by Samuel Brooks
What’s the “Prosperity” Gospel? Is it even Biblical?
According to Collins English Dictionary, the prosperity gospel is “a modern version or, according to some, perversion of the gospel according to which the full blessings of God available to those who approach Him in faith and obedience include wealth, health and power.” Basically, the theology emphasizes that it’s God’s will for you to be happy. This is supposedly caused by “having faith” and donating to religious causes in order to “increase your material wealth” [Prosperity Gospel].
First off, you can’t take your material possessions to heaven (Matthew 6:19-20), and secondly, this is idolatry (e.g. Exodus 20:3-6, Leviticus 19:4, Isaiah 44:9-20, Psalm 16:4 and 135:15-18, Habakkuk 2:18, 1 Peter 4:3, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Revelation 2:14 and 21:8). Jesus even says “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24 NLT). 1 Timothy 6:9-10 ESV says “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Particular ideologies, like the prosperity gospel, are simply unbiblical! The Gospel isn’t about making us happy and wealthy but, instead, shaping us into the image of Christ. Matthew 10:37-38, 16:24; Luke 9:23-24, 14:26; and Mark 8:34 and 10:17-31 talk about how, in order to be true disciples of Christ, we must be willing to sacrifice everything. Other verses that I recommend reading are Romans 8:7-8 and Galatians 6:8. In Galatians 5:24 NIV, we read “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 says “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” Also see Acts 20:28-30, 1 John 4:1-6, Matthew 7:15-20 and 23:1-29, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, and 2 Peter 2.
Some of the prominent leaders in this theology include, but isn’t limited to E.W. Kenyon, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, Robert Tilton, T.L. Osborn, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, Mike Murdock, Rick Warren, Reverend Ike, and Kenneth Hagin. Now, I have no problem with Christians utilizing television, film, radio and books as a means of spreading the Gospel. The issue is whether the message that’s being presented is the TRUTH or a manipulation and an alternative of what’s stated in Scripture which is what Satan does. Romans 3:4 even states “Let God be true but every man a liar.” You need to research and examine what’s being taught, regardless if it’s by those who preach this false doctrine or anyone else outside of this theology, to be sure that it’s supported by the context of Scripture (Acts 17:11 and 1 John 4:1).