The Right and Wrong of the Prosperity Gospel

guest blog by Stephen J. Bedard*

I need to be up front.  I strongly disagree with the prosperity gospel.  Their preachers annoy me, their message sickens me and their style embarrasses me.  Having said that, many people are attracted to their message.  I believe that part of their success is what they do right.  What I would like to do is share five things they do right and five things they do wrong.

Five Things the Prosperity Gospel Does Right

1. Teaches that God is not just interested in what happens after our death but is interested in our life right now.

2. Emphasizes the power of God and expects him to act in real ways.

3. Acknowledges the fear people have with regard to our weakness, including sickness and poverty.

4. Teaches that God cares about what we do with our money.

5. Avoids the gnostic tendency toward glorifying the spirit and condemning the material.

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Five Things the Prosperity Gospel Does Wrong

1. Teaches that God’s blessing is measured in financial success.

2. Teaches that all sick people can be healed.

3. Teaches that prayer is not interaction with a personal God but is a magic-like force by which you manipulate God.

4. Encourages accumulation of wealth for personal enjoyment rather than using it to help the needy.

5. Ignores the consistent message of the Bible that the life of the Christian is marked by suffering.

 

RECOMMENDED APOLOGETICS RESOURCE FOR FURTHER READING:

Christianity In Crisis: The 21st CenturyChristianity In Crisis: The 21st Century

 

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*Stephen Bedard is the director of Hope’s Reason Ministries. A graduate of McMaster Divinity College with a Master of Divinity, Master of Theology (New Testament and Early Judaism) and Master of Arts (Biblical Studies). Also a graduate of the Arrow Leadership Program and currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Acadia Divinity College. Visit Stephen’s blog: Hope’s Reason.