Damning people to hell with what they love as fallen people.
That's a pretty good summary of the 'prosperity gospel,' which is not the gospel at all. The appeal to the carnal desires of men (wealth, ownership, influence, etc.) as the basis, evidence, and goal of worship of God is, to put it mildly, soul destroying.
Now, a caveat. This is not to say there are not Christians involved in churches and sitting under preachers committed to the 'prosperity gospel.' There are. They trust Christ alone for their salvation. They love Him and they seek to serve Him.
Yet, they may not see how egregious an error the 'prosperity gospel' is. There is so much in the Scripture about blessings and about God's good gifts to His people. There is so much in the Bible about what is good and beautiful in life.
But the 'prosperity gospel' makes at least three critical mistakes that may not be easily discerned by a person regularly sitting under this teaching looking into a Bible that contains so much about God's blessings.
1. The 'prosperity gospel' makes wealth and possessions a part of the gospel. In other words, it teaches that Christ's work includes and purchases prosperity for His people, and defines that prosperity chiefly in terms of things in this life. That's a different 'gospel' (Gal. 1:1-9). It can not save. It says, "Come to Jesus to get your life in order" (the moralist prosperity gospel in so many 'evangelical' churches), or "Come to Jesus and you will have houses and lands and money in this life, now" (the materialist prosperity gospel variety taught by so many word-of-faith televangelists and their wanna-be followers). But the biblical gospel is "Turn to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, to be reconciled to the True God, to escape the wrath to come, and live eternally in His love." That's good news and precious treasure whether or not we ever find wealth, comfort, ease, or get our lives in some moralistic order. The 'prosperity gospel' displaces this good news with a lesser news, "free stuff."
2. The 'prosperity gospel' mistakenly assumes that because something is mentioned a lot in the Bible it must be the main point of the Bible. That's a serious mistake. My wife and I talk a lot about bills that need to be paid. We have our entire marriage, from the time were were broke college students each working two jobs to just last week when thinking about vacation and the kids' back-to-school needs. We communicate about money. But is our relationship about money? No, praise God! Our relationship is about a lot of other far more glorious things than money and decisions about money. So it is with the Scriptures. The frequent references about money or possessions or blessings are not the main point: God is the main point. The Bible is about God and His redemptive work. All of life is about God and worship of Him. It's not about us and our stuff. Prosperity preachers baptize their concern with worldly things with a lot of God-talk. But God becomes the Bible's backup singer to man's solo quest for stuff. It's a theological folly in missing the point.
3. The 'prosperity gospel' overlooks suffering. That's to be expected. Anywhere prosperity gets defined as material wealth, etc., emphasis on comfort goes up and attention to suffering goes out. And yet, the Lord and the apostles call us repeatedly to endure suffering for the glory of His name. In fact, the Christian life, in one sense, is synonymous with the sufferings of Christ. "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows" (2 Cor. 1:5). Because we're united to Christ, we suffer. And we are blessed when we suffer for Him (Matt. 5:10-12; 1 Peter). One can't help but think that much of our weakness as Christians is owing to our un-Christian aversion to suffering, avoiding it at all cost and christening cowardice as wisdom. The 'prosperity gospel' lays a pretty deep foundation for that mistake.
Anyway... I didn't intend to say much at all about this, just to show the video. But I pray that the Lord's people, redeemed by His blood, would leave these churches and ministries in a mass exodus.
John Calvin on the 'Prosperity Gospel'
Mohler on the Prosperity Gospel
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