Thursday, December 29, 2022

Downfall of a Movement

The legacy of the Prosperity Gospel includes the corruption of the gospel, narcissism, deception, and apostasyWhen I became a disciple, the so-called Prosperity Gospel was new but restricted to the fringes of the Charismatic Movement. Today, it is everywhere.

When I first heard about it, I assumed such an obvious moneymaking scam would never last, let alone come to dominate the entire movement. Well, so much for my prophetic abilities!

Church Ruins - Photo by Elisabeth Arnold on Unsplash
[Photo by Elisabeth Arnold on Unsplash]

We have reached the point where the Prosperity Gospel with its doctrines of positive confession and the “word of faith” not only dominates the Charismatic Movement but defines it. Indeed, it has contributed greatly to the demise of a once great move of God.

The classic Pentecostal doctrines of separation from the world, holiness, and “death to self” have become outdated if not alien teachings no longer welcome in supposedly Spirit-filled congregations.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.

FLEECING THE SHEEP


I do not care how much personal wealth anyone might accumulate in this endeavor - They “have their reward” already.

But I fear for them since 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 the sheep.

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

Nevertheless, this is a message focused on self, a narcissistic “gospel” that is incompatible with the exhortations of Jesus to “deny yourself daily and take up the cross.”

And at the end of the day, are we not “unprofitable servants” who only do what is our duty to do? Not only are many today working for the “perishing meat,” they are investing time and energy in the pursuit of even more.

The word of God may endure forever, but the same cannot be said for money, real estate, political power, fame, and fortune.

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

SUCCESS?


The apparent 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 a sign of God’s blessing.

The world has seen a great many wealthy and successful men come and go who are anything but Christian. “What concord has Christ with Belial?

But the day is coming when we will find these “preachers” among the most deceived and pitiful of all Christians. They need our prayers. But did not Paul warn us that deceivers will come and scratch our itching ears with “doctrines of demons”?

And there is the rub! These false prophets succeed because they tell us what we want to hear. We desire wealth, stability, and lives free of anxiety. But lasting wealth is found only in Jesus, and we overcome our anxiety when we walk by faith rather than sight.

And we must never forget the warnings of the New Testament of the dire consequences all those who fleece God’s sheep will one day face.

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 perverted the “Charismatic Movement.”