Sunday, April 14, 2019

Exposing The False Gospel Of Physical Well-being

        Prosperity gospel teachers such as Joel Olsteen are known for making fraudulent promises of physical recovery, financial blessings, and freedom from demonic influences to those who voluntarily donate large sums of money. It is claimed that God gives people who have enough faith a hundredfold in terms of wealth and health in addition to the forgiveness of God for sin provided at the Cross. Professing Christians who give money to prosperity gospel ministries are wrongly assured that God will materially reward them as a result of their contributions.

        The Columnist Tara Isabella Burton recounted the origin of the prosperity gospel in these words:

        "Its roots, though, don’t just lie in explicitly Christian tradition. In fact, it’s possible to trace the origins of the American prosperity gospel to the tradition of New Thought, a nineteenth-century spiritual movement popular with decidedly unorthodox thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James. Practitioners of New Thought, not all of whom identified as Christian, generally held the divinity of the individual human being and the priority of mind over matter. In other words, if you could correctly channel your mental energy, you could harness its material results. New Thought, also known as the “mind cure,” took many forms: from interest in the occult to splinter-Christian denominations like Christian Science to the development of the “talking cure” at the root of psychotherapy."

        The Encyclopedia Britannica says the following about the origin of the prosperity gospel:

        "The early 20th-century New Thought movement, a mind-healing movement based on diverse religious and metaphysical presuppositions, shaped the later development of prosperity gospel. Although the movement was not necessarily Christian, religious strains of New Thought generally emphasized the immanence of God, the divine nature of humanity, the immediate availability of God’s power to humans, and the belief that sin, human disorders, and human disease are basically matters of incorrect thinking. Moreover, according to New Thought, humans can live in oneness with God in love, truth, peace, health, and plenty, and many groups emphasized Jesus as teacher and healer and proclaimed his kingdom as being within a person."

        Needless to say, neither the origin nor the essence of prosperity theology is Christian. Jesus Christ promised spiritual as opposed to material blessings to those who obeyed His commandments. Moreover, we are not to follow Him with the intent of receiving things from God. That is not Christianity. The core of religion is not what God can do for us, but what we can do for the glory of God. We serve Him because He is worthy of being served.

        People involved in the Word of Faith Movement have been guilty of abuses of spiritual gifts when it is claimed that there are Christians not filled with the Holy Spirit. They do this when it is claimed that a lack of healthiness and wealth is due to a lack of trust in God. He is not involved in any system of doctrine that leaves one penniless and unable to care for one's own needs.

        Jesus Christ warned against a materialistic mindset when He spoke of storing up treasures in heaven:

        "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:19-24)

        Christ exposed in simple terms the vanity of accumulating riches for oneself in this life by pointing out the fact that items can be stolen and destroyed. They have no eternal value so they should not be our chief focus. The prosperity gospel reverses this order by insisting on having our best life here on this earth. Jesus Christ spoke of the difficulty a rich man has in becoming saved (Matthew 19:23). How can such a person place his trust in a God that he cannot see?

        A balanced view of personal finance has been laid out for us in the Old Testament:

        "Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." (Proverbs 30:7-9)

        The point is not that wealth is bad as such, but that it is hard to keep God in one's own thoughts when he has extravagant means of physical comfort.

        The Apostle Paul stated that the love of money is a root of evil:

        "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

        The truth of these words has been proven time and time again. Many a life are like books illustrating the wisdom of the above saying. Money is not everything. It is not the key to lasting happiness or fulfillment. There is more to life than one's own riches.

1 comment:

Justin Horn said...

Great article Jesse you made some interesting points things like new thought Christian Science and Word of Faith movement definitely needs to be exposed I'm also not a fan of Joyce Meyer Joel Osteen and they like. It's true that there's no thing wrong with having with having money as long as it's not our primary focus in this life. Although I believe she is still heals and answers prayers today this doesn't mean that a Christian's will always have perfect health the Bible speaks much about suffering for Christ's sake and tribulation and trials Etc it would be hard to imagine persecution suffering trials and temptations and tribulation without disease or other struggles