What You Should Know About the Prosperity Gospel

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BaptistBibleBeliever

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#1
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-you-should-know-about-the-prosperity-gospel/

Last week U.S. Postal Service inspectors and IRS criminal investigators raided the offices of Benny Hinn, the infamous faith healer and “health and wealth” preacher. Here is what should know about Hinn and the prosperity gospel movement.

What is the prosperity gospel?

The prosperity gospel (also known as the “health and wealth gospel” or by its most popular brand, the “Word of Faith” movement) is a perversion of the gospel of Jesus that claims that God rewards increases in faith with increases in health and/or wealth. As Stephen Hunt explains,

In the forefront is the doctrine of the assurance of “divine” physical health and prosperity through faith. In short, this means that “health and wealth” are the automatic divine right of all Bible-believing Christians and may be procreated by faith as part of the package of salvation, since the Atonement of Christ includes not just the removal of sin, but also the removal of sickness and poverty.

What makes the prosperity gospel a false gospel?

David W. Jones outlines five errors of prosperity gospel teaching:
1. The Abrahamic covenant is a means to material entitlement.
2. Jesus’s atonement extends to the “sin” of material poverty.
3. Christians give in order to gain material compensation from God.
4. Faith is a self-generated spiritual force that leads to prosperity.
5. Prayer is a tool to force God to grant prosperity.

“In light of Scripture, the prosperity gospel is fundamentally flawed,” Jones says. “At bottom, it is a false gospel because of its faulty view of the relationship between God and man. Simply put, if the prosperity gospel is true, grace is obsolete, God is irrelevant, and man is the measure of all things. Whether they’re talking about the Abrahamic covenant, the atonement, giving, faith, or prayer, prosperity teachers turn the relationship between God and man into a quid pro quo transaction.”

Where did the prosperity gospel come from?

The prosperity gospel originated as an offshoot of Pentecostalism in post-World War II America. While it started in local congregations and in tent revivals, the movement gained a larger following through the use of radio and television, and became firmly entrenched in the 1980s with the rise of “televangelism.”

While not all prosperity gospel preachers are Pentecostal or charismatic (and most charismatic and Pentecostal Christians are not associated with the prosperity gospel), the movement is still largely connected to revivalist and charismatic churches. This has made it easier for the movement to gain traction in Africa, South America, and other areas of the world where Pentecostalism is rapidly expanding.

Who preaches the prosperity gospel?

The man who could be considered the father of modern prosperity gospel teaching is Oral Roberts. The faith-healing evangelist became so influential that he started his own school, Oral Roberts University (ORU). At the height of his influence, Roberts oversaw a ministry that brought in $110 million in annual revenue.

Kenneth Copeland, a student at ORU who served as a pilot and chauffeur for Oral Roberts, also became one of the most notorious (and wealthiest) of prosperity preachers. These men paved the way for the televangelists who became famous in the 1980s, including Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, and Robert Tilton.
Today, some of the best-known prosperity teachers are Creflo Dollar, T. D. Jakes, Guillermo Maldonado, Joel Osteen, and Paula White.

How can we identify a prosperity gospel preacher?

In a 2014 sermon, John Piper outlined six keys to detecting the prosperity gospel:
1. The absence of a serious doctrine of the biblical necessity and normalcy of suffering, the absence of a doctrine of suffering.
2. The absence of a clear and prominent doctrine of self-denial is a tip off that something is amiss.
3. The absence of serious exposition of Scripture.
4. The absence of dealing with tensions in Scripture.
5. Church leaders who have exorbitant lifestyles.
6. A prominence of self and a marginalization of the greatness of God.
(See also: The Story Behind John Piper’s Most Famous Attack on the Prosperity Gospel)

Who in America is attracted to the prosperity gospel?

In 2015, YouGov surveyed 1,000 American adults who describe themselves as either “born again” or as an evangelical Christian, and asked their views about particular preachers and whether wealth is a sign of God’s favor.

On the question, “Do you believe that prayer can make you wealthier?” 15 percent of whites, 42 percent of blacks, and 25 percent of Hispanics answered “yes.”

On the question, “Is wealth a sign of God’s favor?” 9 percent of white, 34 percent of blacks, and 24 percent of Hispanics said “definitely” or “probably.”

When it comes to black prosperity gospel preachers, black evangelicals were much more likely than either Hispanic or white evangelicals to have a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion. Seventy percent of blacks had a favorable opinion of T. D. Jakes compared to 10 percent for whites and 24 percent for Hispanics. (Most whites and Hispanics answered “not sure”—71 percent and 64 percent, compared to 15 percent for blacks.)

The results were much lower for Creflo Dollar: 28 percent of black evangelicals held a favorable view, compared to 3 percent for whites and 8 percent for Hispanics. (Most whites and Hispanics answered “not sure”—72 percent and 78 percent, compared to 26 percent for blacks.)

