What's wrong with the prosperity gospel?
For context and reference I not only speak in love but from experiential knowledge. I grew up listening to and or being surrounded by some form of this teaching for over 20 years of my life.
And now I share this with an extremely thankful heart, overflowing with gratitude for the kindness and patience of the Lord.
I share this with the goal of reaching those caught up, confused and led astray by the cunning craftiness of men. The message of prosperity is mainly motivated by money. The love of of money has caused many to forsake the greatest treasure of life and wander away from the faith (1 Timothy 6:10).
The prosperity gospel is a godless gospel of greed. It turns people away from the fountain of living waters and teaches them to claim, declare, speak and make for themselves broken cisterns of hopelessness and empty promises that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13). There is no genuine love for God and the beauty of holiness. Rather, it's a form of godliness until what is desired is received and it's on to the next thing. This gospel lies about God and lies about what God does because it is a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-9, 1 Timothy 6:3). It is a doctrine of selfish ambition and wisdom that is earthly, unspiritual and demonic (1 Timothy 4:1, James 3;14-15).
I hate this "so called gospel" for many reasons but supremely so because it rejects the true and living God and replaces him with the idol of self. It is absolutely selfish and self-centered by nature.
One reason I use to love the prosperity gospel is because I loved my sin and it was what I wanted to hear. The prosperity gospel preaches to the flesh to itching ears that reject sound doctrine. Prosperity preaches peace peace when there is no peace because if you deal with sin and sinful desires that displeases a Holy God it will displease the people. This gospel straight out lies (which God hate's Proverbs 6:17) on God and about him. The lie goes, "God wants you Happy" "God wants you to have an abundance, the best of everything". He wants you to have your "best life now" while His one and only Son had very little ( Matthew 8:20). This is a devils lie that fans the flame of insatiable greed to feed fleshy desires, promising health, wealth, and all to be well in the world; which is exactly what everyone wants but precisely what we're commanded to crucify (Galatians 5:24)
Self is an idol that must be broken, crushed, and pulverized daily not to be put back together again in self praise and worship in our own honor.
The prosperity gospel wants everything God has except God. It teaches people how to gain the whole world and reject the very God who made it. This false and dangerous teaching along with its teachers must be marked and avoided at all cost. It robs people of real joy, hope, peace and fellowship with the triune God.
Christians live out a life of grateful thanksgiving not to earn the Lord's favor and kindness but in honor of the one who knew no sin yet became sin for us. We live for the one who was crushed, broken and bruised for our iniquities. The good news is that he has completely dealt with our sin on the cross by bearing our sin in his body on that tree, enduring the shame and punishment that was not his own (Isaiah 53:6).
Our best life now is to be found in him, not having our own righteousness but the blessing of having every transgression forgiven, our sin covered and having no iniquity count against us. To be justified by faith and have peace with God and be truly free from guilt, shame and condemnation, saved from the wrath to come, saved to new life in Christ (Philippians 3:9, Psalm 32:1, John 8:36, Romans 5:1, 8:1)).
In response to this love demonstrated while we were still sinners, we must remember that we died. The life we now live, we live by faith in Christ. Our life is hid with Christ in God. And now the command which is our desire is to deal with sin by crucifying self and not the Son of God afresh.
Our Savior suffered for us in the flesh, let us arm ourselves likewise with the same mind to be counted worthy to suffer for his name (1 Peter 4:1, Philippians 2:5)
So the question is: What's wrong with the prosperity gospel?
It is godless
It is greed disguised as godly desires
It rejects the true and living God of scripture
It preaches another gospel
It points to another Jesus
It makes Christ an idol
It deceives people
It is not the gospel. In fact it is "another gospel" which opposing the scriptures. The treasure and surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord is traded away for trinkets. The gain of health, wealth, and success is the daily pursuit as the sin of greed grows and bigger barn projects consumes the life of prosperity seekers (Luke 12:18).
The good news of the true gospel is this, the crucified Christ laid down his sinless life, taking on our sin, giving us his righteousness. We too must lay down our lives and crucify the sin that remains knowing with full confidence Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures so that our love would be for God and not the things of this world. For all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 1 John 2:15-16). God is gracious and merciful ready to forgive those who turn away from this deadly doctrine of demons. Repent and turn to him in faith.
Pastor Mark Hamilton