Why The Prosperity Gospel Is Hurting Christianity

Why The Prosperity Gospel Is Hurting Christianity June 21, 2015

Why does this so-called “prosperity gospel” hurt Christianity? How does it harm the cause of Christ?

The Prosperity Gospel

In the last letter of his life the Apostle Paul warned Timothy “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1st Tim 4:10). The Jews in Jesus’ day associated prosperity with godliness which is why they looked down on those who were poor. When Jesus said “blessed are those who are poor in spirit” (Matt 5:3) He didn’t mean the poor necessarily but money can make some people prideful. The prosperity gospel movement really surfaced into primacy in the 1940’s with the lie that God wants you to be happy, rich, and have every need met but sometimes money can become like a god to us because it provides for everything we need, the clothes to wear, the food to eat, the car to drive, and the house to live in. God wants us to depend on these and not worry about what we’ll eat or what we’ll wear (Matt 6:25). These so-called “Christian” evangelists who are begging you to send in your “seed of faith” in return for God’s financial blessings are really only wanting to line their own pockets with your money. It does bring prosperity…theirs! If what they claimed to be true really worked, then why don’t they plant these “seeds of faith” and start working for the poor and homeless? They don’t even believer their own stuff.

The Quid Pro Quo God

These prosperity preachers only make God out to be a “quid pro quo” God; you do this for Him and He’ll do this for you but that makes God out to be a cosmic genie or into a heavenly bell hop. God is not against the rich; He is against those who pursue money and use the gospel as a cloaking device to bilk people out of their money. In their wake they leave disenfranchised widows, poor, and sincere Christians who don’t receive what they were promised and then they blame the people because they didn’t have enough faith! Many of these are not really preachers but what Paul warned about “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2nd Cor 11:14). Remember the Bible says that Satan has his own ministers and they bring their own gospel which is why Paul said “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse” (Gal 1:8)! Paul warned “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” (1st Tim 6:10) so it is not that money is evil…it is the love of money. Money’s not the root of all evil, it is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil and such are those who preach a health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. The author of Hebrews reminds us; “Keep your lives free from the love of money” (Heb 13:5a). God is not opposed to the rich…but He is against those who have a love of money. Jesus said you can’t serve two masters; you’ll either be making money your master or God your master because you’ll either “hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt 6:24).

Now-the-Spirit-expressly

Outrageous Claims

I heard one radio “preacher” say things like; “speak to your wallet, speak to your spouse, speak to your bank account and it will be so.” They act like you can speak things into existence by your word but isn’t that what God alone can do as it was said that He spoke and the world came into existence (Psalm 33:9). Some even go so far to say that God is speaking to them about some lady out there who is about to have her house foreclosed and she’s got three hundred dollars and God told them that if she sends it in to them, God will have that house made debt free in six months. They try to make it seem that God is speaking to someone who is listening and they’re led to believe it’s them that they are supposed to send in about all they have and “expect a miracle” and have God pour back into their hands but these types of false gospels don’t work well in Africa or in poor neighborhoods. This type of “gospel” does nothing more than fuel greed, fills a person with pride, destroys faith, and keeps people in poverty.

False Profits

No, I didn’t misspell the word “prophets” but I intentionally call these charlatans “false profits” because they’re only interested in profits. One very prominent and popular “evangelist” cares more about his Gulf Stream jet, his $12 million dollar mansion, his Mercedes Benz and other luxury cars he owns and his $1.5 million dollar annual income than the people he allegedly cares about. No wonder Jesus got angry when He overturned the moneychangers table in the temple and said “My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers” (Matt 21:13). There are still modern day moneychangers, and they use the name of God to rake in multiple millions of dollars. One actual broadcast I heard had the “preacher” says “Call in today and you will receive a ten times miracle for your offering…today, if you sow a thousand dollar seed, you can expect a financial miracle. If you don’t sow this seed, then you don’t have faith in God, and you are not trusting in God.” How sad. They hurt the true cause of Christ by exploiting those who are hurting and in financial need and they leave behind ruined lives and those destitute of faith. God will have harsh judgment on them, make no mistake about it. God is a defender of the poor and widows (Psalm 68:5; 82:3) and He will avenge His own (Luke 18:7).

