Ep. 26 - The False Prosperity Gospel

Do all churches preach the same gospel? In this episode, Angel goes in-depth on the prosperity gospel. With many mega-churches in the United States, are the messages they're preaching dangerous, and false? Are they wolves in sheep's clothing?

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Intro (0:07)

Welcome to The Message Podcast with yours truly Angel. This month’s episode is called “The False Prosperity Gospel.” Happy August everyone I hope everyone’s summer has been eventful and full of great memories. If it hasn’t been, remember we still great weather for a while so take advantage and hit the beach, a carnival, a bonfire, etc. I know with me, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it and I’m so happy that I am, whenever opportunity comes about. Definitely need the distractions since I’m currently in a season of storms. But one thing I’m being reminded of, is that growing spiritually is similar to working out. In order to grow muscle, you need to first break it down. You don’t grow muscle in the gym contrary to what you may believe. The muscle gets broken down in the gym which is why you feel soreness the next day. You grow the muscle by feeding it with nutrients, staying hydrated, getting the right amount of sleep, and of course eating healthy. 

For us to grow spiritually, we have to grow from trials or workouts you can say. We need to get broken down in some ways before we can get back up stronger in our faith than before. How can we know how strong our faith is, if it’s never tested? Very similar to a muscle is when you think about it. So I’ve been seeking the presence of God more than ever before and praying sometimes 6-7 times a day. Being consistent in the Bible is key because in the gospel, it’s clear the Lord says the Christian walk will not be easy, but He will remain with us. So I encourage you with that if you’re going through a rough season. Remember that it’s needed to grow in faith. I also want to use that to segue into the topic for this month, which is the controversial prosperity gospel. I had some reservations talking about this podcast until I saw a video not too long ago explaining how dangerous it is for Christians to follow it. I’ll get into that more in a bit, but when I realized that trials and struggles in the Christian faith aren’t really talked about as much as wealth and prosperity, then I knew I had to shed some light on this. 

What Is the Prosperity Gospel? (2:08)

Alright so let’s start! If you’ve never heard of the prosperity gospel, then we first need to define what it is, and how it’s different from what the majority of churches preach. So first off the prosperity gospel’s main message is that God rewards those with faith, by allowing them to prosper in their health, as well as their wealth. 

Those who preach what I consider to be a false gospel, claim that God desires us to be rich and healthy. They claim that if you’re not healed from something it’s because you’re not believing enough, which is very offensive. If you’re not rich, it’s because of your lack of faith that God can provide you with wealth. Absolutely ridiculous but moving on. These types of churches also tend to emphasize a lot on tithing and giving money to the church because in doing so, God will in turn make you rich. 

While they emphasize on the wealth and health you can receive through God, they tend to undermine some very important things to remember about Christianity, which I’ll get into in a bit. I bet you’re listening to me explaining this thinking, “Yeah that sounds like a fake church right there, based on greed.” While I do agree very much so, unfortunately many people gravitate towards these mega churches that preach this false gospel. 

Some of you guys may be disappointed, but I’m not going to be naming those who I do feel are preaching the prosperity gospel, I feel like that undermines the fact that it’s really not just about individual people, but the principles they’re teaching. The goal is to help you be able to see who may be preaching this false doctrine. People come and go, so I want you to be able to see it for yourself because unfortunately this is something that’s currently spreading to other countries of the world. I will give you a hint however, if the church is a mega church, be very cautious.

Wealth in The Bible (3:51)

Now before I get into why I think the prosperity gospel that many see today, is so dangerous, I’d like us to first look into the scripture and see what the Word of God says regarding wealth. If we look at 1 Timothy 6:6-10 it clearly says,

'Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.'

See in the scripture, it says clearly that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It even says that those who long to be rich fall into temptation. Wealth is one of the most talked about topics within the prosperity gospel. See where I’m going with this? Why don’t we pull up another verse, this time from Jesus. In the book of Matthew 19:24 He says,

I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Am I delusional here, or does it seem as if the prosperity gospel, what’s it’s preaching, is contradicting the Word of God? How does God want you to be rich, yet warning us of the dangers of wanting wealth?

Why It Is Wrong (5:33)

Ok let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this podcast. Why do I think the prosperity gospel is not only dangerous, but also a false teaching? If you want the short answer to it, I actually saw a meme not too long ago that said the following: “In the prosperity gospel the believer uses God for their purposes, where as in the true gospel is just the opposite, God saves the believer for his purposes.”

