Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why the Prosperity Gospel is Not a Joke

This is what the American Church is exporting to Africa.

Almost nine minutes long, but it's an important nine minutes.

The Prosperity Gospel from The Global Conversation on Vimeo.

People will go to hell over this.

HT: Zach Nielsen


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I went to school with a guy from Ghana and one from Nigeria and both have gotten caught up in this. I'll be sending them the link for this video and am curious to hear their response.

Chitchat said...

it definitely is no joke...even when it's called "stewardship" and "wisdom" on Sunday in Nashville...materialism is materialism...God and mammon...

The Navy Christian said...

I'm so sorry...but I just couldn't finish it! It made me so sick. It's just as bad over there as it is here. Just makes me ill.

Bob Heren said...

Why do you say "people will go to hell over this"? The way I read my Bible, the path to heaven or hell is faith in God, and I don't hear the preachers highlighted in this video telling anyone to have faith in anything but God.
Is this teaching unhealthy and unproductive? I would certainly agree that it is. It's an exaggeration and a wrong application of a few Biblical truths without considering the balance of Scripture. But I think it's dishonest and divisive to condemn as heresy what is simply inaccurate or incorrect. I think when we get to heaven we will find that every one of us was inaccurate or incorrect about many things.

Rob said...

Watching this makes me sick to my stomach. The way I see it, this is out-and-out manipulation of God's word for the purposes of extortion.

To my mind, it's getting more difficult to hold a position on prosperity. It used to be that the only churches and ministries that preached the prosperity gospel were so blatantly up to their necks in it that you could see them and call them out from a mile off. Of course, there are still plenty of these around. But there's an increasing number of churches where prosperity-based thinking has crept in much more subtly. In these churches, you can be accused of only believing in a partial gospel if you hold out that we have no right or reason to expect material blessings just because we have been made children of God.


Jared said...

Bob, I didn't say "everybody." Just "people."

Aside from the extent of the damnable effect, the damnable effect is when those in teaching/preaching/pastoral authority preach a gospel that is different from the one delivered to and through the apostles. Paul says so himself. "If anyone preaches a different gospel, let him be accursed."
What is "if you're a Christian, you should be healthy and wealthy," if not a false gospel?

The burden it places on the poor and the sick is the antithesis of good news. And it is the opposite of what Jesus calls to do in the Sermon on the Mount.

And since Scripture says teachers will be held extra accountable for error, it is an eternally dangerous thing to be preaching the prosperity gospel.

nhe said...

I often wonder why Joel Osteen has such a following, because he seems like such a cheese-ball to me....but then I watch this and I see exactly why - its about creating FALSE HOPE for THIS LIFE.

Paul's hope for THIS LIFE was that he would be found worthy of partaking in the type of suffering Christ went through for us - for the sake of the gospel......that's what he dreamed of and longed opposite of that is multiple Mercedes?

Even noble hopes like Red had in Shawshank (I hope the Pacific is as blue as it is in my dreams, I hope I get to see my friend) seem shallow compared to what the gospel calls us to long for - that which gives true prosperity to our souls.

Spike said...

We are all culpable. We let them do it. I've heard John Piper preach to his own people in MN how wrong it is, but duh, that's preaching to the choir. There are lots of great gospel believing preachers of the same caliper and fame that could put an end to it. People like NT Wright, Piper, MacArthur. But they don't seem to want to start the civil war it would bring. And we let them ignore it. Google "most famous living preachers" and it's a near 50/50 mix of true gospel believers and those linked to the prosperity gospel in some way (like through TBN). Let's face it, to the rest of the world, the prosperity gospel is the gospel of the American church. And we are the American church. Thank's for the wake-up call, Jared. I think I'll stew about it a while then forget about it, cause I'm leading worship this Sunday, and I'm kinda busy.

Jake said...

Jared - One thought I had as I watched, somewhat tangential to the point, but I'd like to get your thoughts on it.

It seems like the people are being given a false dichotomy when it comes to Christian hope: Either hope only for heaven (IE a better life after death) or hope for a more materially prosperous life on earth.

Do you think a Dutch reformed, Creation-Regained approach would help navigate these waters? Ex: "Yes, you have hope for this world because Christ will make it new and there will be no oppression, poverty and injustice, but today we live in a world broken by sin and so we experience these pains."

Being very much in line with the Dutch Reformed in my own thought, I realize this is a self-serving question and I'm leery of simply promoting my own theology, but I couldn't help thinking when the pastor was talking about hope that he's been given a false dichotomy. What do you think?