To Prosperity Preachers: Save People from Suicide

This is the second post in a series of twelve. The content comes from “Twelve Appeals to Prosperity Preachers” found in the new edition of Let the Nations Be Glad.

The apostle Paul warned against the desire to be rich. And by implication, he warned against preachers who stir up the desire to be rich instead of helping people get rid of it. He warned, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

These are very serious words, but they don’t seem to find an echo in the preaching of the prosperity gospel. It is not wrong for the poor to want measures of prosperity so that they have what they need and can be generous and can devote time and energy to Christ-exalting tasks other than scraping to get by. It is not wrong to seek Christ for help in this quest. He cares about our needs (Matthew 6:33).

But we all—poor and rich—are constantly in danger of setting our affections (1 John 2:15-16) and our hope (1 Timothy 6:17) on riches rather than Christ. This “desire to be rich” is so strong and so suicidal that Paul uses the strongest language to warn us. My appeal is that prosperity preachers would do the same.


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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.