The False Gospel of Prosperity
Prosperity gospel preachers insist God wants believers to be healthy and wealthy. They say that He rewards growing faith with progressively greater measures of health and wealth.
Supposedly, when Christians push the faith pedal to the floor when they make requests, they obligate God to give them what they want. It’s like they order online whatever they want for $10, and God is the no-charge UPS or FedEx delivery Guy who places $100 worth of goods on their doorstep. If they had more faith, it could have been $10,000 worth.
Sounds attractive, doesn’t it? Most scams do. The prosperity gospel is what the Apostle Paul calls a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4, NIV) which isn’t the gospel at all. What is wrong with it?
· The prosperity Gospel misinterprets God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15, 17, and 22 as physical and material blessings instead of spiritual blessings.
· It motivates people to value the gifts they think they can get from God more than God Himself. God sees right through that (John 6:25–27).
· It encourages Christians to give because of what they can get from their giving rather than to give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Jesus told us to lend to our enemies without expecting anything back (Luke 6:35).
· It leads believers to think they should never suffer or have financial problems. When they do, they conclude something is wrong with them or with God. The Bible teaches that we experience pain because God’s original creation is broken because of sin (Romans 8:23). It also teaches that Christians will be persecuted (John 15:20). That isn’t painless.
· It teaches believers that prayer/faith is about manipulating God rather than changing them to become more like Jesus. It’s their will be done rather than God’s will be done. That is contrary to Matthew 6:10.
· It teaches that Christians generate faith rather than faith coming from God as a gift contrary to Ephesians 2:8–9.
· Unlike the Bible, it doesn’t teach that suffering is normal and necessary for believers (Philippians 1:29, Acts 14:21).
· It doesn’t teach the biblical doctrine of self-denial (Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23, Romans 8:13, Philippians 3:8).
· According to Kenneth Copeland, Christ’s atonement on the cross covered our sin, sickness, disease, sorrow, grief, and poverty.1 Not so.
· Its leaders misinterpret 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV) (“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich”) to teach an increase in material wealth rather than the exact opposite (2 Corinthians 8:14).
· Its leaders are in the spotlight. God’s grace and greatness are not.
· Its leaders live in mansions far above the level of the average person in their congregations. By contrast, Jesus had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20).2
The prosperity gospel is a different gospel than the one the Apostle Paul preached. Don’t be fooled by it.
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1. 5 Errors of the Prosperity Gospel (thegospelcoalition.org)
2. What You Should Know About the Prosperity Gospel (thegospelcoalition.org)
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