“(They are) men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:5, 6)
Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul (the largest church in the world), believes that God is so good and provides so abundantly for our needs that He wants us to have the very best of everything. This means that Christians shouldn’t settle for less than top of the range items – we should have ‘Rolls Royce’ standards with respect to cars, homes and anything else that takes our fancy. After all, we are the King’s kids!
In his books, ‘The Fourth Dimension’ & ‘Prayer: The Key to Revival’, Cho tells us not to aim too low. He relates the story of how he needed a bike, a desk and a chair. When he asked God for them he received nothing for six months. Then he says that God spoke to him. Apparently the Lord told him that the reason why he’d received nothing was because he had not asked for things which would show God’s abundant blessing upon him. Accordingly, Cho decided to ask for the best and the Lord gave him a fully imported bike, a Philippine mahogany desk and an executive swivel chair. He loved the chair because he could wheel it around his room like a ‘big shot’ (his words). Cho commented: “God desires to give you more than you can dream or imagine… Do not be satisfied with the status quo!”
While people undoubtedly hang off Cho’s every word, his views should concern us. If nothing else, they should make us wary of his teaching. Why? Because Paul warns us that one of the marks of false teachers is that they believe that Christianity is the route to prosperity. Many of the celebrity preachers today like Benny Hinn and Robert Schuller are taking the line that Christianity is a means of gain. In fact one of the most popular errors in churches today is the false teaching that God’s plan for your life is perfect health and abundant wealth. Further, some preachers go even further and claim that if you’re sick or lacking considerable wealth then it’s because you don’t have enough faith.
However, Paul says that God is not interested in making us wealthy. On the contrary, God desires to make us godly. This is the ‘gain’ that God has in mind. It leads to true contentment.
What the false teachers are saying is hardly radical in the eyes of the world. We are living in a consumer culture where money is the measure of all things. Therefore, it should not surprise us when false teachers suggest that Christianity is a good way to become rich.