By Sean DeMars Explain the True Gospel How do we help our family members, friends, coworkers, or even fellow church members who are swept up in the prosperity gospel? Here are a few simple ideas as you prayerfully engage their error. The most important way to help is to teach them a right understanding of the gospel. According to Scripture, the gospel says we were dead in sin (Eph. 2:1), separated from God, and destined for his holy wrath (Isa. 59:2). But even when we were dead in our sins, God loved us and sent his Son to die for us (Rom. 5:8). Through Jesus’s death and resurrection, God has reconciled us to himself (2 Cor. 5:18). The benefits of Christ’s work are applied to us personally when we recognize this message to be true and respond by repenting of our sin and trusting in Christ alone, joyfully recognizing Jesus’s lordship over our lives (Mark 1:15; Rom. 10:9; 1 John 5:3). This
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Sam Storms: On more than one occasion I’ve heard contemporary proponents of the so-called prosperity gospel appeal to Paul’s use of the principle of sowing and reaping to support their view. But was Paul really an intentional or inadvertent advocate of this view? Twice in his writings Paul appeals to the principle of sowing and reaping when making an appeal for Christians to be generous and sacrificial in giving money to ministry causes. First, in Galatians 6 he writes: Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do
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Conrad Mbewe: Prosperity gospel preachers all over the world claim that Christianity, when well understood and applied, is meant to give you a long life of health and a lot of wealth. I often tell friends in the West that the prosperity gospel in Africa has a slightly different texture and emphasis from what was initially imported from there. Prosperity teachers in the West often teach carefully selected passages of the Bible in ways that are not in line with the original author’s intent. In Africa, prosperity teachers emphasize the “anointed man of God” who has power to deliver you from your poverty through his prayers. This is a very serious problem in Africa. It has spread like a wild forest fire. I am not sure about the Islamic states in north Africa, but south of the Sahara Desert it has become the most conspicuous form of Christianity. This is because prosperity gospel preachers tend to buy up time on
read more How Does COVID-19 Expose the Lie of the Prosperity Gospel?
David W. Jones: More than a century ago, speaking to the then-largest congregation in all Christendom, Charles Spurgeon said, “I believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You will say, ‘Are we not to strive all we can to get all the money we can?’ You may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in so doing, you may do service to the cause of God. But what I said was that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.” Over the years, however, the message being preached in some of the largest churches in the world has changed—indeed, a new gospel is being taught to many congregations today. This message has been ascribed many name, such as the “name it and claim it” gospel, the “blab it and grab it” gospel, the “health and wealth” gospel, the “prosperity gospel,” and “positive confession theology.” No matter what name is used, the essence
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Costi W. Hinn: Prosperity is a hot topic in the church. Does God care if a pastor drives a nice car or lives in a nice home? Does God command that all who follow Him take a vow of poverty and starve their families in a protest of earthly comfort? Bible teachers sell millions of books and accumulate mass amounts of wealth, are they in the same league as other wealthy preachers? Some will have deep convictions about attaining any measure of wealth, while others will be content use their wealth to give back to their church. Some will use their wealth to fund a child’s college tuition, or even scholarship a seminary student. Others will invest their wealth with the goal of giving even more away in the future. Stewardship comes in all shapes and sizes but one thing doesn’t—God’s ability to weigh a man’s heart and motives. It is a man’s heart that God is most interested in
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Erik Raymond: Years ago I was listening to a talk on church planting and the speaker was talking about discouragement in ministry. As he did he spoke of the high expectations from the church planter. He expects great things—fast! And what happens when the gap between reality and expectations only seems to grow wider? Discouragement, discontentment, despair, and even thoughts of quitting begin to grow like weeds in a neglected garden. It was a good word for me then and it remains so today. Some weeks back I wrote about how the prosperity gospel has infiltrated our thinking. It is not just the chaos of Benny Hinn “slaying” people it is also the chaos of a heart that is fixed on getting physical things rather than spiritual, things of this life rather than the life to come. I believe there is a connection between expectations and prosperity thinking. More to the point, I believe that prosperity thinking has drifted into
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Sam Storms: There is a church in my city that is known for its stance in favor of the so-called Prosperity Gospel (oh, how horribly misnamed it is; for what it proclaims is decidedly not “good news”!). People who have visited there informed me of several of their beliefs. Here are a few: Abraham was a wealthy man, and so too was Jesus. It only follows, so they say, that God wants you to be equally rich. They believe in what they call the “transference” of wealth: God’s design is to take wealth from non-believers and give it to Christians. In this church they explicitly pray each Sunday that this will come to pass. It is not uncommon for there to be two sermons each Sunday: an initial 30-minute message on tithing, followed by a regular sermon. The pastor has publicly declared, in the presence of his congregation: “The Bible says lay up your treasures in heaven; but I won’t
read more Can the Prosperity Gospel really be that bad? Yes!
By Brandon Smith: I was reminded recently by a local TV preacher (asking for money in exchange for prayers, of course) how badly the “prosperity gospel” distorts the gospel of Christ. Here are three major things that I think the prosperity gospel does: 1. Cheapens Grace The gospel of Jesus Christ is built upon the fact that God’s wrath needed to be satisfied by the shedding of blood in order for sinners to be taken out from under this wrath. Jesus did not have your material wealth in mind when he died on the cross. No, Jesus had your eternal soul in mind. Your wealth on earth is judged by others, but your soul is judged by God. Grace is poured out because you are born in spiritual poverty with no hope, not because your 401k is lower than you’d like. Paul proclaims that we are more than conquerors in Christ. What more do we really need? 2. Glorifies Materialism One
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By David Murray: Does Proverbs teach “the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Gospel?” It certainly contains multiple promises of health, wealth, and prosperity to those who live wisely. However, there’s an eternity of difference between the Prosperity Gospeland Gospel Prosperity. Let me give you five statements that will help clarify that difference. 1. God has provided external Wisdom, in principle and Person form, to correct our sin-caused ignorance, error, and folly. God made us with knowledge, rightness, and practical life-skills. However, as a punishment for Adam’s sin, God cursed Adam and his descendants with ignorance, error, and folly. As no amount of research, experimentation, or reasoning will make us spiritually wise again, God has revealed His otherwise inaccessible and unattainable Wisdom to us. In the Old Testament, God reveals that wisdom largely in principle form (e.g. the Moral Law, the Proverbs). However, Proverbs also personifies Wisdom, giving a hint of a future revelation of Wisdom in human form, a revelation we now know is Jesus Christ
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9Marks: It’s impossible to answer what’s “most” dangerous to the gospel today without God’s knowledge of everything. But here are some prominent threats that loom on the horizon: The prosperity “gospel.” The belief that the gospel is about God making us rich is a lie. Jesus came to save us from sin and reconcile us to God (Rom. 5:10-11; 1 Pet. 3:18), giving us every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3) and promising us suffering in this life and glory in the next (Acts 14:22, Rom. 8:18). The attack on penal, substitutionary atonement. Many people reject the idea that on the cross God punished Jesus for the sins of his people. But to reject this is to reject the heart of the gospel itself (Rom. 3:21-26). The rejection of the wrath of God. People today are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a holy God who will punish sin. But if we reject the wrath of God we lie to ourselves about the fundamental problem the gospel
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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
read more The ‘Prosperity Gospel’ is not the Gospel