Thursday, July 11, 2019

Prosperity for All

The legacy of the “Prosperity Gospel” includes the corruption and defamation of the gospel, narcissism, deception, and apostasy

Dollars - Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
When I became a Christian, the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” was new and largely restricted to the fringes of the Charismatic Movement. When I heard about it, I assumed such an obvious deception and moneymaking scam would never last, let alone come to dominate the entire movement. Well, so much for my prophetic abilities! - [
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash].

We have reached the point where the “gospel” of prosperity and positive confession not only dominates the Charismatic Movement, but it also defines it. The classic Pentecostal doctrines of separation from the world, holiness, and “death to self” have become outdated if not alien teachings no longer welcome in supposedly Spirit-filled congregations.

And not surprisingly, many of the older charlatans are still singing this siren song, and quite successfully, too. I do not care how much personal wealth anyone might accumulate in this endeavor - They “have their reward” already. But I fear for them, for God is certainly just and zealous for His children. His judgment may linger as He allows time for repentance, but He cannot delay forever while the wolves devour His flock.

The issue is not doctrinal purity, but the hurt that has been done to Christians and the harm inflicted on the cause of Christ. I understand the appeal. Who doesn’t desire wealth and security, success in business and marriage, the discovery and fulfillment of one’s “destiny,” fame and fortune?

Nevertheless, this is a message focused on self, a narcissistic and vain “gospel” that is quite incompatible with the exhortations of Jesus to “deny yourself daily and take up the cross.” At the end of the day, are we not “unprofitable servants” who only did what was our duty to do? Not only are many today working for the “meat that perishes,” they invest time, money, and energy to pursue even more of it.

Hucksters of the “Prosperity Gospel” are proclaiming another gospel and a different Jesus, and they serve a false god, namely, Mammon.  How many sinners have turned their hearts against the gospel after watching their sales pitches and other shenanigans?

The “success” of the “Prosperity Gospel” over the years has certainly surprised me, though I do not see how wealth is the mark of success or God’s blessing. The world has seen a great many very wealthy and “successful” men come and go who were anything but “Christian.”

But the day is coming when we will find these “preachers” among the most deceived and pitiful of all Christians, or at least, of all supposed Christians. They need our prayers. But Paul did warn, and more than once, that deceivers would come and scratch our itching ears with “doctrines of demons.” And more than once, the New Testament warns of dire consequences for all those who fleece God’s sheep.

Unfortunately, the corruption of the gospel is precisely what the “Prosperity Gospel” has achieved. And it is by no means the only deception making the rounds, but it is the key one that has warped the “Charismatic Movement” and opened doors for many other false teachings and false prophets to invade and take control of far too many churches.

And it has continued to evolve into new and ever-expanding deceptions. So much so, that today’s Charismatic Movement is a very different and virtually unrecognizable animal from what it was just a half-century ago.

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