Conclusion

The prosperity gospel hurts Christianity because it appears to be the real thing but it is a lie straight out of the pit of hell and it is inspired and organized by the prince of darkness and his minions but I trust God and agree with Paul; “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.


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  • Evergreen

    Christianity is hurting Christianity, because people can now find out what it’s all about, quite easily.

    How the Internet Is Taking Away America’s Religion
    Using the Internet can destroy your faith. That’s the conclusion of a study showing that the dramatic drop in religious affiliation in the U.S. since 1990 is closely mirrored by the increase in Internet use.
    MIT Technology Review
    technologyreview.com/view/526111/how-the-internet-is-taking-away-americas-religion/

  • Kevin William Brown

    I agree with you, but take a look again at that Mathew 5:3 quote and its Luke’s version of it. The words “in spirit” never shows up in any Greek text I have seen. The original is quite clear. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.” It is so radical and the notion that blessing equals prosperity is so ubiquitous that people just take for granted Jesus would never say, “blessed are the poor.” But that is all I can find in any Greek text.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you sir. Very important notation about the Greek text.

    • D. Barron

      The Greek interlinear I have renders the English translation literally; “Happy the poor ones~ to the spirit, that of them is the kingdom of the heavens.” Don’t know if that helps. The sentence, as I read it before the comma is divided into two parts, though expressing one idea of a consciousness of ones spiritual poverty. Koine Greek is an austere marketplace language that reads very differently from our English. Took me some time to grasp that! Hope that helps!
      And thank you for being a seeker of the truth of Fathers Holy word, and not just another angry Troll! (Wonder why Trolls tend to post under a pseudonym?) Blessings and, Shalom!

      • Jack Wellman

        That does help very much sir. I am still amazed even after being thru a masters in seminary at Moody, I still have so much to learn. Thank you Mr. Barron.

        • D. Barron

          I am going by a very old linear bible, but is a good one, though rather an obscure one. We are called to bless, not curse or demean each other, eh?
          Blessings brother and, Shalom!

          • Jack Wellman

            Truth brother.

        • D. Barron

          When does any student of Fathers Word finish learning all there is to know about Jesus, Father, His wonderful Word and eternal plan for us?How boring would that be? What’s a diamond mine with no diamonds left to find! An empty hole!
          Dig, brother. We’ll share our precious finds!
          Blessings and, Shalom!

      • Kevin William Brown

        Ok, I had to go and research this again. True enough Mathew does and the phrase “in spirit”…. it is Luke where the “in spirit” phrase is omitted. Luke 6:20. My approach when coming across things like this is to look at the bigger picture. Of course nothing in saying “blessed are the poor in spirit” contradicts anything major in scripture…. but neither does saying, “Blessed are the poor.” It all supports the overall theme of this post, and I believe the idea that indeed God does bless the poor. There is so much in the Bible that contradicts the transnational view of God promoted in the prosperity Gospel. “He causes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” We need a vision of God that is more transformational and less transnational. Excellent post.

        • D. Barron

          Man, you are dead on!
          In earlier years, forming my foundations in the word I examined the prosperity message and the people who preached it. It nor
          they lined up with scripture, so I moved on. If one wants to go that way, fine by me. I as, apparently you also are going to study, rightly dividing scripture and then applying that knowlege and wisdom to our lives.
          On the same note, I like what proverbs 30:7-9. says. Check it out. It really addresses this subject in a very succint way!
          Be blessed brother and Shalom!

        • Jack Wellman

          Spot on brother. That is such an accurate statement. The whole counsel of the whole Word gives us a more complete picture. I agree with Mr. Barron. True to the mark.

  • guycooksey

    You are writing of Ceflo Dollar, but their are many,many evangelical empires that sounds so legit and are not!!! They rake in the $ millions to keep their own empires in the black, but refuse to plant other churches or truly promote the kingdom of God. They are in it for themselves. Mega-churches are going to lead to the downfall of America. The rot is just too deep.

    • Jack Wellman

      So very true….many mega-churches will but not all like those whose pastors are Charles Swindoll, John MacArthur, James McDonald, RC Sproul, David Jeremiah and several others.

      • guycooksey

        I don’t know: the hip hop, selfish culture of so many mega-churches are producing an extremely infantile Christian that the world just despises (and rightly so).

        • Jack Wellman

          Very true my friend…so many are doing just that.

