This past weekend, Christian-themed money guru, Dave Ramsey, went full prosperity gospel when he told the audience at Elevation Church that it was much more effective for the cause of Christ to leave a waitress three or four hundred dollars than it is to leave them a gospel tract.
During an illustration, he urges the audience to visit a Waffle House where poor people work, order a cup of coffee, and then slip three or four hundred bucks under the coffee cup and walk out. He then tells people to tell their kids to sit in the car and “watch God.”
“Here’s what she’ll do,” he explains as he holds the money to his chest mocking a poor waitress who is now “thanking God” for this money. “She’ll walk along and pick it up and her eyes will get big.”
“She’s looking around like it’s a trick,” he continued “because it’s been so long since anything good has happened to her.” He then explains prior to roaring applause that the reason she is doing that is that “God just showed up” and “you changed her net worth.”
“Even if she’s never been in church in her life, or even if she was there last week, 100 percent of the time,” he explains, she is looking up with the money on her chest and thanking God.
And, in probably one of the most blasphemous comments I’ve ever heard Dave Ramsey ever say, he explains that she knows to say thank you because “she can smell the aroma of the Holy Spirit you left dripping there.” He sums up, “you didn’t leave a tract, you left three, four hundred bucks.”
To clarify, a “tract” is a small pamphlet that contains the gospel, in case you’re questioning what he’s saying here. He is effectively saying that it’s better to give the waitress a lot of money than to give her the gospel. And we’re definitely not against being generous—Christians should be. But the way Ramsey put it here was clearly to demonstrate that giving this person cash, apart from any gospel truth, would still have the effect of drawing people to God. That is blatantly false according to Scripture:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” —Romans 10:14-15