These statements, known as positive confessions distinct from confessions of sin , are said to miraculously change aspects of people's lives if spoken with faith. Jakes , pastor of The Potter's House non-denominational mega-church, has argued in favor of prosperity, rejecting what he sees as the demonization of success. He views poverty as a barrier to living a Christian life, suggesting that it is easier to make a positive impact on society when one is affluent.
While some prosperity churches have a reputation for manipulating and alienating the poor,  many are involved in social programs. Underlying these programs is a theology of empowerment and human flourishing with the goal of releasing people from a "welfare" or "victim" mentality.
Kate Bowler, an academic who studies prosperity theology, has criticized such seminars, arguing that though they contain some sound advice the seminars often emphasize the purchase of expensive possessions. She maintains that home ownership was heavily emphasized in prosperity churches, based on reliance on divine financial intervention that led to unwise choices based on actual financial ability.
Most churches in the prosperity movement are non-denominational and independent, though some groups have formed networks. They argue that leaders attempt to control the lives of adherents by claiming divinely bestowed authority. In the United States, the movement has drawn many followers from the middle class  and is most popular in commuter towns and urban areas.
Global Christian Fundamentalism Steve Brouwer, Paul Gifford, and Susan Rose speculate that the movement was fueled by a prevailing disdain for social liberalism in the United States that began in the s. Tony Lin of the University of Virginia has also compared the teaching to manifest destiny ,  the 19th-century belief that the United States was entitled to the West.
5 Errors of the Prosperity Gospel
Marvin Harris argues that the doctrine's focus on the material world is a symptom of the secularization of American religion. He sees it as an attempt to fulfill the American Dream by using supernatural power. Prosperity theology has become popular among poor Americans , particularly those who seek personal and social advancement. Simon Coleman developed a theory based on the doctrine's rhetoric and the feeling of belonging it gave parishioners.
In a study of the Swedish Word of Life Church, he noted that members felt part of a complex gift-exchange system, giving to God and then awaiting a gift in return either from God directly or through another church member. Marion Maddox has argued that this message has drawn a significant number of upwardly mobile Australians.
In a interview in Christianity Today , Bong Rin Ro of the Asia Graduate School of Theology suggested that the growth in popularity of prosperity theology in South Korea reflects a strong "shamanistic influence". Bong pointed to parallels between the tradition of paying shamans for healing and the prosperity theology's contractual doctrine about giving and blessings. Asia's economic problems, he argued, encouraged the growth of the doctrine in South Korea, though he claims it ignores the poor and needy.
During the interview, he stated that he saw the problem beginning to be reversed, citing calls for renewed faith and other practices. This criticism has focused on his healing and exorcism ministries and his promise of material blessings. Malaysian Christian writer Hwa Yung has defended Cho's healing and exorcism ministries, arguing that he successfully contextualized the Gospel in a culture where shamanism was still prevalent.
However, Hwa criticizes Cho's teaching of earthly blessings for not reflecting a trust in God's daily provision and for their heavy focus on earthly wealth. Historian Carter Lindberg of Boston University has drawn parallels between contemporary prosperity theology and the medieval indulgence trade. Coleman has speculated that modern-day prosperity theology borrows heavily from the New Thought movement, though he admits that the connection is sometimes unclear. Matthew Wilson of Southern Methodist University compares the movement to Black theology owing to its focus on uplifting oppressed groups, though he notes that it differs in its concentration on individual success rather than corporate political change.
Mainstream evangelicalism has consistently opposed prosperity theology as heresy  and prosperity ministries have frequently come into conflict with other Christian groups, including those within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Jesus, Servant and Savior , R. Kent Hughes notes that some 1st-century rabbis portrayed material blessings as a sign of God's favor. He cites Jesus' statement in Mark Other critics of the movement assail promises made by its leaders, arguing that the broad freedom from problems they promise is irresponsible. For instance, some theologians believe that the life and writings of Paul the Apostle , who is believed to have experienced significant suffering during his ministry, are particularly in conflict with prosperity theology.
What You Should Know About the Prosperity Gospel
During his earthly tenure, he spoke time and again about the importance of spiritual wealth and health. When he talked about material wealth, it was usually part of a cautionary tale. In their book Health, Wealth and Happiness , theologians David Jones and Russell Woodbridge characterize the doctrine as poor theology.
He also argues that the proponents of the doctrine misconstrue the atonement, criticizing their teaching that Jesus' death took away poverty as well as sin. He believes that this teaching is drawn from a misunderstanding of Jesus' life and criticizes John Avanzini 's teaching that Jesus was wealthy as a misrepresentation,  noting that Paul often taught Christians to give up their material possessions.
