Yesterday I began reading Health, Wealth, & Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? by David Jones & Russell Woodbridge. The authors describe it as “a short book to address the failings of the prosperity gospel, as well as give direction to disillusioned followers of prosperity theology” and to serve as a resource for “concerned Christians [who don’t] always know what to say to their friends and family about such teachers.”
The book has been excellent so far, but what I wanted to share today are two quotes from the book’s introduction. The first comes from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who just a little over 100 years ago pastored the largest congregation in the world (often preaching to crowds of over 10,000… without amplification!):
I believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You will say, “Are we not to strive all we can to get all the money we can?” You may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in so doing, you may do service to the cause of God. But what I said was that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.
Today, the largest congregation in America (and one of the largest in the world) is “pastored” by Joel Osteen. Here’s a quote from his most recent book, It’s Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God’s Favor:
When you say of the Lord you are healthy, you are whole, you are free, you are blessed, you are prosperous — when you say it, God has promised He will do it… If you are not sharing in His favor, you might want to watch your words. Here’s the key: If you don’t unleash your words in the right direction, if you don’t call in favor, you will not experience those blessings. Nothing happens unless we speak. Release your faith with your words.
The contrast couldn’t be more startling. Prosperity theology is one of the most damnable heresies in the history of the Church, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book in hopes of finding answers for helping those I know and love who are trapped by it to escape and turn to the true Gospel of Christ.