The conservatives equate personal economic prosperity with the blessings of God.
Perhaps you have heard the expressions prosperity preacher, faith message, prosperity Gospel, confess it and possess it, name it and claim it, mark it and park it, and the like. These are put forth by those claiming to speak the word of God and who give teaching the Gospel a bad name. They go on endlessly about how being or becoming a Christian will bring the blessings of worldly prosperity in the form of personal wealth in the form of mammon and worldly material possessions. Sure those things will flow in if the money stops with the preacher and the laity willing to sell out to the devil (worship mammon). They preach self-centeredness. The reward for professing Jesus they claim is financial security or bounty in the churlish, non-liberal sense.
They create megachurches based upon motivational speaking and writing techniques, entertainment production-values, and providing consumers with what those consumers are told to want by the corporations. This is church capitalism. This is church as a commercial profit center. This is church as industry, business. It runs diametrically opposed to Jesus cleansing the temple, clean out the commerce. Yet, the preachers serve this stuff up to their parishioners in the name of Jesus. It's sheer blasphemy.
There is nothing wrong with being motivated. In fact, Jesus asked us to be motivated and joyous about the message. The problem is that there is so much comfort while so many others are neglected and left suffering directly because of that very comfort (hoarding).
The idea of feel-good ministries, the idea of being trouble free about the correctable plight of others is just not in the Gospel message. Otherwise, why would Jesus have instructed the rich to give all to the poor? The Gospel is clear about not being troubled about being a Christian, but not about mercilessness. Otherwise, why would Jesus have gone to the cross to draw eternal attention to what was, and still is, wrong with this world? The feel-good message of some ignores the rest of the message. It is true that the Christian must resign him or herself to the rejection of the message by others. That though does not relieve anyone of the duty to feed the lambs and sheep both physically and spiritually.
They get their version of prosperity from, among other things, the saying of Jesus concerning the fig tree and the mountain.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (Matthew 21:21).
The prosperity preachers (capitalists) don't differentiate though between getting their rewards here and now as a result of selfish acquisitiveness and hoarding versus getting it on account of justice (sharing all) after persevering.
They say that if you give to their ministries, money supernaturally will pour into your life. Nothing is said about the pitfalls of riches or that one may be getting one's evil reward now, thereby, missing out later on the non-worldly, real peace. Jesus said, "He that findeth his life shall lose it." (Matthew 10:39). These false preachers are telling people to find their lives here and now in this world of mammon, thereby, being cutoff from God and Jesus in the new earth and new heaven. What goes on here?
It is a pyramid scheme using the spirit world. The false ministry becomes wealthier and wealthier. These conservative preachers become multi-multi millionaires. For instance, conservative, ostensible Christian televangelist Pat Robertson's personal net worth has been estimated to be anywhere from two hundred million to one billion in United States dollars. He keeps his personal net worth a secret though. That's the reason for the estimates. Now how can he be so personally wealthy when Christians are supposed to give and not hoard? Many such self-styled ministers have accounting setups that on paper show them receiving even little to no compensation from donations, etc. However, they live in their own posh mansions, drive, or are chauffeured in, ultra-expensive luxury cars, and wear the most expensive clothes and accessories. They travel in luxury. They eat whatever they want with cost being no object. Little to nothing is said about the real deeds. Much lip service is offered about faith. There is much talk about the message of American-style prosperity. Sometimes there are deeds, but those come as afterthoughts or for appearance sake to deflect criticism. The financial books of many of their ministries are closed.
Of course, people should be able to donate in secret just as Jesus said that one is to give alms in secret. Now, ministries are also supposed to be able to give in secret from what they are given and for the same reason that individual donors are to give in secret. This is supposed to be the case until all has been fulfilled.
One may ask how this fits in with the concept that the means to the end are the end (heavenly means will result in heavenly ends)? Well, once all people are in the spirit, secrecy will be moot. No one will be giving for the sake of accolades, and everyone will know that. All will give and share all in the real spirit of unity that precludes all motivation of selfish gain even in its most subtle forms. Therefore, you should be able to see that giving in secret is reconciled with the concept that the means to the end are the end. The means (secret giving in this case) are completely consistent with the spirit of heaven.
However, there are people who are very busy attempting to make secret giving by ministries all but impossible. In their drive to expose corrupt ministries under the guise of protecting donors and other seemingly laudable goals, they are directly undercutting part of the Gospel imperative that is the commandment of Jesus to give in secret to decrease in the world the evil that is the motive of giving for selfish reasons. They are trying to force faithfulness into the inherently unrighteous system of mammon. They are trying to force heaven. It can't be done. They are promulgating and publishing their arbitrary rules of mammon for all ministries. They are also building for themselves a bit of empire attempting to force all ministries to have to be cleared through them to reach people for donations. They are endeavoring to set things up so that without their stamp of approval, ministries will be viewed with automatic suspicion. That is not a good thing for the real Church. Meanwhile, how much are they paying themselves for their efforts? How democratic are they within their organization?
