This is now the second post on the 5 theological views that need burned at the stake and it will be covering the Prosperity Gospel Theology preached by TBN and others like it. If you have not read the 1st entry about Dominion Theology then I would welcome you to do so.
Prosperity Gospel Theology
What Is The Prosperity Gospel?
The Prosperity Gospel is a theological view that claims wealth is a sign of God’s blessings and that God wants to bless you too. It is often referred to as the “heath, wealth, and prosperity gospel” because it emphasizes that God’s blessings also manifest in one’s health and over-all well being. Through unwavering faith and dedicated financial giving God MUST bless your because He has “promised” to in His word.
Christian are often encouraged to “claim” such blessings in the name of Jesus. The prosperity teaching of positive confession (name-it and claim-it) stems from its proponents’ view of scripture. The Bible is seen as a faith contract between God and believers; God is understood to be faithful and just, so believers must fulfill their end of the contract to receive God’s promises. This leads to a belief in claiming the blessings as part of the contract. Due to John 14:14 (ask anything in my name) many prosperity promoters encourage the idea that the more you have faith for, the more you will be blessed with.
The scriptural base that the prosperity gospel rests on mostly Old Testament examples. They point out the blessings of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and others. God told Abraham as part of the covenant,
I will make you into a great nationand I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing” (Gen 12:2).
The faithful even sing songs about it:
Another OT verse often used in defense of the prosperity gospel is in Malachi,
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Mal 3:10)
Where Did The Prosperity Gospel Come From?
The theological underpinnings of the Prosperity Gospel began in the post-WWII era when faith-healing preachers were starting to gain traction. The base of the faith-healing theology is not much different than the prosperity theology; ask and you shall receive if you are faithful.
One of the first faith-healing preachers to discover and promote the Prosperity Gospel was Oral Roberts, about 1947/48. He was the one who began declaring that God would increase their blessings, not just for being faithful, but for donating to HIS ministry specifically. He even promised that he would return donations that were not miraculously matched by or increased by God.
While I believe Oral may have truly believed in this gospel, it was not long before others realized it was a great method for increasing their own wealth and prosperity. Today there are a slew of preachers who do nothing more than take advantage of believers while squandering their donations on mansions, private planes, luxurious vacations, exotic sports cars, and million dollar wardrobes; all while millions around the globe are starved to death. They have faked educational credentials and often promote themselves as having a PhD; placing a Dr. before their titles. Sadly, many do not see through the scam.
One of the biggest scams is the “faith seed” used by many of the scam artist televangelists. Typically this is by playing a word association game with the word “seed” in the Bible. However, keep in mind that seed NEVER EVER has anything to do with money in the Bible. Words are not relative, they are contextual.
Why the Prosperity gospel Needs To Be Burned At The Stake
Besides the obvious fact that the prosperity preachers are only rich because they have convinced thousands of people (often poor) to give them as much money as possible, it’s also just not founded in the scriptures.
The Abrahamic promise of blessings is ridiculous because the blessing that God promised Abraham was many generations, a great name, and God’s own covering. God never mentioned financial blessings. Blessings does not always have to be equal to money. If that were true then wouldn’t the “children are a blessing (Psalm 127:3)” verse be a bit confusing? Let’s read the blessing passage in context.
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
First note that God is promising blessings specifically to Abraham and his offspring. Secondly, he says that all the people on earth will be blessed through Abraham. It is clear that this is not a financial blessing or Abraham would go broke spreading that blessing to the entire world. I would also point out that the New Testament speaks of what the blessing actually is; the blessing of the savior Jesus and the out pouring of the Spirit.
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:14)
Furthermore, what are Christians to think if they continually give to the church faithfully but never get “blessed”? Are they bad christians? Why would God leave the majority of the world’s Christians out of the “blessing” of Abraham? Are they cursed by God? Does not just want to bless everyone besides them? Did they not give enough money? Did they give money to the wrong church or ministry?
Moreover, what about the fact that the majority of the world’s Christian live in utter poverty? In the streets of China, Ethiopia, Congo, Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, and other poor countries, Christian often go without even the basic necessities of life. Why would God leave the majority of the world’s Christians out of the “blessing” of Abraham?
Lastly, Jesus and the NT church as our example, we should expect that the world and it’s systems are going to reject us, not bless us.
Verses about the true gospel of Christ
Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. (John 15:20)
Then they (Paul and Barnabas) returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:21-22)
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. (James 1:9-11)
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-28)
Event he most perfect man ever to live (Jesus) did not even have a place to lay his head (a home). (Luke 9:58, Matthew 8:20)
I will end with a great snippet from a truly educated preacher named John Piper.