsible actions to acheeive lasting prosperity. Educdation, hard work and discipline are key components to any authentic prosperity plan.
If God were a cosmic Santa Claus, then the entire economic crisis could be brought to a halt by making a list of needs and sending them to him.
My beliefs but the content of this article comes from DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., the senion pastor of the First Baptist Chuch of Lincoln Gardens, in Somerset, N.J. and appeared under the title of "Black Churches and the Prosperity Gospel", 10/1/10 in the WSJ.
With local elections on the horizon in Peoria, it is my fererent hope that those elected stop depending on miracles and risky projections to balance their respective budgets. The Peoria County Board on which I just completed serving 10 years, had a balanced budget when I retired. It was out of balance when I was first elected. Hope the new County Board members and new administrator help keep it balanced.