The Prosperity Gospel Is Evil!

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. –1 Timothy 6:10

It is important to note from the beginning, that the text does NOT say “money is the root of all evil”, but rather it says “THE LOVE of money” is evil. And it’s good that it says this, rather than the other. If money itself were an evil thing for Christians to use, then they would all be homeless beggars, who would not even be allowed to beg for money, but only for food and clothing. But even then there would be an ethical dilemma in that situation, because the generous giver in that case, would have to use his money in order to purchase some food and clothing for the Christian beggar. However, it is not the case that Scripture condemns money as an object, nor the Biblically and morally regulated use of money. Good thing too, because life in this world, which is empowered by the use of money—buying and selling—would be completely impractical and undoable. The best thing a money-avoider could do is pray for God to sustain him in the forest, naked and alone as a hermit.

Jesus angry at money changersThe only thing Scripture allows us to do is HATE MONEY; or to be a money-hater. The text says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,” which implies that all kinds of evil will come into your life, if you allow yourself to love money. The Bible criticizes those who opposed Jesus as “the Pharisees, who were lovers of money” (Luke 16:14); and if the enemies of God are put into such a category, then the followers of Christ should not be as they are; but rather, should be understood as “the Christians, who are haters of money.” But to hate money is not to avoid it completely; it is a necessary evil, and this appears to be the implicit meaning of the text. For if Christians are to apply the reverse implication of this text to their lives, then they have to conclude with Christ, that “No one can serve two masters. Either you will HATE the one and LOVE the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both GOD and MONEY” (Luke 16:13, NIV). Jesus pits God and Money against one another, as if they are two opposite forces competing not only for the attention of mankind, but for their devotion. Not only are greedy money-lovers DISTRACTED from God, but if He is ever brought up in preaching or conversation or writing, something within them feels HATRED for this God of holiness, and a tendency in them to CHANGE THE SUBJECT of discussion away from the God they hate. The reverse is true for the godly; because the godly have come to “love the Lord their God with all their heart” (Luke 10:27); they have shunned the love of money, and all that money can buy; and have developed a godly hatred for money. But while recognizing that there is a such a thing as ill-gotten gain in this world, the Christian seeks to make honest money, through hard work, and conscientious employment, working as unto Christ (Col. 3:23), to provide for his needs, or his family. And in this he sees the blessing of God, and gives Him thanks and praise for his financial provisions. Yet, when it comes to the money itself, he does not allow it to distract him from devotion to God; he largely forgets about it, uses it, and hates the thought of ever becoming attached to it. As the Word says, “You shall not make unto thee a graven image to bow down to it” (Exod. 20:4); and also, “you shall not covet” (Exod. 20:17). Always for him it is “In God We Trust” and not “In Greed We Trust.”

Reverend IkeThe Prosperity Gospel, or as it is also called “the Health and Wealth” Gospel, the “Word of Faith,” “the Faith message,” “Positive Confession,” or the “Name-It-Claim-It” doctrine: is a false teaching that emerged out of Pentecostalism around 1951 through men like Oral Roberts, Demos Shakarian, and Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI).[1] Many, if not most Pentecostal and Charismatic pastors believe and teach this doctrine today. Although the Assemblies of God has an official “Position Paper” against it, that has hardly helped to curb the heresy from spreading. The teaching of the Prosperity Doctrine, while falsely misquoting and misapplying Scriptures, is really based in New Thought or New Age thought:–specifically the sort of thinking taught by Christian Science, Unity, “positive thinking,” “mind over matter,” and other metaphysical cults (see D. R. McConnell’s A Different Gospel). The Prosperity teaching, usually also comes as a “package deal” with its false doctrine on healing as well. The teaching goes like this:–If you are poor and sick, there is hope for you to become rich and healthy. Hope in Christ. You can “do all things through Christ who strengthens you” (Php. 4:13); it is He who “gives you power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18), etc. Speak to your condition with faith; rearrange your circumstances; you have the power of God within you, so just say, “God has given me power to get wealth, therefore I am wealthy.” Good. Are you sick? The answer is you’re not really sick! “By His stripes we were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). You see its already been done. He already died for your healing. You just need to realize it by faith. Just say, “By His stripes, I’m already healed!” Now just wait for the money and the health to miraculously appear in your life. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

There are several things wrong with this teaching.

