Prosperity Gospel or Greed Gospel? Name It and Claim It

Corey —  August 18, 2009

       So far we’ve looked at the greed gospel claims that God wants to make all Christians rich and that poverty comes from a lack of faith. The Bible is clear that these false doctrines hold no truth. Today we’re going to look at the “Name It and Claim It” or “Blab It and Grab It” idea that’s taught widely by many of the prosperity evangelists.

Claim #3: To Get What You Want, Just Name It and Claim It

       The idea of saying what you want and believing God will give it to you is based on a false concept of God as your personal ATM. The “Word of Faith” movement teaches this belief as if God is more or less obligated to give you whatever you ask Him for. But this view of God is not Biblical at all. Yes, Jesus taught us that whatever we ask of God will be done, but does that mean we should ask for riches? Would Jesus have expected His disciples to pray for riches or anything that was against the will of God? Where did He ever teach us such a thing? We are to look to God for our needs, but He is not obligated to give us anything and everything we want.

       It’s really quite the opposite. We are obligated to give God everything we are and all that we have because of His great gift to us. Have those who seek material abundance from God forgotten the gift He gave us in Jesus? How can we need anything beyond Him? Jesus taught us to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first and God will take care of our needs.

       But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 (WEB)

       This is after Jesus teaches us that we shouldn’t worry. Instead, we should be completely focused on letting God rule our lives and on seeking His righteousness. Pray for God’s Spirit to lead you in His holy ways and to help you live in a way that honors and glorifies Him. Don’t get caught up in praying to Him about getting rich or having great health. Trust that His will is the best for you, and seek only that. Jesus warned that those who get caught up in the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this life will not prosper in the Kingdom of God:

       That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

Luke 8:14 (WEB)

       Don’t get caught up in what the world deems successful or good. Seek God in all things and pray only for His will to be done. Jesus didn’t teach us to pray for wealth or anything that is not within God’s will. In the Lord’s Prayer, we’re taught to pray for God’s will to be done on earth just as it is in heaven. We’re also taught to pray for our daily bread – just enough for our needs – not riches and wealth and prosperity and earthly honor.

       7 In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him. 9 Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’

Matthew 6:7-13 (WEB)

       Jesus even prayed for God’s will to be done even when He knew it would require Him to give up His life. We should emulate Him in this as in all other things. We should pray for God’s will to be done even if it’s something we don’t want.

       41 He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and he knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. 44 Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

Luke 22:41-44 (WEB)

       God will provide the strength to get us through any trial that comes our way. Even if it results in death, His plan is to have us in Heaven with Him. Only those who value the world and this life would count that as a loss. Those who believe the greed gospel’s teaching that we need only name and claim whatever we want are being misled. God doesn’t just give us whatever we want whenever we want it. We must pray with the right motives.

       You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures.

James 4:3 (WEB)

       Asking for your own pleasure is not a right motive. Asking for more than you need is not a right motive. And asking for anything other than God’s will is not a right motive either. We’ll only have the right motives when we’re seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness above all else!

       Do not forget that the Father knows what we need. Do not be deceived by riches or the cares of this world. Set your heart on seeking God in all things and following His will regardless of your own wishes. Then you will prosper in the Lord and fully know what it means to have an abundant life in Him.



Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.