The ‘Prosperity Gospel’ is not the Gospel

Michael Horton:

“It is appropriate that a prosperity gospel be born in the hedonistic, self-centered, get-rich-quick milieu of modern American society. We are, by nature, pagan. Either our religion will transform us or we will transform our religion to suit our sympathies. . . .

The prosperity Bible does not deal only with freedom from sickness. It would have us read, ‘He himself bore our sicknesses and poverty in His body on the tree, so that we might die to infirmity and lack; for by His wounds you have been healed.’ In contrast, there was no question in the mind of the apostles that the gospel promised, ‘spiritual riches in heavenly places in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:3), not earthly ones. Our Lord was afflicted so that we could be healed. But that is a metaphor for the wonderful truth that the penalty justly meant for us was endured by Christ, our substitute. The rod of justice that dealt the Lamb of God such bitter blows declared us righteous!

It is to trivialize greatly the work of Christ to suggest that God the Father sent His only-begotten Son into the world to bear the world’s blasphemy, insults, and violence, and, most of all, to bear the Father’s wrath—all for increased cash flow and fewer bouts with asthma. It is to make a joke out of the great displeasure, anger, and wrath God has toward sin and sinful persons. God’s real problem, say the faith teachers, is not that we are wicked, selfish, God-hating rebels who deserve eternal punishment, but that we aren’t enjoying ourselves!”

– Michael Horton
quoted in John MacArthur, Our Sufficiency in Christ, Word Publishing, Dallas, 1991, pg. 251.

(HT: Todd Pruitt)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

2 thoughts on “The ‘Prosperity Gospel’ is not the Gospel

  1. The problem with portraying an extreme example to prove a point can be that the writer misses the element of truth in the case he castigates:
    Healing is in the covenant’s blessings. Shalom means wholeness and human flourishing as well as a tranquil mind and peace with God.
    There is a wholeness in ‘salvation’. Seek first the Kingdom, then all these things………

    • I think the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ is founded upon erroneous views of faith, and the gospel. I agree, covenant blessings/promises are “Yes!” in Christ, but we must understand them in relation to his Sovereign will. I think we can sum up every blessing in Christ like this: “My grace is sufficient for you.” When we see the context of that verse it stands in complete contradistinction to the principles and practices of the heirs of the ‘faith movement.’

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