Many preachers of Los Angeles, New York, and every city in between are proclaiming what has come to be known as “the prosperity gospel.” The prosperity gospel is a label used to describe the popular teaching that Christians are promised prosperity in their finances, health, and life pursuits as God’s response to their faith in him and his promises.
Millions of people – including myself for several years of my Christian life – have been attracted to this teaching. And it’s no wonder. It certainly sounds like gospel (“good news”) to hear that the Lord of the universe is committed to meeting our every desire (thereby making us the de factolord of our universe). And yet, in truth, the prosperity gospel is anything but the gospel. It is the exact opposite of good news and every Christian should reject it for at least three reasons.
Reason 1: It Abuses God’s Word
Prosperity preachers can only present their “gospel” by twisting the Scriptures to make them appear to say things they simply do not say. They do this in many ways but two prominent strategies are to ignore contrary evidence and to read the Bible backwards.
Those who promote the prosperity gospel tend to ignore contrary evidence. They will point us to the prosperity of Solomon while ignoring Solomon’s own conclusion that his material prosperity was meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2:11) or they will reference Abraham’s riches while ignoring the many texts that reference the extreme poverty of Jesus and his Apostles (e.g. Luke 2:24, 9:58, 1Corinthians 4:11-13) and the promise that future Christians should expect much of the same (2 Timothy 3:12).