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Posts Tagged ‘Prosperity Gospel’

A Softer Prosperity Gospel: More Common Than You Think

By David Schrock

While evangelicals have traditionally decried the prosperity gospel in its “hard” form, there is a softer form of this teaching that is all too common among us.[1] Often undetected by Bible-believing Christians, it assumes the gospel and leads its adherents to focus on things like financial planning, diet and exercise, and strategies for self-improvement. In contrast to the hard prosperity gospel, which offers miraculous and immediate health and wealth, this softer, subtler variety challenges believers to break through to the blessed life by means of the latest pastor-prescribed technique.

Of course, matters of personal stewardship such as money, health, and leadership skills should be woven into a whole-Bible theology of Christian discipleship. The trouble comes when Christians, and especially pastors, place greater emphasis on these secondary matters. What we choose to preach or listen to says much about what we value. And what I see among some evangelicals is a willingness to prioritize the lesser matters of the law over the weightier mercies of the gospel.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

THE need of collecting and collating all passages dealing with the same subject—name it and claim it refuted

Arthur PinkTHE need of collecting and collating all passages dealing with the same subject, where cognate terms or different expressions are used. This is essential if the expositor is to be preserved from erroneous conceptions thereof, and in order for him to obtain the full mind of the Spirit thereon. Take as a simple example those well-known words, “Ask, and it shall be given you” (Matthew 7:7). Few texts have been more grievously perverted than that one. Many have regarded it as a sort of blank check, which anybody—no matter what his state of soul or manner of walk—may fill in just as he pleases, and that he has but to present the same at the throne of grace and God stands pledged to honor it. Such travesty of the Truth would not deserve refutation were it not now being trumpeted so loudly in some quarters. James 4:3, expressly states of some, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss”: some who “ask” do not receive! And why? Because theirs is but a carnal asking—“that ye may consume it upon your own lusts”—and therefore a holy God denies them.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

50 Kitwe Pastors Pray For Zambian Kwacha

Pastor Conrad Mbewe blogs about witchcraft infiltrating evangelicalism through the falacious charismatic movement:


A friend recently tagged me on Facebook to an item on an online news website and asked me what I thought of it. It was the news that more than 50 pastors in Kitwe had gotten together at the Oasis of Love Ministries Church to pray for the weak Zambian kwacha.

The way in which the Zambian kwacha was depreciating was indeed a great worry to anyone who earns money in Zambia. On one day recently I remember hearing of it going from K10 to $1 to about K12 to $1 within hours. If that does not alarm you, nothing else will.

So, the fact that a few pastors decided to get together to pray about this should not surprise anyone. After all, a currency that heads in that direction is likely to hurt all of us—church pastors included. I would have joined in the prayers if that was all that was going on.

What bothered me was when I read that each pastor was asked to pull out a kwacha note from his pocket and raise it in the air during the prayer meeting. While other pastors were praying in tongues others were now prophesying that the currency should appreciate in three months.

Later, the kwacha notes were collected and taken to “the altar” where some senior pastors who were present continued to pray over the notes. Then the pastors collected their money again and continued to pray over the notes so that the money gains value.

Whereas many people responded in the comments column and simply called this a joke, I responded to the person who sent me the link saying that this was witchcraft. Since the query was on Facebook, someone else asked, “How is this witchcraft?” Here is my answer.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Prosperity Gospel Has Gone Viral

By Erik Raymond

What do you think of when you read the words “Prosperity Gospel”? Odds are your stomach turns a bit as you think about the preachers on television that speak to very large crowds and appeal to even more in their books. More than likely you look at it as “out there” rather than “in here”. In one sense this is good. The shenanigans that some of those religious hucksters engage in should never be replicated in our churches. In another sense however, it’s naive. One does not have to cruising around in a private jet or be dressed ostentatiously to qualify as a promoter of the prosperity gospel. It is more subtle. And it is more pervasive.

In its unabashed nakedness, the prosperity gospel is a damning heresy that is not a gospel at all. It is a Ponzi scheme concocted by those at the top to prey upon the weak and vulnerable. Preachers of this false gospel use God as a genie who is dispatched to give us stuff, as a result, the gospel gets reduced to getting more stuff. This message is primarily physical rather than spiritual and is about this (best) life now rather than the one to come. And most damning of all, it is about us rather than God. The cross of Christ is reduced to a stage prop to support the large tent meetings they hold. It is like they use Jesus’ band-with to hack in and launch spiritual viruses in the world.

 

 

 

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Prosperity Preaching: Deceitful and Dangerous

When I read about prosperity-preaching churches, my response is: “If I were not on the inside of Christianity, I wouldn’t want in.” In other words, if this is the message of Jesus, no thank you.

Luring people to Christ to get rich is both deceitful and deadly. It’s deceitful because when Jesus himself called us, he said things like: “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). And it’s deadly because the desire to be rich plunges “people into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9). So here is my plea to preachers of the gospel.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Encountering Prosperity Theology in Latin America

As a young Christian in a majority Roman Catholic country, I was always very excited when I met other young men and women who professed to be evangelical Christians. During my teen years, I spent a few months with some I considered Christians, people who were always eager to talk about religion and faith. When one of them learned I was a diabetic, his question left me perplexed: “So, what is it that you do?” He was asking what sin I’d committed that caused my diabetes. He then proceeded to explain how I could go to their church and their pastor would pray for me so I’d be healed.

Of that group of young friends, most—if not all—have fallen away from the faith. But the theology that fed that conversation isn’t only alive, it’s booming. In an article I wrote about the state of the church in Latin America, I argued prosperity theology is king in Latin America:

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Prosperity Gospel Born in the USA

My eyes were intently scanning, and perhaps my heart coveting, the piles of books at the Christian book fair in Kyiv, Ukraine. As I perused the merchandise, my eyes stopped, focused, and involuntarily rolled upward. There it was: Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, translated into Russian, lying on the table in front of me. This was another reminder that although the modern prosperity gospel originated in the United States, its preachers have exported this deadly virus around the world to places such as Latin America, Africa, Asia, and even Eastern Europe.

This article will briefly trace the origins of the prosperity gospel and suggest some reasons as to why it has prospered in the United States.

Rooted in New Thought

The prosperity gospel is built on a quasi-Christian heresy, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States, known as New Thought. This philosophy teaches that the key to health and wealth acquisition is thinking, visualizing, and speaking the right words. Norman Vincent Peale (1898–1993), pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, popularized New Thought ideas and techniques in America through his book The Power of Positive Thinking (1952). Ralph Waldo Trine (1866–1958), however, was the most prolific purveyor of New Thought. In both works, one can discern some of the key recurring elements of the prosperity gospel: speaking the right words, invoking a universal law of success with words, and having faith in oneself.

The ideas of New Thought influenced, among others, E. W. Kenyon (1867–1948), an evangelist, pastor, and founder of Bethel Bible Institute. His approach to theology is the basis for one of the prosperity gospel’s most distinctive features—speaking the right words to bring about a new reality; what you confess, you possess. Kenyon served as a link to the popular prosperity preachers that formed the foundation of the modern prosperity gospel movement.

For example, in the late 1940s, Oral Roberts burst onto the religious scene with his ministry of alleged healing and financial prosperity. In the 1980s, his television show was one of the most popular religious programs in the country. While Roberts certainly captured national attention and spread prosperity theology, most recognize Kenneth E. Hagin (1917–2003) as the most prominent evangelist of the prosperity gospel as well the father of the Word of Faith movement. More than any other factor, the Word of Faith movement was the vehicle responsible for spreading prosperity teaching across the United States in the late 20th century.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.