Thursday, 30 May 2013

Prosperity Gospel

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile but have been putting it off because I don't totally understand it.  However, it's been mentioned out there a couple of places recently so it's probably time.  Here's the triggering article...

How E.W. Jackson’s ‘Prosperity Gospel’ Could Spell Bad News For Low-Income Virginians

Jackson’s theology, like most articulations of the prosperity gospel, is wildly problematic and spiritually exploitative. His glorification of money and wealth flies in the face of Christian gospel messages such as Matthew 19, where Jesus tells a young rich man “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” What’s more, the idea that giving “upward” (to the wealthy) is somehow morally preferable to giving “downward” (to the poor) is the opposite of Jesus’ repeated instruction to care for the “least of these,” and ignores verses in Proverbs, James, and 1 John that clearly prioritize giving to the less fortunate. Worst of all, Jackson implies that people who are poor simply aren’t believing hard enough, meaning the plight of the underprivileged is somehow the result of their own lack of piety.
  Here's some links to save you time.
What does the Bible say about Prosperity Gospel
It's also known as Word of Faith
The Bankruptcy of the Prosperity Gospel
The Prosperity Gospel is actually Satan's Gospel

As best I understand it, which is limited, assuming it is actually an understandable concept, the Prosperity Gospel means...

  • financial blessing is the will of God for Christians
  • donations to Christian ministries will increase one's material wealth
  • implemented through positive confession, visualization
  • sickness and poverty are curses to be broken by faith
  • a Christian with faith can speak into existence anything consistent with the will of God
I will leave it to the people linked above to address specific theological concerns.  I'm a logician so that's the approach I take.  The flip-side of the above...

  • if you are poor or sick you lack the favour of God, likely for being cursed, not giving to the church, not confessing everything, not visualizing correctly or praying hard enough 
  • the methodology of Prosperity Gospel is identical to the methods attempted by Satan in the temptation of Christ 
  • in violation of John 1:1, the Logos is not Christ, anyone has access to Logos.  Heresy.
The whole thing reminds me of The Secret, which is turn is based on the Law of Attraction which is basically "like attracts like" - magical thinking.  The alchemists (yes, I've studied it extensively) attempted it and it just plain didn't work.  It's victim blaming of the worst possible sort.

And you know where it got it's start?  The televangelists - yes those guys who would be all over the TV saying "send me money or the gays will take over the world" or even better "if you don't send money, God will call me home".

Good riddance.  It's a pity they never found Christ.