5 Reasons I Hate the Prosperity Gospel

Hate is a strong word. Using it should always be done in prudent fashion. People today hate a lot of things, but we must ensure we’re hating the right things. Hate is simply defined as “intense or passionate dislike” and can be a helpful learning tool for others who may be wondering why you feel so strongly about __________ (insert issue here).

In several simple paragraphs, I want to share with you why I hate the prosperity gospel. Let the reader understand, I don’t necessarily hate the people preaching it or family members who propagate it, nor do I believe that malicious or violent behavior towards a prosperity preacher is becoming of Christians. Such a thing is detestable. Still, there is an anger that God considers to be righteous (Ephesians 4:26) and we have a duty as Christians to push away apathy and embrace action when it comes to anything that tears down our God and His truth. Hatred, albeit taboo to say so, is not always a bad thing. Anger towards that which is “anti-Christ” is acceptable in God’s sight but it should always be accompanied by humble prayer and biblical explanation lest we become the dragon we’re trying to slay.

With a level-headed understanding of the kind of “hatred” in focus, here are 5 reasons why I absolutely hate the prosperity gospel:

I. It’s not good news

I’ve heard friends say, “There’s really no such thing as the prosperity gospel because there is only one gospel.” I completely agree, though I still prefer to use the terminology because people understand it so easily. “Gospel” literally means good news, and the prosperity gospel is not that at all. While prosperity preachers sell what appears to be good fortune, it’s actually damning heresy that paves the road to hell. Too strong? Not when you compare the true gospel to the lunacy that prosperity preachers promise. I love seeing lost people saved by the Gospel so much that I hate anything that gets in the way of them hearing transformational truth (Galatians 1:6-12; Romans 1:16).

II. It blasphemes Scripture

If you love God’s word, the Bible, would you ever want to lie to people about what it really says? One of the most hateful and abusive things happening in the church-world today is when a person opens the Bible and uses it as a tool for deception. This is blasphemy. This is what prosperity preachers do. The Bible declares some incredible things about itself. 2 Timothy 3:16 specifically reminds us that Scripture is “God breathed.” How dare someone take what comes directly from the Holy One and use it for sordid gain?

III. It insults Christ

I hate the way the prosperity gospel insults my Lord. He’s worthy of honor, glory, and praise. One day, every knee will bow before Him and declare Him King (Romans 14:11). But for now, there are those who smear His heavenly name to build their earthly empire. They ascribe promises to men that Jesus never made. Jesus did not come to inaugurate a get-rich-quick scheme for humanity, He came to fulfill a redemptive plan. What an insult to make Jesus into a lottery ticket! Jesus didn’t die on the cross to provide a steady stream of Bentley’s, Big Diamonds, and Botox. He died on the cross to provide our atonement. We deserved wrath for sin but He took our place. We deserved an eternity in hell but He ensured heaven would be home for those who put their faith in Him.

IV. It exploits the poor

Slowly read 1 John 3:17-18 for a moment: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Now, imagine a prosperity preacher flying into a poor country on a private jet, staying in luxurious hotels far away from the slums, and then packing a soccer stadium with 300,000 desperate people in order to exploit them for money and good TV marketing. Then, imagine the prosperity preacher airing their perfectly edited program on TBN (or other platform) and telling their American (and global) audience to give money to help the poor people they’re reaching who need the gospel. Lastly, imagine the money pouring in and the ministry CFO ensuring that millions of dollars goes to the “anointed” leader to fuel his lavish lifestyle. Wash, rinse, repeat. I’ve been there and done that. It’s fun on the inside but scary once you think about eternal ramifications. God loves the poor. Exploit them and you’re going to be dealing with Him one day.

V. It has become mainstream

Have you ever been tossed by a wave in the ocean? I remember the feeling of total helplessness several years ago during a morning surf in California. Forecasts predicted ten foot swells so a couple friends and I packed up our egos and went out to surf. Fast forward to me gasping for air and getting crushed by wave after wave as the sets rolled in with little relief. I had no business being in the water that day. Nothing is more disheartening than being crushed by the momentum of something you cannot control. Similarly, I hate the prosperity gospel because it has produced a massive wave of destruction across the globe. Worst of all, that wave of destruction has become mainstream. People want it (2 Timothy 4:3-4). From America, to Africa, to South America and beyond, the prosperity gospel is en vogue.

If you hate the prosperity gospel as much as I do, the most loving thing you can do is speak the truth to those who need to hear it the most.

__________________________

Documentary Resource: 

“American Gospel: Christ Alone” has released and quickly become one of the most impactful documentaries on the prosperity gospel to date. Brandon Kimber directed and produced this film to help people understand the difference between the gospel of the Bible and counterfeits being sold today. Numerous testimonies are already pouring in from people who held “watch parties” as a tool for outreach to friends and family being deceived. Watch it on Vimeo on Demand today. Here’s the trailer.

