The “Word of Faith” – Prosperity Gospel Part 2

God still does bless His people, but what it boils down to is this: Is wealth having a lot of money, a sports car and a big house? Or is wealth being content with whatever it is that we have? I know of a man with a wife, a career, and children they live a modest life meaning he and his family are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but they have the necessities of life. When you speak with him there is a great air of peace surrounding him and he has always and often said “no matter where I find myself I am an incredibly wealthy man.” God does want to bless us, but we need to define blessing on God’s terms and not on materialistic man-centered terms. – “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

As for healing there are several different kinds of healing in Scripture. There is miraculous healing, there is healing that we could say comes through medicine. There is healing of emotions. And there is also ultimate healing — which comes through the death of the believer. When we die, we’re in God’s presence, and we await a redeemed, resurrected, glorified body; we’ll no longer have aching backs, headaches, or disease. It’s also a matter of timing: Is it now that we can expect these things or is it later; is it in the resurrection that we can expect these things? We need to first of all properly define health, wealth and happiness, according to God’s definition and then we need to say what Scripture has to say about the chronology of it as to when we’ll get it. We would say it’s later, not now. – “Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (1 Chronicles 29:12).

First of all, there’s a distorted view of God – God has become some sort of cosmic valet that we call upon when we need or want Him and He’s there to serve us, as opposed to us being here to serve Him. There’s an exalted view of man – teaching us that Christianity is ultimately about us, and what God wants for us and not about Jesus and God’s glory. Then there’s this idea of mind over matter – if you just pray, believe it, and have faith it will be done. There is also an overall fixation upon health and wealth and the idea that if you’re a good person  who loves Jesus and tithe regularly, you can expect to have a full wallet and perfect health. We are also presenting a false idea of salvation itself. If you listen carefully to the Word of Faith teachers – Prosperity Preachers it’s not so much that we’re saved from eternal damnation, saved from God’s wrath, but rather we’re saved from the unfulfilled, non-prosperous life NOW. – “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold.” (Jeremiah 50:6)

You can just flip on most any cable television channel and see preachers with a message that resonates with your desires. It’s not surprising with these type of messages of hope they pack churches full of people, and they seem to have lots of money – which would seemingly endorse and confirm their message. Of course, there’s a lot of great preaching on television today, there are definitely some God fearing biblical solid people out there. But how do you know who’s who, how do you know when to turn the TV off? – “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:1)

When TBN and cable television really began to solidify themselves, that seems to have really been a milestone in the prosperity gospel movement. If you go back to the 1970s to the early days, it was easier to spot the prosperity guys; they’re the guys driving the Rolls Royce who have the big hair and the white suits. Whereas, if we began to tell people just who the prosperity gospel preachers are today, they are so popular and appear to be authentic Kingdom builders, folks are more likely to turn on you and run you out of town than turn away from them.

Soft advocates are those who come from more of an orthodox background. At one point, if you go back far enough, you might find less prosperity preaching in their ministries. And even today in their preaching, they still try to get the Gospel in there and they give the Gospel lip service. Whereas, some of the more hardcore advocates — you will very rarely hear them try to preach what looks like the traditional Gospel. It’s almost all about avoiding suffering, avoiding losing your job, avoiding being poor. And you find the more egregious statements coming from them, as well, where they say to be in poverty is a sin.

When the lost world hears about the prosperity gospel, they lump everyone together because to a lost world, these are all people who claim to be Christians. Many people in a lost world can see the hypocrisy of people who go around preaching the word of God with their thousand dollar suits, expensive fashion accessories,  saying, ” You must pay your tithes, then an offering is also required if you really want to be blessed”  They can see it’s just a big scheme. But, unfortunately, that undermines the true Gospel. It’s happens to us all the time while witnessing. You’re out there talking to lost folks about coming God or to your church, and an objection is raised, “I’ve seen those guys, and I know what they’re all about, and all they ever want is money.”

People need to realize that the prosperity gospel is not just another variety of Christianity. It’s a baptized form of a secular heresy. It’s not just Christianity that’s a little bit off. It’s pagan teaching with a Christian face. If folks can start with that and grasp that, I am in no way saying that every advocate of the prosperity gospel knows the roots of their own belief system. But the movement as a whole and its core teachings, that’s where it comes from.

The Word-Faith “prosperity gospel” is little more than New Approach with a Charismatic veneer thrown over it. It is heresy because it makes God into some type of celestial slot machine and turns salvation into a self-centered acquisition of physical blessings. It is the perfect example of “culture religion.”

This doctrine of guaranteed healing and financial prosperity through the “spoken word of faith” ought to be opposed with all our might by all evangelical Christians. In my opinion, churches and evangelists who teach it are proclaiming a false gospel.

True godliness with contentment is in and of itself great wealth beyond our wildest imagination.  After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. (1 Timothy 6:8)  But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving worldly riches, from a fallen sinful world that is surely damned have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Wealth from God’s standpoint is not limited to material possessions. Biblical wealth may be defined as the ability to experience and enjoy God. The poor individual who knows God as Savior has indescribable wealth compared to the rich one who rejects Him. Friendship, godly wisdom, and a happy home are invaluable.

“God designed the human machine to run on himself. He himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.” – C. S. Lewis

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