Definition of the Prosperity Gospel:
"Perversion of the gospel according to which the full blessings of God available to those who approach Him in faith and obedience include wealth, health and power" (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Prosperity+Gospel)
To kick start this conversation, we will start off with a quote:
The Prosperity preachers are a subset of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement.
"This branch of the Charismatic Movement is by far the largest, most visible, most influential, and fastest-growing category of charismatics. Put simply, Word of Faith (Prosperity Gospel Preachers) teachers represent the current drift of the larger movements." (9 Strange Fire by John MacArthur)
"Influenced by TV's most popular preachers, many charismatics treat the sovereign Spirit of God as if He were their slave- a heavenly butler bound to wait on their every command." (8 Strange Fire by John MacArthur)
These people want to "glory" in the potential of the Holy Spirit by using it for all of its potential. They think that the Holy Spirit is God's gift to mankind as their personal request taker. He takes the request of people with "great faith" and makes their "dreams" come true. They take the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit and dress Him up like a silly jester who does man's bidding.
Examples from Word of Faith teachers promoting this mindset:
"As a believer, you have a right to make commands in the name of Jesus. Each time you stand on the Word, you are commanding God to a certain extent." (9 Strange Fire)
"If you have to say, 'If it be thy will' or 'Thy will be done'-- if you have to say that, then you're calling God a fool because He's the One that told us to ask. . . . If God's gonna give me what He wants me to have, then it doesn't matter what I ask." (9 Strange Fire by John Macarthur)
These people have an unbalanced view of prayer that makes prayer less into a petition that is subject to the will and discernment of God and thus could be rejected, based on God's own reasoning and more of demanding or commanding of God based on sheer faith or confidence. It has an appearance of piety because it expresses a strong amount of faith, but it’s an application of a wrong interpretation of scripture. The text below will bring clarity to the issue.
"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27)
"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source of your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:1-4)
1. Based on Romans 8:26-27, we as believers do not know how to we ought to pray, so the Holy Spirit has to intercede for us. That means there is a way we ought to pray that conforms to the design and will of God, but we are ignorant of the will of God. So the leaders of the Word of Faith Movement are out-stepping their biblical bounds by demanding of God based on their own will.
2.The Charismatics want to grab that last phrase of verse 2, "You do not have because you do not ask" and use it for their purposes. The irony is that the next verse condemns the exact thing that the charismatics do with petitioned praying, "You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasures."
3. To love the world and all its pleasures is hostility toward God because it is a functional breaking of the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3) To use God as an assistant to obtain other things makes God second. It is elevating whatever the person or object is into functional deity. This is exactly what the Word of Faith teachers do.
In order to bring further clarity, I am going to promote a few quotes by John MacArthur on how and why the Prosperity Preachers do what they do.
"Silver-tongued televangelists boldly promise unending health and wealth to all who have enough faith. . . On program after program, people are urged to 'plant a seed' with the promise that God will miraculously make them rich in return. It's known as the seed-faith plan, so named by Oral Roberts, the key pioneer in using television to spread charismatic doctrine. Most charismatic televangelists and faith healers use Robert's seed-faith plan or something similar to manipulate viewers to donate more than they can really afford." (9 Strange Fire by John Macarthur)
"For (Word of Faith preachers) at the top of the pyramid scheme, prosperity theology works flawlessly. Viewers send in billions of dollars, and when there is no return on investment, God is the one held liable. Or the people who have sent money are blamed for some defect in their faith when the sought-after miracle never materializes." (10 Strange Fire by John Macarthur)
The Prosperity Gospel's
"message of false hope remains extremely popular, and it's easy to see why: the promise of physical well-being, material riches, and a life of ease appeals to the flesh. It is pure carnality; there's nothing truly spiritual about it." (10 Strange Fire)
So people are not showing up for their money back because the Word of Faith preachers are just the collection agency, and the problem is shifted onto the consumer. These Word of Faith preachers get all the benefits with no blame. The televangelist audience lose money to the Word of Faith preachers, and if they do not get what they wanted, they are also to blame because, supposedly, their faith was not strong enough.
These people are what the Bible calls false teachers and are not teaching anything that is remotely Christian. I should be thrown in the heresy trash bin with Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and all other falsely proclaimed Christian sects.
Tim Bankes II
Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish