The Plague of the Prosperity Gospel


by Rob Lundberg

(The links that you see in the text, are quotes straight from those who are teaching the false teaching of the Word Faith theology) 

When one thinks of the Prosperity Gospel the names like Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Mario Murillo, Paula White, and Joyce Meyer may come to mind. Though these names may sound familiar, many undiscerning believers do not realize what they teach is not biblical, and essentially rooted in gnostic heresy.

People watching these preachers on “Christian television” or sitting in the pews, are being told to ‘sow seeds’ in faith (‘even if you cannot really afford to do so’), in order to soon ‘reap’ incredible rewards. Many promise healing from all manner of illnesses, deliverance from demonic influences, and usually a financial blessing — up to a hundred-fold return.

The sad thing and what is often the tragic result is that you do not receive what you were hoping for.  For many who ask, not getting their request answered, they are being told that “You must have had too little faith, too much sin in your life or you probably did not sow enough seed money.”  Imagine some result where someone is praying and believing these false teachers, praying for a loved one who is terminally ill, and and being told by one of these prosperity gospel healers that all they need to have is faith, and their loved one will be healed. What happens when the one asking, and believing loses that loved one in death? What then?

The Problem with the Word Faith / Prosperity Gospel

This movement, known as Word of Faith / Word-Faith movement, is laced with a plethora of false teachings and distorted perceptions regarding faith. Many Word-faith preachers such as Kenneth Copeland for example are on record as teaching that faith is a “force” which can be used to get or achieve whatever you desire.

Since this movement consists of some of the most popular preachers and televangelists, it is no surprise that the Word-Faith Movement and some of its heretical teachings have been very popular all over the world.  In fact let me say that aside of it presenting a heretical distortion of the gospel of Christ, it is financially exploiting much of the Third World Nations through the mission efforts by disciples of the Word Faith mentors.

Some of the theology and false teachings of the Word of Faith Movement are hyperlinked in the categories.  Click on the links and they will tell you straight from the horse’s mouth what these false teachers are teaching. 

1.  Faith is a “Force” Controlled By The Words You Speak

One of the foundational theologies of the Word-Faith movement is the belief that faith is a “force” through which a person is able to acquire whatever he wants if he conjures up enough faith.

They believe that the words you speak or the words you confess will control or manipulate the faith force in order to get the outcome that one desires.

Therefore your success and experience of material prosperity is dependent on how successful you are able to manipulate the faith force through your positive confession so that you get your desired outcome.

The Word-Faith movement subtly or indirectly promotes faith in faith, instead of faith in God. Their theology clearly attempts to remove or ignore the sovereign will of God as it puts man as being the one who has the control and power to create whatever he so desires by simply using his words to control the faith force.

2. Prosperity Gospel / Health & Wealth

The prosperity gospel is the teaching that every born again believer is meant to obtain material wealth and riches. These riches are available by using faith and positive confessions whilst making deliberate and practical effort to seek the riches that one desires.

The Word-Faith movement also believes that the death of Jesus Christ extends to Christ giving every born again believer the ability to obtain the material riches and possessions that one desires.

Word of Faith preachers therefore teach their followers that one of the primary objectives in a person’s life must be the pursuit of material wealth. In the theology of this movement, the possession of material wealth is a visible sign that a person has the “favour” and “blessings” of God upon his life.

For example, a bankrupt bank account can be translated as one having a bankrupt faith.  Or even more on a serious note, if you do not get healed from a sickness, then it is because you lacked enough faith to receive your healing.

Therefore the Word of Faith Movement teaches that if you desire to have whatever you wish, then you must use enough of the faith force to bring your desires or material wealth into existence. 

3. Men Are “Little Gods”

The Word of Faith movement also teaches that men are like “little gods.” They have the belief that people are just like God in that they can control their reality and destiny by the use of their words.

The Word-Faith movement believes that since man is made in the image of God and if God created the universe by the power of His words, then it means that man also has creative power by the use of his/her words.

