The Problem for the Prosperity Gospel

Scot McKnight argues against what is often called prosperity gospel, the idea that God wants to bless believers financially.


06/15/2012 03:53:33 PM

The prosperity Gospel is an unfortunate gospel to have to deal with. What's really unfortunate is that it has crept into many Churches. You walk into a Church and fellow believers find out that you are poor, they will automatically assume that you are in active rebellion against God no matter what you say. They seem to ignore people like the Apostle Paul. (interesting thing to note is that before he became a follower of Christ, he had it all, wealth, a prominent position in his religion, etc. As soon as he became a believer, it all just vanished and he became public enemy number one. ) Too many times it plays out like the book of Job. Everything goes wrong in a man's life and people rise up to blame and accuse him. God is definitely not a vending machine God.


05/05/2012 03:13:30 PM

Where does the understanding of Proverbs 22:4 play into this whole discussion?


11/19/2011 04:53:13 AM

You cite (2 Cor 13:7-10) on page two of the article but I think you mean (2 Cor 12:7-10). The Prosperity Gospel is more than just a half truth, it's Satan's tool to convince Christians to indulge their greed and selfishness. Charity would be interfering with God's will if the prosperity gospel was the way God worked. I have met far too many Christians who look down on the poor because their poverty is a sign of their own sinfulness. Personal wealth is a sign of God's favor and the accumulation of money becomes a means of worship.


09/14/2011 05:02:35 PM

Dear friend chrisscreenname, I would like to inform you that you are in error. No offense but when you state, "Prosperity is a part of system of God available for Chrisitians called The Kingdom of God." Then you are the one not rightly dividing the scriptures as you accuse this brother of doing. The greek word used for Kingdom is Baselia and it simply means The Reign of God and doesn't have anything to do with blessings or prosperity. If you read Romans 14:17 it states, "The kingdom of God is not meat or drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." which plainly states it doesn't have nothing to do with materialistic things. The reason why the prosperity gospel is not a gospel is because 1Timothy 6:5 states, "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." This so called Kingdom message or Prosperity gospel only came to surface in the middle 20th century and was never endorsed by God. Other scriptures to read: James 4:3, Mattthew 26:11, Mark 8:34, Rom 8:18, Psalms 34:19, John 16:33, and there are so more.


09/05/2011 10:12:08 AM

Prosperity is a part of system God made available for Christians. It's called "The Kingdom of God" (please review in the BIBLE, not CNN). You are mixing this with the scriptures about dealing with pride (and overall sinfulness). Rightly divide the word of truth! They are talking about two different concepts. And because you don't realize it, you've become another "Accuser of the Brethren". Don't be quick to talk about other Christians. Play it safe. Unless you're a BIble scholar and have heard from Jesus himself, you shouldn't go around "condemning the guiltless" Matthew 12:7 Be Blessed.


06/10/2011 08:07:12 PM

Well I believe these preachers of the Gospel of prosperity who are millionaires will have a tough time at judgement. Jesus and His disciples were poor and died for Jesus preaching the real gospel. Kenneth Copeland is very wealthy with a big mansion. Creflo Dollar is not really ordained but does have an honorary Degree but shows off his Rolls Royce and mansion. Trust me, I believe these guys are phoneys getting rich off God. All they preach is tithing and giving and live a high lifestyle. They will have a hard time at judgement. Benny Hinn, Look at his rings and private jets.


02/02/2011 04:42:42 PM

I watched a "religious" show a couple of years back and watched as the preacher told a viewer to give the last money she had and God would provide her with a job (she had just lost hers) and wealth. I also noticed that the "seed" the viewers are urged to plant should be planted in the ministry's coffers, not just any worthy cause. This is not religion it is a flim-flam operation using Christian sounding words.


09/30/2010 03:54:11 PM

Prosperity gospel or theology (also known as prosperity doctrine or the health and wealth gospel) is a Christian theology followed by millions of Christians centered on the belief that God provides material prosperity for those he favors. Watch this video on The Dangers Of The Prosperity Gospel


09/29/2010 03:22:47 PM

"It is easier to pull a camel through the eye of a needle than to pull a rich man into Heaven." -Could someone be a pal, here, and remind me where in The Bible this can be found? I find it HIGHLY relevant to the discussion!


08/20/2009 07:49:14 AM

to me the problem in preaching a peosperity gospel, id that we shoud be preaching the christ gospel. it is so easy for people to fall into the trap of looking to others for our rightcheousness. and soon christians will be comparing themselves to other christians and base their judgements of goodness on who is the most prosperous. he's rich so he must be a good christian. at some [point a prosperous church will spend more time keeping up with the money rather than keeping up with christ. ther is the gospel of christ, crucified dead, beried risen. money distorts, takes our focus, and soon will become our god. forget about the gospelprosperity gospel. there is only one gospel of faith and that is of christ.