Firstly, it encourages the love of money (greed, covetousness, breaking the tenth commandment: “you shall not covet”–Exod. 20:17). Rather than appealing merely to the financial needs of the godly, it goes further than that, and assumes that godly Christians are supposed to yearn to get rich. The Bible says, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Tim. 6:9).

Secondly, its lying to yourself (“you shall not bear false testimony”–Exod. 20:16; denial of reality). While there is nothing wrong with authoritative prayer (or words of command, especially in healing, or praying for miracles):–it’s definitely wrong to use commands in such a way, as to ASSUME that God has automatically answered all prayers for finances and healing, simply because there are some Scriptures that speak to these subjects. No Christian should say “I am wealthy” when he is still physically poor. That is a lie:–no matter what kind of metaphysical mumbo jumbo is loaded in the words. It’s still a lie! If you are rich, then it’s because you physically have lots of money in your bank account; if you’re poor, it’s because you have little. But if you believe in the Prosperity Gospel, then what’s in your bank account doesn’t matter—REALITY doesn’t matter, just keep saying “I am wealthy,” and maybe tomorrow you will be! So, in essence the teaching is a metaphysical DENIAL OF REALITY, a philosophical escapism that probably hinders people, from actually getting some real work done, to benefit themselves financially. This is similar to Christian Science, and may come from the Hindu teaching of maya, or illusion.

Thirdly, it deters men from patiently waiting for answers to prayer. The Word of God teaches: “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15). If a Christian needs a better job, a higher wage, more money, etc. The Biblical teaching is to pray to God for revelation and blessings to come his way; and then to wait patiently for God to answer the prayer for financial provision. The Prosperity Gospel says, “Just say, ‘I am wealthy!’” The Bible teaches: (1) Pray for God to financially provide for you. (2) Wait patiently for the provision to come. (3) When the provision comes, give God thanks and praise. The same applies to divine healing (Jas. 5:14-15). Also, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16). The Prosperity Gospel has no place for being a righteous man as a requirement for the miracle to come. It’s just a name it-claim it message that can “work” for anyone who has enough so-called “faith” to maintain a “positive mental attitude and confession.” The Bible teaches obedience to the Word of God, in the daily life of the godly, as a foremost requirement for answers to prayer.

Biblical miracle working comes by waiting for God’s answer to the fervent prayer of faith made by a righteous man (petition or intercession); it does NOT come by any Joe Schmo just maintaining a “positive mentality” (for example: “I am rich”; “I am healthy”):–even in the face of total poverty, lack, and sickness. I refer you to the prophet Elijah and the apostle Paul as Biblical examples; and for historical examples: John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, St. Benedict of Nursia, John Wesley, Hildegard of Bingen, Martin Luther, Carrie Judd Montgomery, Dorothea Trudel, Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, A. J. Gordon, A. B. Simpson, John Wimber, and countless other church leaders. This name-it-claim-it teaching on “faith healing” is FALSE! It is not the prayer of faith in James 5:14-15, nor was it ever practiced by church leaders in past history (either distant or recent). The whole idea that you can just trick your mind into “believing that ye receive” (Mark 11:24) your healing—is totally foreign to Scripture and church history! It’s a novelty, a new doctrine, a powerless, SUPERSTITIOUS HERESY established since 1951. It’s “a different gospel” than the one you formerly believed (2 Cor. 11:4). If you want real guidance on divine healing, then read John G. Lake on Healing, Andrew Murray’s Divine Healing, or John Wimber’s Power Healing.


[1] Vinson Synan, In the Latter Days (Fairfax, VA: Xulon Press, 2001), pp. 85-86.

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