Prosperity Gospel is Anti-Christian
Prosperity Gospel is not just a problematic approach to the Gospel; it is actually opposed to the true Gospel message. It is a dangerous and evil message.
There are many issues with the Prosperity Gospel, sometimes referred to the health and wealth gospel, or name-it and claim-it message. The idea is that God wants us to be wealthy, and therefore our faith is a means of obtaining worldly wealth and health. Sickness, then, is a sign that your faith is not strong enough, or you are somehow not within the will of God, and therefore need to give more money to whichever televangelist is screaming at you on tv.
First, prosperity preachers use this false Gospel as a marketing technique in order to make money. One of the most famous (or infamous) prosperity televangelists is Creflo Dollar, who regularly preached the health and wealth gospel. He eventually repented of this teaching, though he has also spread many other false teachings besides prosperity from the pulpit. He is also known for teaching “little god theology,” which suggests that human beings are gods, being that we are from God. Dollar even once asked his congregation to help pay for a $65 million jet, and claimed that this was somehow part of God’s will.
Jesse Duplantis, another popular prosperity preacher, received backlash for owning a $54 million private jet. Kenneth Copeland, among many others, are also infamous for living lavish lifestyles with the income provided by their ministries. Many of these ministries teach prosperity theology and prey off of the people who buy into the lie. The pastors then use the profits to buy luxury homes, clothes, private jets, yachts, etc. Prosperity Gospel is an anti-Christian message. That is, it goes against everything the Bible teaches about the provision of God. The message makes money into an idol, and Jesus into a means to an end. Essentially, teaching that strong enough faith will make one healthy and wealthy is opposed to the very life of Jesus and his disciples. After all, Jesus and his disciples were not wealthy by any means. So, to suggest that a lack of faith results in the prevention of God’s blessing is to suggest that Jesus himself somehow lacked faith.
The message of the Prosperity Gospel assumes an incorrect understanding of Biblical prosperity. Jesus offers us spiritual abundance, not worldly abundance. If anything, Jesus calls us to leave those things aside, being that it is harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. The Bible warns about the desire for riches, but this is exactly what prosperity preachers claim we should desire.
Even more subtle teachings on prosperity are just as dangerous. Pastor Joel Osteen pastors one of the largest churches in the United States, and famously teaches that we should be pursuing our “best life now.” However, Jesus says that in this world we will have trouble, and that we will be hated simply for following Christ. Paul also taught that we will have trouble. To suggest that we can manifest goodness in our own lives simply by believing or speaking it into existence is to discount God and the Gospel completely. Beware of preachers who twist the teachings of Jesus to try to suggest that the Gospel is all about us and obtaining societal wealth. Scripture clearly teaches that the love of money is the root of evil, and only God is sovereign to provide as he wills it for us.
Recommended resource: American Gospel: Christ Alone (2018). This documentary delves into the dangers of false teachings such as the Prosperity Gospel in depth.