I saw an advertisement on the TV last night. “Evangelist” (I put the term in quotes because frankly I do not find much evangelism in his “ministry” and for the same reason I use quotes around ministry) Peter Popoff declared that God wants you to prosper financially according to 3 John 2 (“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”) The means to this prosperity is by writing the Popoff ministry and requesting the free gift of “miracle spring water.” The ad included testimonies of people receiving various checks in the mail for large sums of money. Wow, who could pass up a deal like that? Ummm, any logically thinking person!
Consider first, the credibility of the offeror. In 1986 Popoff was exposed as a fraud when it was discovered that his wife was transmitting information about people in his audience who had various illnesses while he claimed that God was miraculously revealing this information to him. As far as I know, Popoff never repented of his deception.
Second, consider the text he claims promises prosperity. This epistle of John was written to a man named Gaius. Gaius was greatly loved by John and apparently by all who knew him. He was also a man that was living his life by biblical standards in the will of God and one given to ministry to others. It might be said that Gaius was a model Christian. Yet Gaius was NOT financially prosperous or healthy. If anyone should have been according to the prosperity teachers, Gaius was it. 3 John 2 simply cannot support the contention that it is the will of God that Christians be financially prosperous.
Likewise, there is testimony in Scripture where other godly saints were poor. For example, when Peter and John went up to the Temple and saw the lame man seeking alms, Peter stated, “Silver and gold have I NONE…” (Acts 4:6) The apostle Paul said that he knew times of financial adversity (Philippians 4:120). Paul also was involved in taking up a collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
Finally, consider the “logic” of the offer. Popoff claims that the miracle water is a tool that generates faith which releases the prosperous graces of God. Apart from its contradiction with Scripture which declares that it is the Word of God that generates faith (Romans 10:17) it seems that if someone was going to request this miracle water, they already had faith that it would be beneficial to them.
Shortly before he died, Jesus uttered, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The minds of those who crucified Jesus were in neutral while their wills were in overdrive. Jesus had demonstrated with perfect clarity His deity and the logical response of the people should have been to receive Him as Savior and for the Jews, to welcome Him as their Messiah. Fortunately, forgiveness can be found in the grace of God, for the same lack of thinking today has led to all kinds of theological scams, like Popoff’s miracle water. There is an old proverb that goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Allow me to reword it for this THOUGHT. A moment or two of biblical thinking is much better than hours of regret from falling for a ruse.