My friend, Pastor Charlie Parish, is back for another conversation on Relentless Truth. We discuss the prosperity gospel and related dangers in this important episode. This perversion of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ causes anxiety and a focus on human effort that is extra-biblical.
Because we are guardians of truth, we have to share the error of the prosperity gospel. It is helpful to name those involved in the word of faith movement. This movement started as a metaphysical cult, and it has evolved into a perversion of the truth in the church.
The Error of the Prosperity Gospel
We discuss illness, wealth, creation, faith, and the power of speaking from the perspective of the prosperity gospel movement. The “New Thought” cult believed in the doctrine of positive confession – that is, people can speak and cure themselves, accumulate wealth, and claim most anything else they want. The root of this heretical gospel is human prosperity. Said simply, these teachers claim that we can achieve prosperity if we use this “force” called faith. One teacher even said, “have faith in your faith – not in God.” In other words, we can use faith to make God do what we want Him to do.
The prosperity gospel teaches that we have done something wrong if we aren’t wealthy or if we have a health struggle. This teaching distorts who God is in the worst way. It turns God into a caricature of His actual essence, and it treats God like He is a cosmic vending machine. This distorted gospel teaches that man is the center of the story, but we know that God is the center of the story of Scripture.
The Implications of the Prosperity Gospel
We discuss the danger of taking man’s word for Scripture over actual Biblical truth. The culture we live in is drawn to this prosperity gospel. Our culture has elevated many ministries that are engaged in espousing a secularist worldview. Charlie discusses the implications of the prosperity gospel. It discounts the sovereignty of God and makes Him subject to us. God becomes less powerful and subject to our will in this movement.
Romans 8 teaches us that all things work together for good, and the prosperity gospel distorts this truth. This section doesn’t teach that all outcomes will be favorable to us. It teaches that God uses all things, whether good or bad, for good.
This teaching makes me anxious. Self-reliant man is incredibly insufficient. We violate the teaching of Scripture when we question our faith because of illness or financial struggles. This is an anxiety-filled movement that places pressure on man that man wasn’t designed to handle. According to this movement, we have the power to control even the weather by speaking, and sin isn’t something that separates us from God – it just keeps us from living our best lives. These half-truths are damning to well-intended people who are seeking to grow closer to God.
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