The Prosperity Gospel.

     As I consider all of the problems that today’s evangelical church faces, there is once significant issue that needs to be cleared up as soon as possible, and that is the prosperity gospel. In this article, I want to focus on this one problem and discuss some historical and theological fallacies that accompany this way of “preaching”. I think that this is an issue that needs to be addressed by evangelical churches everywhere because it is a cancer to the church and a lie to the people!

     First, I think that it would be best to give a definition of what the prosperity gospel is described as. I have found a good definition on theopedia’s website that will suffice for this article. (Theopedia is an excellent site to find what you need).

Prosperity gospel supporters “believe that faith works as a mighty power or force. That it is through their faith that they can obtain anything they want such as health, wealth, or any form of personal success. However, this force is only released through their faith.” [1] Adherents of the Prosperity Gospel, almost always also part of the word of faith movement, usually hold to the tenet that God never grants suffering or poverty, and that both always should be attributed to sin and Satan in every way, and in no way attributed to God.

     Basically what theopedia is saying is that those who live by this way of thinking are saying that God wants us to keep an eye on heaven, but we do not have to wait for it. As one prosperity preacher would put it, “Your best life now”. Essentially what this is saying is that when we come to Christ, we are able access God’s awesome generocity and claim it for ourselves. Things such as good health all of the time, able to become wealthy if we do the right things, able to posses any kind of riches that we want. This is not right! Here are a few quotes so that you can get a picture of what is being said.

My God is a God who wants me to have things. He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don t know what kind of God the rest of y all are serving, but the God I serve says, ‘Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I m gonna make sure you re doing that’.” – Mary J. Blige

“If you want to rear financial blessings, you have to sow financially.” – Joel Osteen

“We were old sinners – but when we came to Christ we are not sinners anymore.” – Joel Osteen

     This idea of “prosperity” in Christian churches came along in the 1980’s when the practice of televangelism was a huge thing. This view then started to fade from the mainstream view due to scandals involving people like Jim Bakker and Jimmy Suaggart. Now it seems that after some key modifications in the “thinking” (now prosperity “lite”, whatever that means.) behind what “prosperity” in Christianity means, there seems to be a new group of people who like to preach according to the prosperity style. We now have people like Joel Osteen who is the senior pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas and Creflo Dollar’s World Changer ministry near Atlanta, Georgia in the mix who are prosperity focused and it is evident from there preaching.

     So what is the big deal with this so-called prosperity gospel? I want to jump right in and say that this is NOT the gospel of Jesus Christ! No where in the bible does it say that once we are saved that we gain all of the world. Even when we become saved, we will still face persecution. Let me share a few verses with you, to let you know what the bible says about being a believer.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. – 1 Peter 4: 12-13

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Matthew 6: 19-21

     As you can see from these two verses, the prosperity gospel has no merit to be preached. In Peter’s first letter he talks about not being suprised when bad things happen to you. I am positive once someone has come to Christ through the prosperity way, they will be greatly disappointed and that is very detrimental for that person as a new believer. They will not be living the life they may have thought they would. In the second passage of scripture from Matthew, he clearly says not to put your heart into earthly treasure where they can become corrupt, but to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ, where they can not become tainted. So what of our BMW’s and our money? They will all fade away in the end.

     There is a story in scripture that I love so much, because it shows exactly what God does do for us when we are facing hard times, and this is what needs to be spoken of when talking to the church.

And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me-to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. – 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10

     Wow! What an amazing story from Paul. Now this is what it is about. We are not promised a perfect life here on this earth, and in fact Jesus said other wise. This story is one of my favorites because it brings me back to reality on how much we need God. This gospel thing is not about us or what we achieve in our lives. Its not about how many expensive cars God wants to have. Its not even about how much money we can make and what we can do with it. It is only about Jesus! He is our Lord, He is our King, He is our Savior, and He will deliver us! It is about in that hard time when we have our own thorn in our own flesh that we can say, “God is more than enough”. God will pull us through this, and when we go to God, He will take care of us. Think about that!

     In concluding this article, I would like to say that all of this life is about giving glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him, we would be dead still in our sins and not have eternal life. This artile is not for the intent to bash people like Joel Osteen, but simply to get the word out that it is not the gospel. I would encourage you if you have not considered Jesus, to look intently at what the word says about Him, and what kind of life we are promised. I know from reading scripture that when comparing money and cars to Christ, Christ is way more worth having that anything else the world over. If you have any questions, just let me know. God bless.






1 Response to “The Prosperity Gospel.”

  1. 1 Shell
    July 22, 2008 at 1:27 AM

    I love the scripture you use in this. 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10

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