I, like John Piper, hate the prosperity gospel. But, I wonder if your reaction to it is dependant on the audience that views it… I guess when I flick on GodTV, TBN etc. (a rare event) and see a bit of TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, Creflo Dollar or maybe the Copelands…* my general reaction is indifference, I know the teaching is wrong, but part of me thinks, so what, if stupid Americans want to waste their money on a prayer hankerchief (true story) then who am I to stop them!
What makes me hate it more is when you hear people speak from personal experience from the developing world of how via crusades and GodTV, prosperity preachers will extract money from the poorest of the poor – and what if you don’t get financial blessings or you’re not healed – that’s right, you didn’t have enough faith! This exploitation of the world’s poorest people makes me actively hate it, but shouldn’t I have felt this strongly anyway? Hatred that God’s word is twisted? Hatred that people get rich on the name of Jesus? Hated that the faith of many is crushed by the false promises of wolves?
I don’t know if you watch ‘Mock the Week’… anyway one of the rounds on the show is called “Things you wouldn’t hear at…” So here is my list… “Promises of God you wouldn’t hear from a prosperity preacher“… if you like a ‘poverty gospel’, name and claim these promises of God for yourself!
- Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12)
- The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away (Job 1:21)
- [God's] power is made perfect in [your] weakness (1 Cor 12:9)
- There is no one who does good, not even one! (Rom 3:12)
- Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (James 1:2)
Paul has some good quotes on this:
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Cor 11:30)
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Phil 3:10)
Let’s name and claim these truths – let us boast only in our weakness and in Christ crucified that He may get all the glory!
* On a side note, I found two books by one of the prosperity preachers named above on my church bookstall. None of my church leaders had heard of this preacher, so were unaware of the heresy contained there in. If you’re a church leader make sure you read up on who’s teaching what – go to Wesley Owen, chances are 50% of the books in the best sellers will be prosperity preaching!