Kenneth Hagin on Money
In talking about the two books of Hagin devoted to this topic there is an inclination to be a little apologetic and point out that what applies in Texas does not apply in the 3rd world, or something similar; but in fact what he says is so entirely unexceptionable and straightforwardly biblical (in so far as it goes) that this is not necessary; you almost have to be deliberately misreading to find anything untoward. We must however remember the setting in which he is speaking; it is hard to see how what is said would have much immediate applicability in a refugee camp or Iranian prison.
The books are Biblical keys to Financial Prosperity and The Midas Touch. The first sets out basic principles; the second was written somewhat later and attempts to counter unbiblical trends in the American religious world and which have been exported. Both are intensely biblical.
The first question asked in the first book is simple: is poverty a blessing or a curse? Well, put like that it is abundantly clear that poverty is a curse, and a range of scriptures can be used to illutrate – poverty is stated to be a curse in Deut 28. So, prosperity is a blessing and Gal 3.14 talks about the blessing of Abraham coming on the church; in fact it is clear that God made Abraham rich. In fact God has promised to make us rich!!! Heresy! Indeed this might well cause problems for some, especially where poverty has served to keep people closely attached to God; the idea can be seen as heresy, but – wait –
Someone said, “you mean God said He is going to make all of us rich?” Yes, that’s what I mean. ” Well do you mean He’s going to make all of us millionaires?” No. Again, that word ‘rich’ according to the dictionary means ‘a full supply’. I believe there is a full supply spiritually, physically and in every way in Christ Jesus. Thank God for abundant provision through Jesus Christ!
The point is made repeatedly, that rich means a full supply. (He says so much; this is picking out the central points.) Is this full supply automatic? No, of course not; there are qualifications. Hagin’s favourite verse on this is Is 1.19; “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land”. Again, we might wish to state some biblical cautions, but that is not the subject here.
Some people are more interested in making a dollar than they are in serving God. But spiritual things must come first if you are going to be spiritual. You must esteem the things of God – spiritual things – more than earthly things.
One qualification for prospering is to esteem earthly things lightly. You cannot put earthly things above spiritual things and expect to prosper as God desires you to.
No, it’s not wrong to have money. It’s wrong for money to have you. It’s wrong for money to be your ruler or master or for you to consume finances on your own lusts.
God wants you to prosper financially! But your prosperity depends on your putting first things first. There are qualifications involved.
(I would like to note that it is relatively easy to think in terms of esteeming earthly things lightly when you are surrounded by plenty. The weakness of the discussion comes when you are not and when you are surrounded by injustice.)
We need to exercise authority in this area. Everybody (this is me, not Hagin) needs to stand up for their rights when it comes to money – otherwise you are liable to get robbed blind; it is a pleasing reflection to me that the Trade Union movement in England was foundationally Christian; spiritually minded working men standing up for their dues. But there is a spiritual aspect to this too; for some people this would be where Hagin might get controversial, but really standing in faith, ie side by side with our heavenly Father, is no more than normal biblical practice. Believe God! And assert your spiritual rights against the enemy! – but you won’t be able to unless you are walking in love and are a generous giver yourself. Hagin is a thorough-going proponent of tithing and giving, of sowing and reaping. Unfortunately this is a particular area where wrong abusive teaching has come – this is addressed by Hagin in The Midas Touch. An important point Hagin makes is that faithfulness in finances will aid faithfulness in other areas; short-circuiting faith in this area, not obeying God in this area, not listening to and following his voice, will lead to short-circuits in other areas.
The final point of the first book is that “godliness is profitable unto all things” (1 Tim 4.8). This is the point to which Hagin always returns.
The second book, The Midas Touch, covers a lot of the same ground but bringing different thoughts to bear. Isn’t it interesting that one of the first events in Jesus life was the bestowal of valuable gifts – gold, myrrh and frankincense. However, the title of the book conveys a very fitting sense of ambiguity to the topic. Midas of course had this gift by which everything he touched turned to gold. There is a malady that can be very apparent in religious circles – wanting gold, and expecting gold as a result of faith without regard for the consequences to others. But Midas soon found that the ‘gift’ was much less desirable than he first thought – wanting and focusing on gold spoils everything else.
Hagin focuses on the fact that the biblical purpose of prosperity is to enable us to do God’s will. As people get away from this they invent a variety of abuses. (When I think of some of the things I have seen and heard!). Abuses include: overemphasis on money, gimmicks (eg ‘blessed sawdust’ where an angel is supposed to have walked), prosperity as a sign of spirituality, giving to get, naming your seed, the 100 fold return, the ‘debt-breaking anointing’…Hagin goes on to give sound practical advice in a range of areas we would all do well to heed, for example, not dealing with money on your own but being properly accountable to others.
The book concludes with 24 principles from the NT epistles on money, and a closing statement that includes this:-
Throughout this book, I have tried to stress balance and sound teaching, presenting the whole counsel of God
The two books do this in a wonderful way from a man with a most beautiful spirit. It is true that all he writes is in the setting of the prosperous USA and rather more is needed to help the impoverished than good teaching; nevertheless, it should be emphasized that in what he says Hagin says nothing that is not intensely Biblical. I think it is good to balance out what is said with the statement to ‘remember also the poor’; which means ‘do something about poverty’; and ‘remember those who are in chains’.