That is the main issue with this false teaching. It emphasizes on what God can do for you, and not so much on what God has already done for you. When someone gives their life to God, it should not be to gain wealth and health in this life. When we surrender to God, it should be based on the fact that we recognize what He has already done through Jesus Christ. The main reason we should want God, is because He’s God. He is more than enough. Unfortunately this gospel preaches a message that many prefer to hear. What I mean by that is, this false teaching focusses on the wrong things. These false teachings tell people that God wants them to be rich. God wants you to be healthy in life. If you aren’t rich or healed physically, it’s due to your lack of faith. That is dangerous and false. 

People come into these mega churches, and you know what? Not even mega churches, just these types of churches in general, with a false sense of hope, as well as many times, wrong intentions. We should want more faith to be more firm in our lives. So that we are better in our walks with Christ and in turn can give testimony to others. What needs to be said here is that, the Christian walk is not easy. It will cost you your life. Being Christian doesn’t guarantee you to be rich. In third world countries, you will see that in some of the poorest people, are some of the happiness and passionate Christians you will find anywhere. They’re content with what they have and share even the little. 

Yet that’s not these false prophets teach about. They offer you something that you don’t need through God. Riches. You don’t need to have a relationship with God to be wealthy. What kind of gospel offers unbelievers what they already wanted before God? What kind of gospel would offer something that God has clearly warned us against wanting? Look at some of the top 20 wealthiest people in the world, how many of them you think are Christian and show it by their fruits? Now I haven’t checked the list myself, but I bet you won’t find anyone. Wealth in most instances is a curse. It encourages greed and selfish ambitions. Why would God want us to be tempted with that? Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying making a lot of money is bad, but wanting to keep a lot of money is in my opinion. If you make a lot of money, you should use it as an opportunity to make a positive difference in this world, unlike these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Unfortunately these false prophets travel in these million dollar jets to poor countries preaching a gospel that gives them a false hope. They take the little money these people have, only to take it bring with them to the United States. Don’t get me wrong there are false preachers like this everywhere, but I notice most of them are coming from the U.S. They take advantage of the fact that churches don’t get taxed, and see it unfortunately as an opportunity to make money off of people looking for hope. It’s disgusting and it bothers me so much because it’s not right. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, knowing I was doing that.

Now I want to make something very clear, God does promises prosperity for us. We will all be rich, at least those who followed Christ. The Bible talks about inheriting the kingdom of God. We forget sometimes that Adam and Eve were initially placed on Earth to have dominion over it. God’s plan never changed. If we look to 2 Timothy 2:12 it says,

“If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us.”

So while yes we will eventually obtain riches, rule with God, and never know what disease or disability is, that doesn’t mean we are guaranteed to experience that now. These false prophets give people a sense of hope that, through faith they are guaranteed to be healed from disease. That’s not always the case, because it’s not always the will of God. God works in mysterious ways and when I pray for healing for a loved one, or anyone for that matter, I always say, “Let your will be done.” Sometimes  what we want, doesn’t match up with the will of God, and we should be able to accept that and not blame it on our lack of faith. If a Christian gets cancer and passes away, is that a testament to their lack of faith? It’s foolish to think so. 

This false gospel promises too many things people would prefer to hear, rather than equipping them to be strong in their faith to withstand the struggles in this life. Sorry to break the bad news but, Christianity is a life that can be very difficult. There will be good times, and times where your faith is really being tested. There are Christians today in 2019 that are being persecuted for believing in the gospel. Killed for refusing to denounce their faith that Jesus Christ is the messiah. There are currently missionaries in dangerous countries, risking their lives to spread the gospel. You think they’re staying in mansions at these countries? Obviously not! So how does a gospel that promises riches and health make any sense here? 

How to Detect a Prosperity Gospel Preacher (11:04)

The prosperity gospel as you can see, is dangerous. This isn’t like comparing baptist versus pentecostal verses non-denominational. This is a completely different teaching than what the actual gospel is preaching. It is a gospel that gives people what they want to hear. People want to hear that God can make them rich. People want to hear they can healed of everything. People don’t want to hear that the Christian life has sufferings. They don’t want to hear that their loved one may pass away from an illness, regardless of prayer. They don’t want to hear that this life will have trials that will test their strength. How can they be firm in the faith by listening to false prophets on TV telling them what they want to hear, and promising something they wanted before they ever looked towards the direction of God?