However, black evangelicals also held more favorable opinions of prosperity preachers who were not black. They were more likely to have a “very” or “somewhat” favorable view of: Joel Osteen (51 percent, compared to 22 percent for whites and 39 percent for Hispanics), Pat Robertson (41 percent, compared to 17 percent for whites and 14 percent for Hispanics), Benny Hinn (23 percent, compared to 4 percent for whites and 12 percent for Hispanics), and Kenneth Copeland (34 percent, compared to 8 percent for whites and 12 percent for Hispanics).

Additionally, one in four black and Hispanic evangelicals believe it is acceptable for religious leaders to become wealthy through their religious work compared to one in seven white evangelicals.
 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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I like my preachers like the original model, poor and humble and know the Bible.

One of my very few best friends has worked himself into the ground, quite literally building his church from the ground up with his own hands and very little help.
 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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The prosperity gospel is heretical because it says if you give, you will get more money back in return. Well the Bible doesn't say that. God will pay you back, but it won't necessarily be money. People go broke and lose their faith thinking Christianity lied to them.

Also prosperity gospel says if you're doing it right, no harm will come to you. But in real life it is possible to suffer for doing good.

Prosperity gospel can prevent people from hearing the true Gospel.
 

Adstar

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Jul 24, 2016
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The reverse side of the prosperity doctrine is the contempt it generates for the poor.. If people believe that being a good person will see God reward them with riches then the only conclusion that they can come up with when they see people in grinding poverty is that they are bad people and for this reason God is withholding His blessings from them...
 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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The reverse side of the prosperity doctrine is the contempt it generates for the poor.. If people believe that being a good person will see God reward them with riches then the only conclusion that they can come up with when they see people in grinding poverty is that they are bad people and for this reason God is withholding His blessings from them...
. . . or they just don't have enough faith, which is equally bad.
 

Adstar

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This is where the prosperity doctrine leads those who believe it, when their transnational idea of faith fails, when they don't get the blessings their religion teaches they that they will get::

 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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The preachers make it sound like it is a done deal. "Just have faith, my brother!<grunt> Drop your seed money<grunt> in the plate<grunt> and you will see it grow<grunt> into a might tree of blessings <grunt>. Oh, you only need the simplest mustard seed of faith<grunt>to prosper and to be <grunt>healed!"

Well, after a while the poor confused member of this church realizes that he isn't going to get that mighty tree of blessings. He must not have enough faith. Preacher said it was simple mustard seed faith. If he can't even come up with that much faith, he must not be saved. He gets discouraged and gives up. Just the way that Satan planned it.
 

mailmandan

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The prosperity gospel is heretical because it says if you give, you will get more money back in return. Well the Bible doesn't say that. God will pay you back, but it won't necessarily be money. People go broke and lose their faith thinking Christianity lied to them.
I once heard a sermon in a church that I temporarily attended years ago, in which the Pastor there was always trying to guilt the congregation into giving 10% of their income to the church and even challenged the congregation to give 10% of their income to the church for 90 days and said if God does not bless them, he will give them their money back. o_O

Many people eventually left that church because they were tired of hearing the Pastor CONSTANTLY talk about money. :cautious:
 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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I once heard a sermon in a church that I temporarily attended years ago, in which the Pastor there was always trying to guilt the congregation into giving 10% of their income to the church and even challenged the congregation to give 10% of their income to the church for 90 days and said if God does not bless them, he will give them their money back. o_O

Many people eventually left that church because they were tired of hearing the Pastor CONSTANTLY talk about money. :cautious:
The tenth, or tithe, of our income is generally agreed that that is what the Bible says we ought to give to support our local church. The prosperity gospel goes to extremes and tries to get people to give far beyond their reasonable giving in order to get 'things' from God.

Many churches also practice what is called 'faith missions' wherein they give some money over and above their tithe to foreign missions. In essence, they are investing in the mission field and they have a part in the souls that are saved. That is entirely voluntary and yes, God does bless faithful giving -- for the right reasons.

To expect God to give us a Cadillac or a new million dollar home in exchange for us letting the preacher drive around in a Cadillac and owning a million dollar home is definitely not something we would ever find in the Bible.
 

Adstar

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#10
This is where the prosperity doctrine leads those who believe it, when their transnational idea of faith fails, when they don't get the blessings their religion teaches they that they will get::

Sorry that should have been transactional not transnational... :oops:
 

Hevosmies

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Sep 8, 2018
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#11
Oy vey.

Why is it blacks always have it the worst? Even when it comes to false doctrine they buy into it the most?? I believe it has to do with high rates of POVERTY in the black community, therefore they are more likely to pursue wealth.

You can see this in the way the prosperity gospel is the only gospel going in Africa pretty much. Sad. One african REAL preacher from Zimbabwe said people went straight from the witch doctors to prosperity preachers, and keep doing the same things, mixing the two, yet it never dawns on these people they are STILL POOR!