06/13/2009 01:07:18 PM

I am by no means a bible scholar by I find some of the examples used interesting. For instance, the Isrealites wondering in the wilderness for 40 years. When I read my bible, it tells me that this was not God's divine plan for them, but a result of their disobedience and unwillingness to trust God (Numbers 14:26-35). The mention of Job's suffering is also an interesting one. Before Job's "test" Job 1:1-3 says that he "owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeyes, and had a large number of servansts. He was the greatest man amog all of the people of the east". Sounds like he was prosperous to me. Satan was given permission to test Job and yes he went through a terrible ordeal that none of us hopes to experience but how does the story end? Job 42:10-17 talks about how God increased all that Job had twofold and gives a detailed account of his new and improved financial standing. He was literally given double for his trouble! Moving on to the example of Abraham, yes...he waited for years for his son but he was also blessed exponentially according to Gen 13:2 . Yes Job and Abraham had trials, but they were also blessed. They also had one thing in common, they both made sacrafices to God (Job 1:5, Gen 14:20). The bible also has countless scriptures that promise financial blessings....Duet 28:1-14, Matt 6:33, Malachi 3:10-12, Luke 6:38, Mark 10:29-30. They in all of them is a spirit of giving - you reap what you sow. I wonder how the writer explains these? I'm not saying life is peaches and cream all the time, but I do believe that God wants us to prosper. Not because of what a preacher has said, but because of what my bible says. Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you, says the Lord. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes."


05/26/2009 04:30:08 PM

I am not sure that the author of the article has been listening to an entire sermon or message preached by a "prosperity minister". I haven't heard one message that indicated that there would be all blessings and no burdens. We are supposed to praise God despite of our trials. I was taught that the mind set can lead to prosperity. No, everyone is not meant to be wealthy, however, the haves are supposed to provide for the have-nots. And we must remember, one man's small seed, could be another's wealth. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. People need to hear that God needs us to trust Him no matter what, and that through the difficulties, our trust and faith will allow Him to move us forward. Picking out one or two sections of a sermon to prove the theory of propsperity is not biblical, is like taking a half-baked cake to a birthday party. Let's learn to listen to entire messages, the series of messages before we jump to such conclusions.


05/26/2009 10:37:47 AM

I have to agree with the fact that the more we give the more we will have, in our hearts and in our lives. Selfish people cannot be happy, its impossible. I know when I give I always make it and who wants closets stuffed with stuff you never use???? Our responsibility is to love not judge. That is my bigget lesson I am trying to learn second by second and to be a giver.


05/26/2009 07:12:24 AM

This is a well written article that essentially uses the tact that the proof is in the pudding: what about the lives of our spiritual fathers, prophets, disciples? They as a whole surely did not experience the "prosperity message" in their many sufferings. The prosperity message can also be put into severe doubt with exegesis of the Scriptures. The main proponents of the "movement" are famous for taking Scriptures out of context. Perhaps an article can be written from the "exegetical" angle also. Thanks for the good article!!


05/25/2009 05:05:31 PM

The mantra - pray, believe, receive - IS NOT the answer - it IS clap-trap. The popularity of the book "The Secret" messed with peoples' minds, to the point where they felt all they had to do was ACHIEVE after the "believe" part. The economy today - as even in ancient Biblical times - does not allow for even Christians to prosper, but to WAIT on the Lord for their "Achieve-ment." Right now, I'm the poorest I've ever been, to the point of overusing my credit card to PAY my balance! There's a LOT of creative financing going on, and I'm guilty as charged. Prayer IS still important - but one has to be PROACTIVE in these times, NOT sit back and let "God" do it. The fact that He is with us - and who can be against us? - should have us waiting on the promises instead of burying our heads in the sand. This CAN be a time of RENEWAL for believers, but only if they leave the Prosperity Gospel behind.


05/24/2009 07:32:50 PM

Prosperity gospel seems to fly in the face of scriptures. The scriptures have abundant stories of 'poor people' none of which suggest that God's intention is to remove them from poverty. Even Jesus said ''The poor you always have with you.." with no suggestion that it would change. The only 'teaching' I read regarding the poor is that;;If a person has 2 coats and sees someone with no coats' then GIVE THEM ONE. The scripture usually teaches that dealing with poverty and need is a responsibility given to those who have more than they need at any given moment. You really don't see this practiced ...those who have, still build bigger storehouses for all of it and those without are told to 'give what little they have' and God will bless them. Then the have's tell the have nots.." be warmed and filled'' I'll pray for you..but seldom do anything to alleviate the need. But the sad state of affairs is so evident when most , if not all the 'Christians I know' pray and play the lotto on a regular basis. Pathetic!


05/24/2009 02:59:54 PM

I was always taught to reach for Heaven and I believe that if you are too happy in this life you will not strive for the better life that is waiting.


05/24/2009 04:07:03 AM

The prosperity gospel is so much clap - trap. It's designed to make you feel guilty & like you're unfaithful or doing something wrong in God's eyes unless you're wealthy, healthy & have a mansion, perhaps. Reverend Ike started it with his mantra of " money loves me ". Jim & Tammy Faye Baker & others kept up this strange school of thought, & many televangelists urge their followers to " give sacrificially ", sometimes when they can't afford to pay for medicine or utilities. & they're senior citizens on fixed, limited incomes. Clap - trap, indeed, unfortunate that so many people buy into it.