The Prosperity Gospel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 3, 2017 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The Prosperity Gospel is perhaps the most popular “Christian” message that has come from the United States of America over the last several decades, but it is not without controversy. Is it a Biblical understanding or is it something entirely different? In my studies, I have come to conclude that the Prosperity Gospel is not only a false teaching, it is actually something even more wicked than a mere misunderstanding of certain passages of Scripture.

While there are several degrees of this teaching, the overall concept of the Prosperity Gospel is that God wants each of us to prosper in this life, here and now. There is truth in that statement; however, what does “prosper” mean? When you read the Bible and it talks about prospering, it is usually very different than what these preachers say “prosper” means. The Bible’s meaning of prosperous means to be successful in the context of God’s kingdom and God’s purposes. These preachers however always speak about three things: health, wealth, and prosperity. They usually mean business and earthly tasks, and always for personal or self’s purposes. Any mention of God is in context of him acting as your butler. There is nothing wrong with having health, wealth, or having a successful business in and of itself, however, there is something very Satanic in this teaching.

In secular, pagan, and/or occult circles, a theory has arisen called “The Law of Attraction.” The basic premise is this: your thoughts create energy and that energy can be positively or negatively charged. The charged energy will then bring in or “attract” that which you think about and thus bring it into reality. If you learn this you can focus your brain, constantly speak out what you desire, and create your own reality. The three major areas of life where this “law” is most applicable are health, wealth, and prosperity. Some of the promoters of this “law” will actually suggest that you can become your own god because of this law, because ultimately God is nothing more than this “energy.” One documentary on this “Law of Attraction” actually said: “The power within you is greater than the power in the world” (1 hr 19 min in). If your ‘heresy alarm’ is blaring, you would not be incorrect. Yet this is the very thing being promoted by the Prosperity Gospel preachers, in small degrees or large degrees.

What makes all this Satanic? I do not use the term ‘Satanic’ frivolously here. I say it because what the Prosperity Gospel and this “Law of Attraction” offers is the exact same thing Satan offered Jesus: health, wealth, and prosperity. It is the exact same thing that Eve desired when she ate from the tree. It is the exact same three enemies of 1 John 2:16. And each one is a corruption and abuse of how God created us. Let me explain.

John’s enemies are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The three temptations of Jesus were to make bread of out rocks, to jump from the temple peak to prove God’s promises and to make a public spectacle, and to worship the devil in exchange for the whole world political arena. Here Jesus was tempted to take care of his physical health (lust of the flesh), then to do his ministry riding on popularity (pride of life), and to take all the world has to offer (lust of the eyes). What about Eve? She saw the fruit as pleasing to the eye (lust of the eyes), good for food (lust of the flesh), and desirable to make one wise (pride of life).

Each of these correspond to our three major enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The flesh, the sinful self, seeks food, but at self’s control. The world and the pleasures of it seek political control and monetary control. And the devil’s primary sin was to be like God (the pride of life). See anything similar to these temptations and what the Prosperity Gospel and what the “Law of Attraction” offers? I do. It gets better.

We are made in God’s image. God is three persons in one, and we are three parts in one. God is Father, Son, and Spirit; we are spirit, soul, and body. Each of these temptations directly apply to our three parts. Food and health are used by the body, but when we make the body the focus instead of God, we get a corruption and a misuse of that body. This is the temptation from our sinful flesh. The spirit depends upon spiritual resources. Wealth easily leads to a dependence upon physical resources rather than God’s resources. That is why Paul said the love of money is a root of all forms of evil and those who desire to be rich fall into temptation; 1 Timothy 6:3-10 is a direct charge against the Prosperity Gospel. This is the temptation of the devil. And then we have prosperity and popularity, which is the temptation of the world and the world’s system, by appealing to the soul and our emotions. Each temptation takes which God has made and uses it for selfish purposes and selfish manners, and not as God initially desired. A Christian can have health, wealth, and prosperity, but it is only Godly if God is the one controlling it and the central focus of using it, not self.

Now, here is the great danger to the Prosperity Gospel. It works. It really does work. Those who have learned to practice the Law of Attraction find whether they acknowledge God or not that it does work. It works in the same way Ahab’s greed and covetousness got him Naboth’s Vineyard. Jezebel took care of business and got Naboth out of the way so Ahab could take it over. It works in the same way Israel got quail because they thought the manna God provided was insufficient for them, or in the same way they got a king. You can pursue these things and get them, but you will be cursed with them in the process. Wealth is not necessarily a blessing; sometimes it is a curse. The following statement really got my attention when I saw it:
"We must pray according to the will of God precisely because God is not the only one who answers prayer. You heard that right. If you pray for yourself or others out of the direct and explicit will of God, or meddle with prayers in others' lives, there are plenty of demons more than happy to take your unbiblical or misplaced prayers and ‘answer’ them." (Gregory Reid, War of the Ages, pg 134-135)

If you pray out of greed and covetousness, not only may God give you what you desire and curse you for it, he may turn the demonic hosts loose on you and let them give you want you want, to your own detriment. And worse yet, those who pursue these things not only reject sound doctrine, but will heap up teachers who will give them what they want. Some of these teachers may not be controlling a group of gullible followers. Some of these teachers may be God’s initial judgment upon a wicked, greedy people. The Prosperity Gospel does not seek God. It seeks God’s benefits without submitting to his lifestyle. If you would like specifics from some of the Prosperity Gospel preachers, or responses to their teachings in greater detail, please respond to this post in the comments or on Facebook. Please be watchful with what and who you are listening to, because not all who claim to be Christian actually are.

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mrdovie said...

I've heard prosperity preachers quote Job's comforters promising houses full of gold, even though God says they were not right and had to repent at the end of the book.

Charlie said...

I haven't heard those comments, but I don't listen to them on a regular basis. I can see some of Job's friend's comments showing the ideas of how God preserves his people, however as you say, they missed the point by assuming Job had sinned. I can see how such passages can be used.

The most startling one I heard was regarding Numbers 11 when the Israelites complained about the manna and wanted quail. So God gave them quail, so much that they would get sick of it. And God cursed them for it. This one prosperity preacher praised Israel for having a "bigger mindset" and actually said God blessed them for it. I can give book and page number for this one if so desired.