Wish I could remember the pastor's name.. He was part of John MacArthur's conference somewhere.
 

Hevosmies

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#12
The preachers make it sound like it is a done deal. "Just have faith, my brother!<grunt> Drop your seed money<grunt> in the plate<grunt> and you will see it grow<grunt> into a might tree of blessings <grunt>. Oh, you only need the simplest mustard seed of faith<grunt>to prosper and to be <grunt>healed!"

Well, after a while the poor confused member of this church realizes that he isn't going to get that mighty tree of blessings. He must not have enough faith. Preacher said it was simple mustard seed faith. If he can't even come up with that much faith, he must not be saved. He gets discouraged and gives up. Just the way that Satan planned it.
BRAVO! This is EXACTLY what ive always wanted to say about prosperity gospel. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW IT OPERATES!
 

mailmandan

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Apr 7, 2014
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#13
The tenth, or tithe, of our income is generally agreed that that is what the Bible says we ought to give to support our local church. The prosperity gospel goes to extremes and tries to get people to give far beyond their reasonable giving in order to get 'things' from God.

Many churches also practice what is called 'faith missions' wherein they give some money over and above their tithe to foreign missions. In essence, they are investing in the mission field and they have a part in the souls that are saved. That is entirely voluntary and yes, God does bless faithful giving -- for the right reasons.

To expect God to give us a Cadillac or a new million dollar home in exchange for us letting the preacher drive around in a Cadillac and owning a million dollar home is definitely not something we would ever find in the Bible.
Many churches teach that we as Christians, under the New Covenant, are commanded to give a minimum of 10% of our income to our church. Others teach that preachers of these churches are turning the 10% tithe from the Old Testament for Israel into a monetary, legalistic prescription for Christians under the New Covenant.

In 2 Corinthians 9:5-7 we read: Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

I don't see a "specific percentage" given anywhere for the Church to give "monetarily" in the New Testament, although we see in Malachi 3:8-10 (written to Israel in the Old Testament) to "bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house." *Malachi 1:1 - A prophecy: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. That seems to be where preachers get the monetary 10% tithe for the Church, even though the Bible does not teach that in the New Testament. I certainly believe in giving and not just to my Church. I also believe that everything we own belongs to God.

You are right about the prosperity gospel being very deceptive!
 

preacher4truth

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Dec 28, 2016
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#14
This is where the prosperity doctrine leads those who believe it, when their transnational idea of faith fails, when they don't get the blessings their religion teaches they that they will get::

So she apostatized from a false gospel, then conflates all Christianity into a trap (bubble) from which others must escape. That's just one reason I abominate that teaching...
 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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#15
Oy vey.

Why is it blacks always have it the worst? Even when it comes to false doctrine they buy into it the most?? I believe it has to do with high rates of POVERTY in the black community, therefore they are more likely to pursue wealth.

You can see this in the way the prosperity gospel is the only gospel going in Africa pretty much. Sad. One african REAL preacher from Zimbabwe said people went straight from the witch doctors to prosperity preachers, and keep doing the same things, mixing the two, yet it never dawns on these people they are STILL POOR!

Wish I could remember the pastor's name.. He was part of John MacArthur's conference somewhere.
Blacks will often become rich through their pastor. As long as he has a diamond ring, a brand new caddy and a stately home . . . they can feel rich for making him rich.
 

Hevosmies

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#16
Do you guys believe that people in these churches are saved?
 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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#17
Do you guys believe that people in these churches are saved?
You can watch Joel Osteen and his prosperity gospel and hear how much of the Gospel of the death, burial and resurrection is discussed to know that that is not forefront on his agenda. I doubt that any of the others are much concerned with it either. They imply that one can buy their way into heaven.
 

Blik

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Dec 6, 2016
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#19
The Lord created our world to supply all with abundance. In God's eyes that is not just material possessions, but it includes enough material things to supply our needs. This follows our living in the way God created us and the world to live.

Man has not listened to the Lord to live in harmony with the way we have been created to live and if humans had always done that we would have a very different, and fine world.

Many of the Jews have listened to the Lord about how to live, and if you will google that race you find they lead the world in achievements and wealth.

Living in harmony with the way we are created to live is not such as giving in order to gain. The prosperity gospel is distorting the truth of the Lord. At the same time living in spirit and truth does result in gain. For some it would still mean they are poor in money but not always. It always results in peace, joy, and being fulfilled.

If you doubt this study the life style of most Christian nations compared to those deep in the occult.
 

BaptistBibleBeliever

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#20
I'd love to hear some prosperity preacher explain why Christians living in Afghanistan are not driving around in Cadillacs and living in luxury homes.

I'd also love to see these faith healers leave the glitter of the stage and lights and go into children's hospitals across the world and touch these kids for healing. But then, I guess they are ALL charlatans and cannot do such a thing.