For those of you who might be wondering what this prosperity doctrine is all about, here’s a brief summary from the ace staff of researchers over at Wikipedia:
Prosperity theology is the teaching that an authentic religious belief and behavior in a person will result in their material prosperity. That is, the doctrine holds that material prosperity, particularly financial prosperity and success in business and personal life, is to be expected as external evidence of God’s favor. This favor may be preordained, or granted in return for efficacious prayer, merit-making and/or appropriate faith.
Other terms have been used interchangeably with prosperity theology such as prosperity doctrine, health and wealth, etc. but it is perhaps most commonly referred to as the Prosperity Gospel.
It cannot easily be argued that the Prosperity Gospel is a part of the evangelical movement. Instead, prominent evangelicals reject the teaching as non-evangelical. Furthermore, it is worthy to note that none of the major Prosperity Gospel proponents belong to well-established evangelical organizations such as the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability or the National Association of Evangelicals
The Prosperity Gospel gained more prominence in the 1980s through the teaching of the so-called televangelists, but again, this was a movement separate from mainstream Christianity.
Prosperity theology proponents promote the idea that God wants Christians to be “abundantly” successful in every way, with special emphasis on financial prosperity.
Support for the Prosperity Gospel is believed to be found by proponents in specific Bible verses and in its narratives of the lives and lifestyles of biblical characters. Critics counter that all of the verses Prosperity Gospel proponents use are taken by them out of their textual, cultural, historical and/or literary context thus falsely supporting their claims.
Following are some Bible verses used by Prosperity teachers to support their theology:
Deuteronomy 8:18 – “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (New American Standard Bible)
Malachi 3:10 – “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’” (New American Standard Bible)
John 10:10 – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (King James Version)
3 John 2-4 – “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”
What breaks my heart about this movement is that their target audience is not the rich; it’s not even the middle class. No, their target audience are the have-nots. The people who never seem to catch a break. Those who for one reason or another find themselves in want or need of a better life and a better paycheck. I’m not saying those are the only followers they have, but those are the people that have made these charlatans rich. I could go on about how they’ve misquoted scripture and taken it out of context to fit into their warped interpretations, but I’m not going to. Read your bible; it’s pretty clear. If more of us as Christians would read and study our Bibles for ourselves instead of being spoon fed bits and pieces on Sunday morning and relying on what someone else tells us to be the truth, I’m quite confident that the followers of this so-called prosperity gospel would be greatly diminished.
John Wayne Airport: Private jet owned by TBN. (Mark Boster/LAT)
Newport Beach: A TBN-owned mansion, foreground was on the market for $8 million. The network also owns one of the houses in the background. (Don Kelsen/LAT)
Among TBN’s faithful followers is Olivia Foster of Westminster, who sends the network $70 a month out of her $820 disability check. (Mark Boster/LAT)
Matthew 25:31-46 (New International Version)
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”