 

Coming in 2019: 

In order to combat some of the evil spreading through prosperity theology today, I chose to write a book that deals with it head on. It will include a thorough look at life behind the scenes, and plenty of biblical teaching to help people grow in truth. The book is titled, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel and is being published by Zondervan. You can pre-order it on Christianbook.com (currently discounted at the time of this article) or Amazon right now. Other outlets will carry it in the coming months.

11 replies
  1. Michael
    Michael says:

    Hi Costi, thanks for this article. I’ve heard some proponents argue that God blesses His followers with wealth for His glory to be used to serve the poor and share the Gospel. The argument is made that “you can’t give what you don’t have” and therefore God provides so that people can be more generous givers.

    Other arguments made (for more moderate prosperity preachers) are that prosperity theology doesn’t mean that everyone will become millionaires but rather that faithful believers will be given sufficient money by God to meet their immediate needs and enough to give towards good causes.

    Do you think that this more moderate approach is biblical or do you think its equally unbiblical? What would be your scriptural basis either way?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • costiwhinn
      costiwhinn says:

      Great questions, Michael. I’d say the argument that God provides so people can be generous is certainly valid (as long it’s not taken to extremes). Second, I would say that it is biblical to believe that God cares for His children’s needs (Matt. 6:33). All that said, I wrote about a biblical view of wealth in a recent article (I think two articles ago). Check it out if you haven’t already.

      God bless!

      Costi

      Reply
      • Michael
        Michael says:

        Hi Costi,

        Thanks for your reply, its appreciated. I agree with the points you made…I also read your suggested article and its one of the most balanced pieces I’ve read on the subject!

        A few more questions – some prosperity preachers believe that wealth is a part of the Atonement (as well as forgiveness of sins etc) and that all of our blessings come through the Cross. I assume that you disagree with this position (I think that God blesses us due to our restored relationship thru the Cross but I don’t think prosperity is part of the Atonement).

        Also, do you think its wrong for believers to claim OT promises for prosperity since we’re under the New Covenant? Some people use the verse that “God’s promises are yes and Amen through Christ” to affirm this.

        Finally (!), do you think that the passage “I pray that you be in good health and prosper even as your soul prospers” is a promise of provision?

        Thanks again!

        Reply
  2. Kit Bogan
    Kit Bogan says:

    Amen brother!!! I thank God for His work in you, His deliverance in your life, and your boldness to cry out the difference between a message of death and the gospel of life. Quick fix under II. above: should be 2 Tim. 3:16, not 1 Tim. Praying for God to continue strengthening you for His service and that God will rescue many from death and the devil as you point them to faith in our Savior!

    Reply
  3. Cecelia
    Cecelia says:

    It would have been helpful to fully understand your definition of prosperity gospel, with examples, so that your reasons could be analyzed in light of concrete definitions and not individual assumptions. That being said, I can’t authentically comment on your content except to say that I’m sure you will sell many books, hence resulting in measures of prosperity for yourself.

    Reply
    • costiwhinn
      costiwhinn says:

      Hi Cecilia,

      Thanks for commenting. A few thoughts:

      1. Here is an article from this blog that defines prosperity theology, etc…http://www.forthegospel.org/the-prosperity-gospel-a-global-epidemic/

      2. Selling books is not selling a false gospel and manipulating people for money (that’s what the prosperity gospel is).

      3. I assure you that for most authors (including me) royalties from books are modest, and as a Christian, I follow New Testament principles for giving and focusing on what is eternal more than what is temporal.

      4. Wealth or prosperity is not a sin. It is how you made it and what you do with it that matters most. Here’s an article on that: http://www.forthegospel.org/a-biblical-view-of-wealth/

      God bless you sister. Appreciate your candid question!

      Costi

      Reply
  4. Brien
    Brien says:

    All that crap…
    and you still have no evidence to prove the claims of your gods….

    Just be honest and admit that all you have is ‘faith’ and no gods…

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] 5 Reasons I Hate the Prosperity Gospel “In several simple paragraphs, I want to share with you why I hate the prosperity gospel. Let the reader understand, I don’t necessarily hate the people preaching it or family members who propagate it, nor do I believe that malicious or violent behavior towards a prosperity preacher is becoming of Christians. Such a thing is detestable. Still, there is an anger that God considers to be righteous (Ephesians 4:26) and we have a duty as Christians to push away apathy and embrace action when it comes to anything that tears down our God and His truth. Hatred, albeit taboo to say so, is not always a bad thing. Anger towards that which is “anti-Christ” is acceptable in God’s sight but it should always be accompanied by humble prayer and biblical explanation lest we become the dragon we’re trying to slay.” […]

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