Summary: The Prosperity Gospel promises its followers health, wealth and success. What could be wrong with that?
There’s the story about a soldier who was in the midst of a battle. Bullets were flying, bombs exploding all around him, and he’s digging a foxhole for all he’s worth. Suddenly (as he’s digging) he feels something metal and he grabs it. It’s a silver cross! Just then, another shell explodes nearby and he buries his head in his arms. He feels someone jump in the foxhole beside him and he looks over and sees an Army Chaplain. The soldier looks at the cross and then looks at the chaplain. He hands the cross over to chaplain and says “I sure am glad to see you. How do you get this thing to work?”
For the next few weeks we’re going to be talking about Fake News. Now, we’re not going to be discussing POLITICAL fake news, that might be spread by certain folks in the media (that’s not what we’re here for). Instead, we’re talking about spiritual fake news spread by false teachers, and charlatans. Satan uses that fake news (called false teaching) to get us sidetracked in our faith. Now, how would we know if something is fake news? What source could we look to, to check out whether or not someone is lying to us? That’s right… we’d look to the Bible. It’s the only reliable source of truth that we have. And if we don’t know the Bible as well as we should, we become easy prey for false teachers who would spread fake news.
This morning we’re going to talk about something called the “Prosperity Gospel.” It goes by other names like “The Word of Faith Movement” and “The Seed Faith Movement.” A common phrase these folks often use is “Name it and Claim it.” That statement - "Name it and claim it" - is code for the idea that if you want a specific blessing from God all you need do is VERBALLY declare the blessing, then claim it… and it will be yours.
One man put it this way: “As part of the ‘God class,’ (as Word of Faith teachers say) I had absolute authority to create my own world through positive thinking and FAITH-BASED CONFESSIONS. “Faith based confessions” is another way to say “name it and claim it”. (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-god-saved-me-from-the-prosperity-gospel/)
The reason this type of Spiritual Fake News is called the “Prosperity Gospel” is because the promise of prosperity from God is the core of their teaching. You want to have money? Basically, you just name it and claim it… and you got it!!!!
Creflo Dollar (a leading preacher in this movement) taught: "Some people come to me and say, well I came here to get some peace, not money, and I tell them, you NEED money, otherwise you ain't gunna get no peace."
"Some people say it's about peace, joy and love. NO!! It's about MONEY!... God is trying to put material wealth into your hands.”
In an interview with a publication called “The Christian Post, Joel Osteen said “I believe God wants you to prosper in your health, in your family, in your relationships, in your business, and in your career. So… if THAT is the prosperity gospel, then I do believe that.” “If you are struggling financially, then you have NOT got the victory. God didn't create you to be average or poor.”
Now that sounds pretty good to me! Where do I sign up? Exactly how can I become healthy, wealthy and wise?
Kenneth Hagin (1917–2003) taught that the Holy Spirit could make you rich, healthy, and anointed with spiritual gifts IF YOU WOULD JUST HAVE ENOUGH FAITH to "name it and claim it.”
Joel Osteen stated: “If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; YOU MUST BOLDLY DECLARE WORDS OF FAITH and victory over yourself and your family” (From Your Best Life Now, p.132). The term “Words of Faith” is another code phrase for “name it and claim it.”
Creflo Dollar declared “When we pray, believing that we have ALREADY RECEIVED what we are praying, GOD HAS NO CHOICE but to make our prayers come to pass.... It is a key to getting results as a Christian.”
God has no choice? Seriously??? Sounds like I’ve become the master… and God has become the slave. This is heresy, false teaching, and a lie from the pit of hell – can I be any clearer about my distaste for this teaching?
ILLUS: This teaching is so pervasive that a common tactic for many of these preachers is the “Seed Money” appeal letter. They’ll send letters to people saying that God wants to bless them. If you’ll just send in a donation called "seed money" you are promised that God will reward you financially in proportion to the size of your "seed". (THE MORE YOU GIVE/THE MORE YOU GET!)