Meyer, Mennonites and the prosperity gospel

Jan 25, 2019 by

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“I’m glad for what I learned about prosperity, but it got out of balance. I’m glad for what I’ve learned about faith, but it got out of balance.”
— Televangelist Joyce Meyer, in a recent Instagram post.

Well-known Bible teacher Joyce Meyer appears to be tempering the kind of “prosperity gospel” she and many of her TV preacher and megachurch pastor counterparts have promoted — one that promises personal wealth as a reward for generous giving. Yet Meyer undoubtedly sees her massive personal prosperity as a direct result of her faith in God.

And according to allchristiannews.com, God has been very generous to Joyce and her husband Dave, who together earn a salary of well over $1 million a year. They have been blessed with not one but five luxurious homes, and in 2003 she was able to pay a whopping $10 million for a private jet. And yet the ministry pays no property taxes, apparently another miraculous gift, according to this source.

Few Mennonites I know subscribe to a theology that suggests we will become personally wealthy if we are faithful to God, or if we contribute generously to the church and to causes like that of Joyce Meyer Ministries.

Yet we may still find ourselves mostly agreeing with the following:

1. If we enjoy more prosperity than others, it’s all because God has blessed us in special ways.

2. Our possessions and our investments and bank accounts are fundamentally ours to use and enjoy, assuming we give generously and tithe faithfully.

3. If we earn our wealth honestly, either through profitable businesses or high-paying professions (and give generously), we are entitled to enjoy the higher standard of living that goes with that level of prosperity.

4. God chooses to prosper people in some privileged parts of the world far more than in the majority of poorer nations.

5. None of us can be expected to give in a way that actually makes us poorer, but we each have the right — and even the responsibility — to accumulate more personal wealth each year of our working life.

Whenever Mennonites have become financially prosperous they have suffered from a decline in numbers and/or even worse consequences. Witness the experience of Dutch Anabaptists and later Mennonites in Russia and the Ukraine.

Sadly, what we fail to learn from Jesus and the prophets we may be destined to learn from history.

Here’s a link to more on this subject: https://harvyoder.blogspot.com/2011/11/christmas-economics-how-both-pentateuch.html.

Harvey Yoder is an ordained pastor and member of Family of Hope, a small Virginia Mennonite Conference house church congregation, and blogs at harvyoder.blogspot.com.


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