The “Prosperity Gospel” Lie

Generally, no one would choose to follow the teachings of a false prophet – or knowingly subscribe to false doctrine. Who would want to believe and subscribe to what they know is a lie? Paul warned the church at Galatia to beware of those who would come to preach to them a different gospel: 

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed”. (Galatians 1:6-8 NKJV)

Notice, Paul said that this different gospel “is not another” – in other words, it’s not a different gospel because it’s not a gospel (or “good news”) at all!

Sadly, many in the Body of Christ are studying under men and women who present a different gospel – a message that appears to be the true Word of God (and even contains portions of His truth, albeit out of context), but ultimately seeks to advance the selfish agenda’s of the presenters.

The very nature of deceptive teaching, however, is that it is difficult to see at first, especially when introduced to people who don’t read or study God’s Word. The Body of Christ would be almost completely innocuous to such false teaching if we would simply study His Word to see what He REALLY says vs. what His “megaphone” tells us He is saying.

One of the most notable “different gospels” is the gospel of prosperity. Many would lead you to believe that God sent His Son to die on the cross so that you could drive a fancy car, live in a big house, vacation all around the world, and generally present your physical prosperity as a sign of your faith in Jesus Christ. While God does want us to live successful lives, and Jesus died so that we would have an abundant life, the concepts are grossly misrepresented.

In the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus systematically shows us that He is the True Shepherd, and that the only way to know God was through belief in Him. In verse 10, he declares these famous words:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV)

What is the abundant life that He talks about? Good question. In my study of scripture, I can only surmise that He is speaking of a fulfilled life that can only come from knowing and following Him. As a Christian, my primary responsibility is to declare to the saving power of Jesus – and to encourage a dying world to repent of their sins, believe that Jesus is our promised Deliverer, and follow Him – that’s it.

Would I mind evangelizing from the front porch of a multi-million dollar home, or through the window of a Mercedes S500? Um…let me think…sure I would. 

Wealth and material gain, however, is an unintended consequence of living a godly life – not the object of the pursuit. Does God want you broke, busted, and angry? Absolutely not. But, does He want you arrogantly wealthy, haughty, and misled into thinking that your wealth is a sign of your relationship with Him?

Again, I think not. Even the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explored the subject a few years ago as well.

The bottom line is this – don’t get fooled into thinking that you’re “unholy” if you don’t have the material possessions that your pastor has – even if he preaches that your faith is weak if you’re not “walking in the same overflow” that he is.

It’s a lie that satan uses to make you put a price tag on your relationship with God, and it’s crippling the Body of Christ. I’ll leave you with Jesus’ own words regarding the matter:

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:25-34 NLT)

3 Responses to “The “Prosperity Gospel” Lie”

  1. 1 Cheryl June 12, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I agree. This is deceptive and it works because the preachers show scrtipturers and use them out of context.

  2. 2 James M. Anderson March 13, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Thanks for your insight. As a preacher of the Gospel for over twenty years, I am challenged to address this issue as well. Far too many preachers have kept silent on this topic, out of fear of “touching God’s anointed.” We must realize that not only are the properity teachers deceiving others, but many of them are deceived themselves. One of the greatest testimonies would be to witness some of these well known properity preachers repent, and denounce this heresy. They could offer a great deal of knowledge to the world, and give us an inside perspective of this mass deception. Meanwhile we that are aware of the dangers of this heresy must not hold our peace. There are countless people that are being deceived by this message, and only as we become the voice crying in the wilderness, will we see others get delivered from the snare of this deception.

    • 3 speaking truth March 13, 2010 at 9:31 am

      Thanks for your insight, James. It encouraging to hear preachers rebuke these heresies…at least this illustrates that some still preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not the gospel of greed.

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