Nevertheless, a real ministry working to bring forth has no reason not to be open, honest, and direct about total donations and ministerial wages or expenses or however necessities are met. As for divulging the identities of donors or recipients or how much or what those donors give or recipients receive, no one should ask that information for purposes of policing ministries from the outside. Even internally, members should not be motivated to have such information in a spirit of policing before there is any reason. It harms the spirit. It is doubt. It is the yeast of the Pharisees. It is the leaven that leaves no area untouched.
With all that said, the system of mammon has made complete secrecy all but impossible. Therefore, just as Jesus paid taxes with the mammon of the caesars, ministries are coerced so as not to offend the powers that be. The line, across which one must not cross, however, is told to one by the Holy Spirit within, moving one to act in accordance with good conscience. Ask and you will be told. It is a learning process.
Also, their will always be critics if a minister even has a foxhole in which to sleep. Such critics just do not understand that Jesus stayed in the homes of the riches people in town when they opened their homes to him and he could offer the peace to them. He did not sell out to those who did not receive or have the peace. On those occasions, Jesus took his peace with him when he left. Where one is obviously living within normal means (a worker deserves his wage), the world should not pry as if a minister is a common criminal, even guilty in the mundane sense until proven innocent. It is simply to say that one should know them by their fruits.
If would-be ministers are rich in the worldly way, they will live that way and will have accumulated that worldly wealth against the admonitions of the one they claim to follow whose word they claim to be spreading. If they are unrighteous about that (by being rich in that evil way), what else on even more weighty matters are they unrighteous? What are they spreading that is leading the people miserably astray? Are they touting the evil of war as a righteous and just thing for example? If they stand one righteous thing on its head, they can do it to everything else in their selfishness. They put right for wrong and wrong for right.
This is a grave danger to those who fall prey and remain with these ministries or stay in these churches rather than following the real good shepherds. By their actions, these capitalist self-styled preachers facilitate the sons of darkness (perdition), the unenlightened. The hard-sell prosperity preachers are by no means the only danger that is false preaching. False preachers abound. We are here talking about the occasional misstatement or misstep by the otherwise striving minister. We are talking about the self-styled preachers, ministers, pastors, priests (call them what you will) who are in bed with mammon. These are the ones with multi-multi million dollar operations, or wish they had one, who are not spreading the real word and doing the real deeds as Jesus admonished. They may have started on a shoestring. They may have given all away at one time. They did not though remain in that spirit. If it was ever real, they fell away. Now, the televangelists are nearly all arch conservatives who pledge their allegiance to the country of mammon as if it is one and the same with God.
There are those who call themselves American Christian conservatives who will simply say that they do not subscribe to this prosperity preaching. The truth though is that even though they may not be as blatant about it as those unabashedly creed-of-greed preachers themselves, they do think of their prosperity as being due to their being American (land of plenty, bountiful, land of opportunity, blessed of God, land of the American Dream, etc.). However, being a conservative American with financial success is the reward of selfishness. Also, being a conservative American without financial success is nevertheless to have committed the sin of hoarding in one's heart.
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. (Luke 19:26).
Hath what? Hath the spirit to give and share that calls sinners to repentance and has brought forth the fruit thereof. What shall be taken away? From those who do not have the spirit, who have not brought forth the real fruit, even all their personal wealth and possessions shall be taken from them and even their own souls.
The conservatives do not have faith that God will see to it that there will be plenty for all if all give and share as the original Apostles did in the first church. The conservatives only have faith in capitalism: Selfishness. They give in selfishness. They give to get, supernaturally or otherwise.
Where is the money going to come from is their mantra question. The starving masses around the globe are just not in the forefront of their minds. They are out of sight and out of mind until some new disaster strikes and the media then cover it primarily as much for commercial ratings and for appearances sake rather than solely out of genuine concern with solving the problem at its root cause: Greed.
The conservatives own more and more of those media, where coverage and images that are unpleasant reminders of the constant depravation and oppression brought as a result of the greed of the rich are kept away from their audiences. The implications that would be made clear by real coverage would be the downfall of their own for-profit news and religious-broadcasting industries.
The so-called conservative Christians equate personal economic prosperity with the blessings of God. They have their prosperity preachers and multimillionaire preachers with their pyramid schemes built upon distorting the message of Jesus. Many have been fraudulent about total donations, wages, expenses, and where all the donations go (how they are used).
Their god is unrighteous mammon. They will lie about more than prosperity. They have no faith in God, because they doubt God about where the money will come from if they give to the solution for the poor rather than to rich churches for preachers earning even seven and either figure compensation packages. Their so-called blessings are the receipt of their reward now for having bowed down to mammon. What they receive is not a reward for righteousness, because they hoard in the face of starvation and other great want. Theirs is far from the real bounty described by Isaiah. The conservatives and many false liberals too have their conspicuous consumption that others may envy them. They have their reward.
The prosperity preachers show off their personal worldly gain and brag about it and about the personal worldly gain of their followers in order to engender envy in outsiders. They have their reward.