How to get really rich: Brian Rosner

Who does not want to be rich? Most of us are unembarrassed by our desire for prosperity, only stopping short of approving that greed is good. “There is nothing wrong with wanting to get really rich,” says Brian Rosner, “as long as riches are properly defined.” In Beyond Greed, Rosner diagnoses the problem with the modern materialistic mindset in terms of unacknowledged greed – the forgotten vice – before treating it with the Bible's vision of riches beyond riches, outlining for us the gospel of God's prosperity for those who want to be truly wealthy.

Our desire for riches

In Beyond Greed, Brian Rosner demonstrates from the Bible that the problem with material riches is a deficiency of value: their true worth is so little that their acquisition is of no real and lasting gain. What is worse, over desire for material riches, known of old as greed, is the religion of our world and as such is to God nothing less than idolatry of another kind.

Greed is primarily a theological problem: what the greedy do with money is what idolaters do with their idols, and what Christians ought to do with God – they offer money their love; they give riches their trust; they give wealth their obedience. But this love is debasing, this trust misplaced, this service enslaving – and all instead of loving and trusting and obeying God with these riches, which is true life and reward and freedom.

Real riches

Contentment begins with the knowledge of the God who is himself content, who promises us true riches, and whose goodness ought to be trusted. Rather than fight our insatiable desire for riches, Rosner, following the Bible, redirects us with the offer of an alternative vision of real riches. In doing so he rightly identifies the solution to materialism and the prosperity gospel as a renewing of our modern mindset with a passion for the true wealth that Christ in the gospel gives.

The God who in jealousy competes with money for our affection not only stresses the futility of worldly wealth but also bids us to desire and seek after the riches that he offers because they are of undebatably greater worth. Throughout the Scriptures spiritual goodness, godliness and spiritual blessing is promised as true riches both now and for the age to come.

The development of the Bible's emphasis on prosperity through the Old Testament into the New is an unfolding revelation pointing forward to the future when the people of God will come out of the city of this world, doomed in all her riches (Revelation 18:4-19), and into the wealth of the new city, which is coming down out of heaven to us, with the eternal and incorruptible wealth of the glory of God, its radiance describe in terms of the brilliance of rare jewels, clear crystal, and pure gold, and whose people will be adorned as with the fine clothing of a bride (Revelation 21:1-21).

How to get really rich

Who wants to get really rich? Disturbingly, Revelation 3:17-18 describes the materially rich as actually pitifully poor, but also suprisingly appeals to them with a gospel of prosperity: The invitation of Jesus to those who are both rich and spiritually poor is to come buy without money what they can never afford, the spiritual riches of God – come in your poverty purchase without cost from God the true gold of godliness (Rf. Isaiah 55:1).

And for those who would, laying up this treasure starts now. Rosner's purpose in Beyond Greed is to renew our thinking, not only that we would turn our desire from money back to God, but also to free up our wallets, effecting an increase in our generosity: “The book is an attempt to disturb our pockets, not with practical tips and specific appeals, but rather by warming our hearts and clearing our heads” (p. 9).

The other (prosperity) gospel

Until relatively recently Christian attitude recognised greed as destructive, deceitful, and as nothing less than idolatry against the God who would have us love him using our money, not the other way around (loving money using God). But today the prosperity gospel of Pentecostalism gives greed a theological grounding.

In Australia the prosperity gospel is a growing message and is now increasingly adopted into the Pentecostal mindset, encouraged by the likes of Brian Houston of Hillsong College in Sydney, who wrote, You Need More Money: Discovering God's Amazing Financial Plan for Your Life (Castle Hill: Maximised Leadership, 1999).

Rosner is right to be sharp at this point: “The consequences of misreading the Bible on the subject of poverty and riches are grave. To claim that the benefits of peace with God include health and wealth... ignores the Bible's clear teaching on the dangers of greed and the freedom contentment brings. Further, it sets up false expectations so when hardship or trouble of whatever kind comes, believers are not equipped to cope, and may become disillusioned with the faith. With tragic irony, the real problem with prosperity preachers is that in focusing on material benefits, they undersell the gospel of beneficial hardship and glorious hope that boasts in knowing and being known by God.” (p. 41).


Rosner, Brian. Beyond Greed. Kingsford: Matthias Media, 2004. | joe towns: christian discussion on pentecost, charisma, pentecostal and charismatic beliefs, the Bible and Jesus; including the origin and history of pentecostalism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, gifts and miracles, divine healing and word of faith, prosperity and wealth, praise and worship, guidance and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.