The mantra of these proponents of the “prosperity Gospel” goes something like this: “Name it and claim it”; “The more you sow, the more you’ll reap.” All these affirmations are positive. Believers use it frequently. But even good things can be hijacked to serve selfish motives such as greed and ambition.
By making a stand against the prosperity gospel, we are not implying that money is evil, God doesn’t bless believers, poverty is good, laziness is a virtue or that ministries can flourish on sunshine alone. What is seriously wrong with the prosperity gospel is the use of stratagems such as ‘seed faith’, ‘name it, claim it’, ‘the more you sow, the more you’ll reap’ for personal gain and lavish lifestyles, often with little accountability. Paul strongly rebuked those who preach Jesus as a means of financial gain, referring to them as men “depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain" (1 Timothy 6:5).
When the ‘give that you might prosper’ message is overemphasised—and transparency and accountability lacking—financial scandals may result. This has already happened in some megachurches where massive funds from church coffers have been diverted towards fulfilling questionable goals and personal ambition. These fallen leaders initially start out with good intentions. But, along the way, as power, fame and money increase, their heavenly focus steadily diminishes and they get sidetracked from their noble pursuits. Such leaders, who are often hero-worshipped and surrounded by an elite ‘inner circle’, are then tempted to dip into the church funds and whitewash their acts through sham bond investments and “round-tripping” transactions.