        • John Carver

          At least they are reaching and producing something. Hey you guys are losing wise up. Grab those babies and feed ’em! Bitching about it won’t make it go away and it’s a call to action not the politics of the insiders at church. It’s not about getting rich, you say so yourselves. What in this Hell on earth good are you guys? Do something? You profess to know God. As him what he wants you to do. Don’t just crack another book and sound intelligent. That doesn’t even do you guys any good. GET REAL! You say God is real why did the church die if it was real? It’s worthless except to make people feel good on Sunday morning. That’s how you guys make your money too. Be careful who you condemn, you might be condemning yourselves.

      • John Carver

        It doesn’t matter you admit they save people. Even if they are just babies. They save a lot more people than this thread ever will. Name dropping by the way is really stupid when you know Christ. Do you guys even know him? The only name you should be dropping is Jesus Christ. You can’t be saved by anyone else! Even the Apostles. Wake up you’re coming off as Dopey.

    • D. Barron

      Makes one very sad. This is what the Pharisees and Saducees were practicing in Jesus’ day. They pile riteous guilt on the backs of the flock, all the while shearing them!
      On that coming day, they will answer for it.

      • Jack Wellman

        Perfectly stated my friend.

    • John Carver

      Too late to America doesn’t exist in Heaven; never did, never will. You must be totally out of touch with reality. Have you ever checked out what America was and compared it to what it is? It vanished somewhere along the line. But the good news is: Jesus didn’t. Give up on America as your god. It was a good idea that lead to a false notion they have to lie about to say it even exists spiritually anymore. The only thing true about America I can see is the Devil is celebrating.

  • HamburgerHelper

    The truth is that it’s the Pastor/Televangelist that comes up winning in the end. They are the ones with the multimillion dollar homes and personal planes. I wish most people could see that for what it is….A Pyramid Scheme.

    • John Carver

      What you jealous.

  • EPluribusUnum

    It took you this long to figure it out?

    Simply put, the entire exercise is one of self-deception. Why your mistake is speaking of harm to the poor, who are not at all fooled by the ideology. Is for middle class and up, who can deceive themselves with the notion that the selfish and the carnal is the will of God and so keep right on being selfish and carnal. Why it plays and sells so well among the middle class and up.

  • Rob

    This article is spot on, as far as it goes – but it misses out so much…

    Other things that are hurting Christianity:
    1. Associating itself (in the US at least) with a narrow, right-wing, part of the political spectrum
    2. Setting itself against areas of scientific inquiry in the face of an increasing body of evidence (e.g. regarding the age of the Earth)
    3. Many of its members aligning Christianity with the gun lobby in the US
    4. Banging on and on and on, ad nausaeum, about homosexuality and same-sex marriage as if it were the most important issue facing mankind (hint: it isn’t)
    5. Insisting that the Bible is inerrant/infallible when anyone that has read it can see that this is far from the case
    6. Acting like (and often openly stating that) Christians are morally superior to non-Christians when this is patently untrue
    7. Fake faith healers

    Etc, etc, etc.

    There are, I know, many Christians who are honest about their own failings and those of their ‘holy book’ and Christians who realize that the plight of the poor is way more important than homosexuality, abortion, and all the other issues that the ‘christian hate brigade’ never tire of screaming about.

    However the most strident voices in Christianity belong to those who are damaging it and driving people away.

    I no longer believe in God, so perhaps I should rejoice at the unattractive face that Christianity so often shows the world these days – however, I do not. An honest, humble Christianity that reached out across the political spectrum (rather than propping up the far right) and actually took seriously our responsibility to our fellow man and the planet we live on could still be a force for good.

    Unfortunately what I mostly see is a religion that is dying a painful death and hurting others as it thrashes round in its death-throes.

    • John Carver

      Right on! Mother! Wake up!

  • John Carver

    It’s a damnable lie just like America has become. Are you guys out of touch with reality or what? Well hiding in a pew or on pulpit what did you expect? There’s an entire hurting world out there. Come help us! Is that crap you guys are writing on here really all you think about it? Come on? Get real! Do you think God even cares a RIP about which evil liar gets to be president? You don’t need God’s eyes to see it’s nothing. We know who the leader is? Who gives RIP for them and their delusions and lie after lie, election after election? Wake up you are asleep on the job!