The Word-Faith movement therefore believes that just like God, man can control the weather; or just like God, man can change any reality or destiny.

The Word-Faith movement also heretically teaches its followers that God cannot do anything without the permission of man.

Therefore the subtle deception of this movement is that not only is man a “little god”, but that man can also control the Creator of the universe.

4. “Seed-Faith” Offerings

The Word-Faith movement also promotes the false doctrine of “seed-faith” giving”. Oral Roberts is known as one of the initial originators of this false teaching.

It involves followers being coerced into “seeding” or giving their money in faith with the belief that God will give them back a multiplied harvest or return of their initial offering.

For example, the belief is that if a person gives or “sows” $10 in faith to a prosperity preacher or his ministry, then God will be obligated give that person $20 back in return. 

5. Name It & Claim It

The Word of Faith Movement teaches that by using the power of your words, combined with the faith force, you will be able to use the technique of naming whatever you want into existence. Therefore a car, a house, a job and many other things can be acquired simply by naming it, claiming it and declaring it into existence.

So it is believed that positive confessions and declarations for the items you need will result in obtaining the possessions or circumstances you want in life.

6. Other False Doctrines & Beliefs

• False teachers like Joyce Meyer believe that Jesus died spiritually and that He had to be “born again” in hell before He rose from the dead. 

• They believe that the office of apostles and prophets still exists today. While most Word-Faith teachers do not outright claim to have an authority that matches or supersedes that of Scripture, they do allege that God gives them direct revelation in the form of words of knowledge, prophecies, and visions. Therefore the teachings of word-faith “apostles” or “prophets” cannot be questioned or challenged by their followers as they claim to hold the spiritual offices of prophet and apostle.[1]

• They believe that Jesus and His disciples were rich and that to be poor is a sin or to be sick is a sin.

What Does The Bible Teach About Word-Faith Movement Beliefs?

The Bible teaches us that God alone is Sovereign and He alone is able to create something from nothing (Genesis 1:3). Therefore God cannot be commanded and neither do we have the ability to manipulate Him based on our faith.

We are not supposed to have faith in our faith but instead we must have faith in God. Therefore God alone should be the object of our faith (Mark 11:22).

We are not “little gods.” We are not deity. Instead we are God’s creation. Therefore we do not have the power to change the weather or create nothing from something by the power of the faith force or “positive confession”.

Therefore there is only one God who exists in 3 persons (The Father, The Son & The Holy Spirit).

Conclusion

The prosperity gospel is a false doctrine according to Scripture (1 Timothy 6:3-10). We cannot bribe or manipulate God with our monetary offerings. The seed-faith teaching encourages manipulation and coercion. The teaching is an insult to the divine nature of God and it promotes money as having some kind of power to influence the hand of God.

The Word of Faith movement is deceiving countless people around the world. It is a deceptive movement that uses both subtle and blatant methods to promote the self and individual interests rather than the genuine pursuit of Christ.

Most Word of Faith teachers have become enormously rich and wealthy because of the Word-Faith doctrine. Their prosperity gospel has made these preachers rich whilst their followers either become poorer, covetous or seek an unbiblical lifestyle in the pursuit of monetary riches.

Word-Faith preachers have managed to commercialize the gospel of Christ and make merchandise of their followers (2 Peter 2:1-3).

We must therefore be vigilant and careful to avoid being deceived by any preacher or religious groups that teach Word-Faith theology as such teachings have distorted genuine Biblical Christianity.
__________________

[1] See my post on the question of “Are There Modern Day Apostles?


Version 3Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a chaotic, “brave new world.”

He is available to come and speak to your church, college club, or group. Find out what people are saying.  If you would like to support this ministry with a one time or monthly gift, you can do that by clicking here

If you would like to book Rob for a speaking event, you can do so by emailing him at realissueapologetics@yahoo.com    If you have other questions about apologetics or doing apologetics, or if you are looking for apologetics resources, contact our ministry by email.


 

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