*IS THE ”PROSPERITY GOSPEL” BIBLICAL?*
*ANSWER:* In the prosperity gospel, also known as the “WORD OF FAITH,” the believer is told to use God, instead of God using the believer. Word of Faith or prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit AS A POWER to be put to use for whatever the believer wills, instead of a PERSON who enables the believer to do God’s will. The prosperity gospel movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that infiltrated the early church. Paul and the other apostles identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them.
Paul warned Timothy about such men in 1Tim6:5,9-11. These men of “corrupt mind” supposed GODLINESS IS A MEANS OF GAIN and their desire for riches was a trap that brought them “into ruin and destruction” (v9). The pursuit of wealth is a dangerous path for Christians and one which God warns about: “For the LOVE OF MONEY is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (v10). If riches were a reasonable goal for the godly, Jesus would have pursued it, but He did not, preferring instead to have no place to lay His head (Matt8:20) and teaching His disciples to do the same. The only disciple concerned with wealth was Judas.
Paul said covetousness is idolatry (Eph5:5) and instructed the Ephesians to avoid anyone who brought a message of immorality or covetousness (Eph5:6-7). Prosperity teaching prohibits God from working on His own, meaning that God is not Lord of all because He cannot work until we release Him to do so. Faith, according to the Word of Faith doctrine, is not submissive trust in God but a formula by which we manipulate the spiritual laws that prosperity teachers believe govern the universe. As the name “Word of Faith” implies, this movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more than whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts.
If they see someone poor or sick, they claim that person is cursed by God…Job was sick and poor, he was not cursed but tested. Jesus said, ”In this world you will have tribulations…” Jn16:33, see also 1Pet4:12, Jam1:2. And Paul says afflictions bring endurance and glory Rom5:3–5; 2Cor4:17.
A favorite term in the Word of Faith movement is “POSITIVE CONFESSION.” This refers to the teaching that words themselves have creative power. What you say, ‘Word of Faith’ teachers claim, determines everything that happens to you. Your confessions, especially the favors you demand of God, must all be stated positively and without wavering. Then God is required to answer (twist God’s arm??) Thus, God’s ability to bless us supposedly hangs on our faith only, not on His sovereignty. James4:13-16 clearly contradicts this teaching: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?”
Instead of stressing the importance of wealth, the Bible warns against pursuing it. Believers, especially leaders in the church (1Tim3:3), are to be free from the love of money (Heb13:5). The love of money leads to all kinds of evil (1Tim6:10). Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke12:15). In sharp contrast to the Word of Faith emphasis on gaining money and possessions in this life, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…” (Matt6:19).
-Matt6:24, “You cannot serve both God and money (Mammon is the god of wealth).”
-Mat625 Jesus says, ”take no thought” – or do not worry and be stressed about your needs
-Mat19:29 Jesus says that if you give up earthly possessions or family FOR JESUS’ sake you will receive back 100 fold; false teachers from prosperity movement say to give TO THEM your possessions and they promise God will give you 100 fold (I am glad they don’t also ask you to give up your family members as Jesus does); if you don’t receive back 100 fold they blame your lack of faith or your sin.
-Jn14:14 ”Whatever you ask in My Name, I will do it” – false teachers misinterpret such verses to mean that you can ask anything, but they leave out ”in My name”, which means ”in the character, attributes, will, person, and work” of Jesus; also Jesus said He will do it, He didn’t say ”immediately”;
-Mark11:24 ”whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have already received it” is also used by false teachers outside of ”in My Name”; some ask for money to be able to live a lazy life, others ask for a second wife…is God bound to answer such prayers??
…therefore ”NAME IT AND CLAIM IT” doctrine is from hell, not from Jesus.
Prosperity preachers claim that Jesus was rich, but…
–2Cor8:9 and Phil2:6-8 says Jesus became poor to make us rich, here are some verses on true riches which are spiritual: Rom2:4, 9:23, 11:33, Eph1:7, 18, 2:7, 3:8,16, Phil.4:19, Col1:27, 2:2, 1Tim6:17, Heb11:26, Rev5:12
*Some errors of the prosperity movement:*
1. They believe the Abrahamic covenant is a means to material entitlement – they use Gal3:14, “the blessings of Abraham come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus”, but they ignore the second half of the verse: “that we might receive the promise of the SPIRIT through faith.” Paul is clearly reminding the Galatians of the spiritual blessing of salvation, not the material blessing of wealth.
2. They believe Jesus’s atonement extends to the “sin” of material poverty – they say you are poor because of sin, Job’s friends were rebuked by God for accusing Job of being chastised by God with poverty because of his sin which was not true, Job was just tested by God.
3. They believe Christians should give in order to gain material compensation from God – Mark10:30 says, ”receive back hundred fold” but it does not say ”money”, it says HOUSES (open houses of brethren for your visits or short stays in missions; show me a Christian that possesses hundreds of houses!! Those who preach such false doctrines might get hundreds of houses from those that follow them, but do their followers receive hundreds of houses??), BROTHERS and SISTERS in Christ, foreign LANDS of missions belong to us for the purpose of missions, not to build and sell. Harare town, 960 square km, belongs to me to evangelize!! And there are many other lands out there waiting for me and you to possess them, and of course finally there is an eternal land to come Rev21:1.
4. They believe Faith is a self-generated spiritual force that leads to prosperity – but the Bible teaches faith is trust in God, ”your will not mine be done” Luke22:42. They believe faith is a coin that you insert into the coke machine and out comes the coke, forgetting that God is a Person with a will and a plan, not a machine.
5. In the prosperity movement the pastor is said to be God’s voice to the congregation, and therefore has unquestioned authority. The leadership structure varies between a C.E.O. model and a monarchy or dictatorship. Often some are appointed as pastors or elders not based on biblical qualifications but because of their occupation and closeness to the pastor.
The pastor runs the church as a business in these movements, he appoints his family and friends to be in charge of finances; for the sake of the argument I will only give one name here (Paul gives names of wrongdoer church ministers: Diotrephus in 3Jn9, Hymanaeus and Philetus in 2Tim2:17): Joyce Mayer preaches the prosperity gospel and now has over 100million$, her family is in charge of church finances, the result is that she erred from the faith 1Tim6:21:
–she believes Jesus stopped being the Son of God on the cross
–she teaches that Jesus went to Hell and became the first-born again man
–she teaches that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and in hell where he was tormented by demons (from ”The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make” p.35)
–she teaches words have power and you can release the power of Heaven through your words, but she does not explain: is it about my will or God’s will?
–she believes Jesus died spiritually on the cross
–she teaches that you need special revelation from God to understand what she teaches because it is NOT contained in the Bible; she adds dangerously to the Bible…Rev22:18
–she teaches she is no longer a sinner, contrary to 1Jn1:8;
To read more or to hear her above statements in audio format go to website below or search on youtube:
God can take care of our needs and it might be God’s will for certain people to be rich, but it is not an automatic process: God does not desire that all Christians be rich in this life, but in the future life. God wants us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior Jesus 2Pet3:18.
The apostle Paul was often lacking food, clothes and was often in persecutions…according to the ‘prosperity Gospel’, Paul was a failure… Paul said, ‘follow me as I follow Christ’ 1Cor11:1, 1Cor4:16; Paul was not a ‘prosperity preacher’, he preached the true Jesus. To read a 12 pages pdf file on the sufferings of Paul, go to the website below (file is 0,04mb size):