Health, Wealth and the (Real) Gospel

The, so called, prosperity gospel is a massive category of false teaching that stretches across different areas of life, it crosses into different denominations and different expressions of it can be found in most areas of the world. Probably the most well-known place for the prosperity gospel is in the US, which has big names promoting this false doctrine.

But, the prosperity gospel isn’t always easy to spot. On the surface level things can seem to be ok. We might be tempted to think that as long as they’re speaking form the Bible nothing can be that wrong. Sadly, that’s not true.

The prosperity gospel twists Scripture, makes promises that the Bible never does and puts any negativity on the ‘lack of faith’ of the individual. The prosperity gospel is so damaging because it completely twists the bible and gives people a wrong view of God.

In this short book (just 105 pages) Sean DeMars and Mike McKinley take you to Scripture to show you that the prosperity gospel cannot stand when it meets the truths of Scripture. The thing I like about this book is that it’s written by a prosperity gospel ‘survivor’ and a man who has had ‘run-ins’ with the prosperity gospel. Both of the authors are pastors with a deep love for God’s Word and for His people, that’s evident in the book.

The heart of this book is to help the reader understand what is and what is not the gospel. It’s written for the person with friends of family members wrapped up in the prosperity gospel and also for people who might think that they’re in a prosperity gospel preaching church. Why is this so important? Here’s one paragraph to highlight the importance of knowing and discerning who are false teachers and what a false gospel is;

“Prosperity gospel teachers are more dangerous than an inept surgeon or a roach-infected restaurant. Those things might make you ill; they might even shorten your life. But if you believe false things about Jesus, if you don’t understand what it means to be saved by Him or to be His disciples, the consequences are disastrous for eternity.”

In the first chapter, The Heart of the Prosperity Gospel, the authors take you to four of the most prominent ideas of the prosperity gospel and highlight the problem with them.

  1. Prosperity gospel: God wants to bless you materially.
    Problem; It puts our focus on the gift more than the giver.
  2. Prosperity gospel: God wants us to speak with power.
    Problem: It confuses creatures and their Creator.
  3. Prosperity gospel: God doesn’t want us to suffer!
    Problem: God promises His people will suffer in the world.
  4. Prosperity gospel: God wants us to live the victorious, prosperous life!
    Problem: Scripture teaches the faithful Christian life can’t be reduced to a few themes.

This book isn’t an attack on people, although it does mention names of prominent prosperity gospel teachers like Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Creflor Dollar, Paula White, Joyce Meyer and more. The book is gracious and doesn’t attempt to stir up hatred towards these people, but instead to warn you of their teaching.

Seeing false teaching should make us sad, it should hurt us because it’s deceiving millions of people across the world, but it should also lead us to pray, for the teacher and their listeners, to hear the true gospel of Jesus and to find life in Him.

I recommend you get a hold of this book if you want to know the dangers of the prosperity gospel and how to lovingly call its listeners to the true gospel of Jesus. You can grab a copy here from Christian Focus.

Sean is the pastor of 6th Avenue Community Church in Decatur, Alabama. He has a wonderful wife and two amazing girls. The best thing about him is that he belongs to Jesus. 

Mike is Senior Pastor at Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia and author of several books. Mike has been married to Karen since 1997, and they have five children.

*** I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not change the way I rate the book. My views are my own. ***

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