Prosperity Gospel: A Different Gospel?

 Is Health, Wealth, and Wisdom Prosperity gospel a different gospel? Is it true that Christians can “name it and claim it” or “What I confess, I Possess”?

Although Word of Faith movement has many elements of truth, its core doctrine, namely prosperity gospel, falls outside the faith that was once for all delivered.

In this series I attempted to explore the routes and progress of “Word of Faith” movement, respond to Biblical passages used by its proponents, and last show that prosperity gospel is a different gospel that distorts the gospel of Christ because it is a faith in faith and not faith in Christ Jesus.

The faith, I contend for, is that which enjoys, delights and treasures Christ for who He is and not for what gifts He can provide. Christ Jesus’ grace is sufficient for us and His power is made perfect in our weakness, and not in our physical health nor material wealth prosperity.

Name It And Claim It: Understanding Word of Faith

Utilizing New Thought of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby’s (1802-1866), a metaphysical notion that sickness and suffering originate in incorrect thing and man has a power of positive confession, to visualize health and wealth and confessing them with his mouth so as to tangibly receive them, Essek William Kenyon(1867-1948), in late 20th, wedded “power of mind” and “Pentecostalism” to form the Word of Faith (“name it and claim it” or “What I confess, I Possess”) movement.

De jure, proponents of Word of Faith will attempt to substitute “power of mind” with “force of faith” but de facto, I believe, it’s a substitution without difference. For example Emilie Cady asserted “there is power in our word of faith to bring all good things right into our everyday life […] our affirming, backed by faith, is the link that connects our conscious human need with His power and supply”(Cady nd) and Warren Felt Evans contended, “ Faith is the most intense form of metal action”(Evans 1873:152)

Kenneth Hagin, studying under Kenyon, pocketed Kenyon’s theology and advanced it to a higher level, which I believe, helped to shape what is the Word of Faith movement today.

Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Paul & Jan Crouch, Frederick K. C. Price, John Avanzini, Robert Tilton, Marilyn Hickey, Paul Yonggi Cho, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Morris Cerullo, Paul Crouch, Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are among known Church leaders in Word of Faith movement.

Word of Faith movement emphasizes in speaking, confessing, stating or demanding the Bible promises-verses. If you believe and confess/speak “spiritual” or “faith-filled” words, this movement clarifies, then you, as a child of a King, will receive what you  speak, confesses, state or demand of God.

Frederick K. C. Price, whose life was transformed by Kenneth Hagin’s books; “What Faith Is, Right and Wrong Thinking, The Authority of the Believer”,  claimed in his sermon titled Is God Glorified Through Sickness?”:

“How can you glorify God in your body, when it doesn’t function right? […] What makes you think the Holy Ghost wants to live inside of a body where He can’t see out through the windows, and He can’t hear out the ears? […] And what makes you think He wants to live in a temple where He can’t see out of the eyes, and He can’t walk with the feet, and He can’t move with the hand? […] The only eyes that He has that are in the earth realm are the eyes that are in the body. If He can’t see out of them then God’s gonna be limited he’s not going to be helped” (Price: tape)

Positive confessions, speaking, confessing, stating or demanding out aloud what you want to happen with the expectation that God will make it a reality, is a creative power to demand favors of God. God, in Word of Faith movement, has already blessed us not only with spiritual blessing but also material and physical blessing and the only thing that stands between us and receiving the blessing is our faith. God, is said, wants your best life now.

In the next article, in this series, I will explore the theology of preachers in Word of Faith movement, bringing to light their teachings. “He that serves God for money will serve the devil for better wages.” warned Robert L’Estrange.

Question: I am correct in thinking that prosperity gospel is a different gospel? Give reasons.

Next: Understanding the Gospel According To Prosperity Preachers


[1] Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: A popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (292). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Bibliography:

Cady ,H. Emilie, Lessons in Truth (Unity Village, MO: Unity Books, n.d.)

Warren Felt Evans, “Mental Medicine: A Treatise on Medical Psychology,” 15th ed. (Boston: H. H. Carter & Co., 1873 [orig. 1885]), 152; quoted in Braden, 121.

Price, Frederick K. C.” Is God Glorified Through Sickness?” Los Angeles: Crenshaw Christian Center, n.d. audiotape #FP605