This world we will in, unfortunately gets more corrupt every year. More false pastors are rising so I want you to be aware that not everyone who says they’re a Christian, is actually one. I want you to be able to detect who is preaching this, so that you can stay far away from it. I honestly considered namedropping some of the pastors who are preaching this prosperity gospel, but then it would makes it more about the people, and less about the concept of this teaching. I will say this, if the preacher has any of the following, I would be very cautious. There’s also Google but hey, you’re already on this podcast so haha.

Anyways here are somethings to look for:

  1. Is the pastor living above everyone else? Do they have an unnecessarily large mansion while there are members of the church struggling to make the rent?

  2. What does the pastor preach about usually? Are the preachings all more like motivational speeches? Do they deemphasize on the struggles and hardships in this Christian walk? Are they going deep into the actual scripture? Or just seemingly skimming through it?

  3. How does the pastor travel? Are they being humble in their traveling or are they flying in a million jet to other countries to preach? Their lifestyles are a massive indication. I won’t namedrop but that’s as close as it’ll get.

Obviously there’s more but I think those are of the key indicators that someone is a false prophet preaching this controversial prosperity gospel. 

Words of Encouragement (13:26)

With that being said, I know all this can be discouraging. To know that there are people out there that will not give God an opportunity, due to thinking every church is like that. It’s our job to educate, and show others what being Christian truly is about. Being Christian is about loving others. It’s about helping our neighbor. It’s about showing selflessness and humility. To encourage, rather than condemn. Let’s be the difference and show others through our lives, what it really means to be a Christian.

The world we live in today, is full of evil and corruption unfortunately, which is why it’s important to be able to detect wolves in sheep’s clothing. Stay firm in God. Seek His presence daily through worship, prayer, and studying the word of God. Doing so help us discern what’s from God, to what isn’t. Remember in 1 John 4:1 it says, 

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Prayer (14:21)

As we reach near the end of the podcast, I’d like to pray with you. I’d like to pray for you to be able to discern what’s from God. I’d also like to pray for whatever difficulties in life you may be going through. Life isn’t easy, but God never said it would be. Let’s remember the tough times are only temporary. Let’s focus on the promises of the Lord, such as that, He will never leave us. 

Dear Father in heaven, Lord I thank you for the life of whoever is listening. I thank you because I know they were created with purpose. I know they were created with glorifying you through their life. Lord we pray tonight because the enemy controls the world. The more time goes by, the more corrupt this world gets. More people are turning away from you, seeking false teachings that tell them what they want to hear. Lord help us discern what is from you, and what is not. Lord your word says that false teachers would rise, so help us through the Holy Spirit, figure out who is really for you and the kingdom. We also pray Lord that you may help us in our daily struggles in life. This walk is not easy at times. Sometimes this life has storms where we may feel down and alone. Let us always remember the bad times are only temporary, and that you are always with us. Help us change our mind-frame from “Why is this happening to me?” to “What can I learn from this? You have plans of good, and not evil, so may we always lean on you through the ups and the downs. We thank you Lord because you are amazing. We thank you because of who you are. We thank you for everything, and in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Outro (16:05)

Well you guys, that brings up to the end of this episode. I really hope this podcast was able to clear up some confusion you may have had, regarding the prosperity gospel, and show how different its teachings are compared to what the gospel actually preaches. Thank you so much for tuning in. I pretty much say this every episode, but I really do appreciate your time and I take that very seriously when I create these podcasts. If you enjoyed this episode, please don’t forget to subscribe! I’m currently releasing episodes once per month so I won’t spam your phone I promise haha. It would also mean a ton if you could leave a review on Apple Podcasts as it would help the podcast grow. 

Also feel free to reach out to me on social media, or through my website, mynameisangel.com with any questions or comments. I respond much quicker than you may think so if you need to contact me for anything, I got you! Remember who you are. Remember you are loved, you are valuable, and that you are amazing! God loves you and He wants to do amazing things in your life. Stay focussed on Him and you’ll never face life alone. God bless you and until next time, this has been The Message.