Although he accepts giving as "praiseworthy",  he questions the motives of prosperity theology and criticizes the "Law of Compensation",  which teaches that when Christians give generously, God will give back more in return. Rather, Jones cites Jesus' teaching to "give, hoping for nothing in return. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" KJV. In , the General Council of the Assemblies of God criticized the doctrine of positive confession,  noting examples of negative confessions in the Bible where Biblical figures express fears and doubts that had positive results and contrasting these examples with the focus on positive confessions taught by prosperity theology.
The Council argues that the biblical Greek word often translated as "confess" literally translates as "to speak the same thing", and refers to both positive and negative confessions. God's will should have precedence over the will of man,  including their desires for wealth, and Christians should "recognize the sovereignty of God". Oaks stated that people who believe in "the theology of prosperity" are deceived by riches.
He continued by saying that the "possession of wealth or significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor. Oaks concluded this portion of his sermon by highlighting that the "root of all evil is not money but the love of money. In a lengthy segment, Oliver focused on what he characterized as the predatory conduct of televangelists who appeal for repeated gifts from people in financial distress or personal crises, and he criticized the very loose requirements for entities to obtain tax exempt status as churches under U.
Oliver said that he would ultimately donate any money collected by the church to Doctors Without Borders. The authors distinguished the prosperity gospel from Max Weber's Protestant ethic , noting that the protestant ethic related prosperity to religiously inspired austerity while the prosperity gospel saw prosperity as the simple result of personal faith. They criticized many aspects of the prosperity gospel, noting particularly the tendency of believers to lack compassion for the poor, since their poverty was seen as a sign that they had not followed the rules and therefore are not loved by God.
Notable works that advocate prosperity theology include: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This, in turn, leads to a cycle of ever-increasing prosperity. In short, Mark Faith is a self-generated spiritual force that leads to prosperity. Faith causes them to function. According to prosperity theology, faith is not a God-granted, God-centered act of the will.
But, the word translated throughout the Old Testament as "prosperity", is actually the Hebrew word "Shalom". Shalom is not just peace or prosperity - but a big, beautiful vision embodying all that God desires for His creation. He wants to restore ALL things. Yes God blesses us financially at times.
- Prosperity theology?
- 5 Errors of the Prosperity Gospel?
- Bloggen? Besser bloggen! (German Edition)?
- Complicated Truth.
But in the Biblical worldview, that blessing is for the entire community - including the poor, the orphan, the widow and the immigrant - not for you to keep stashed under your mattress for yourself. So, next time you read this verse, consider reading it like this, and imagine the amazing vision God has to restore everything and bring Shalom:. It's amazing to me how entire books can be written on sharing "The Gospel" without mentioning God's heart for the poor.
I mean it is right there in Jesus' announcement at the launch of his ministry:.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free We've done a good job of spiritualizing these verses so they lose their political and economic implications. But the wider context of Luke's gospel shows how misguided that is. Her freedom song reaches its peak with this revolutionary couplet:. He has brought down rulers from their thrones and raised up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with nothing. Luke is painting a picture of Good News that will radically upset the status quo. And frankly, it won't be easily understood as "good news" for the rich and comfortable. To be clear, Jesus is not so concerned about a 6-figure income - when used for blessing the poor.
But he's very concerned about a 6-figure lifestyle - in a world where children starve. And that's a distinction the prosperity preachers simply fail to make. In the few churches still recognising the role of prophets today, the focus has strayed FAR from the Biblical call to justice. Sadly, the call to repent for ignoring the poor or living affluent lifestyles in a world of poverty, has mostly been lost. So let's take a quick stroll through some of the prophets' words together and ask ourselves how often we hear these prophetic utterances in our churches:.
The Prosperity Gospel is not good news. It's a false promise for those who are most desperate and vulnerable - the sick, the poor, the downtrodden. And it's an evil temptation for everyone else. Has the Prosperity Gospel sneaked into your household and made itself at home in your favourite armchair or on your bookshelf? You don't have to be a devotee of Joel Osteen or Joseph Prince to be sucked in by this insidious teaching.
We're all susceptible to these subtle lies.
- The Next Decade: Where Weve Been . . . and Where Were Going!
- The Processing Science (The New Science of Possibilities, Vol. I ) (v. 1).
Not false promises or pie in the sky - or theology that only makes sense for comfortable Westerners.