The Second Day of Apostasy: Prosperity Gospel
The book of James is critically important for those who wish to discern the errors of our time. James focuses our attention to the various causes and symptoms of “false faith.” He asks “Can that faith save you?” This is the second of a series of twelve apostasies. Click here for Day 1 (Liberal Theology).
[Please note that I am NOT making any claim that particular Christians who are part of these movements are unsaved! Further, many truths may be taught and practiced by those who hold to these teachings. What I am suggesting is that the abuses found in the movements promote apostasy]. The links to the opinions of others may differ from those of my own.
Strike up the music:
On the second day of apostasy, James is warning me… of the PROSPERITY GOSPEL, and of Lib-er-al Theology.
Apostasy #2 – Prosperity Gospel
Keyword(s) from James: Ask wrongly (James 4:3)
Teaching: The Prosperity Gospel
Beginnings: New Thought Movement
Motto: “Name it and claim it”
Influencers: Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts
Mouthpiece: Televangelism, Trinity Broadcasting Network
Effects: Fleecing the sheep; disillusionment
Cultural Icon: Tammy Faye Bakker
Adherents: Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, one in eight African Christians
Interesting reading: The Power of Positive Thinking (link)
Click here for: A Message to the Positive Thinkers
I. Wrong motives. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:3. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. Gen. 3:6.
We are naturally self-centered and seek our own comfort and happiness. The prosperity gospel feeds these self-centered tendencies.
II. Because God is loving, he will graciously pour out financial and material blessings on those who demonstrate their faith. Positive speech and positive thinking, combined with donations to Christian ministries, will bring an increase in wealth, success and happiness. Some hold that Jesus and the disciples were men of means.
III. The New Thought Movement. Beginning in the 1830’s, the New Thought Movement taught that the mind had great power to heal. Philosopher William James labeled the movement “the religion of healthy-mindedness.” Obviously, there is great appeal to the belief that we can control our circumstances – that we can be like God. Here is a representative list of the best selling books of all time:
Think and Grow Rich (1937 – 70 million)
The Alchemist (1988 – 65 million)
You Can Heal Your Life (1984 – 35 million)
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970 – 40 million)
The Power of Positive Thinking (1952 – 20 million)
The Purpose Driven Life (2002 – 30 million)
The Secret (2006 – 20 million)
How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936 – 15 million)
Your Erroneous Zones (1976 – 35 million)
The Hite Report (1976 – 50 million)