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Bad Religion and the Prosperity Gospel

Written by: on April 12, 2015

Bad Religion and the Prosperity Gospel

April 11, 15

While I am not totally against the message of prosperity through faith, I want to clarify I am not a Word of Faith minister or any of those main stream movements that advocate this totally luxurious life style. I do believe that, as a child of God it does come with some perks and God will bless you by your faith. Ross Douthat comes very hard at some of the mainstream leaders who are prophets of the Prosperity Gospel. He really hits hard at Joel Osteen. I am not a real fan of Joel and it’s not because of his mega church. It’s just some of the things he preaches. He does not seem to have a well-rounded gospel. I am not his judge so I will move on.

It is very clear to me though that the capitalist spirit of America has definitely crept into the church. As Douthat says is Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, “ By linking the spread of the gospel to the habits and mores of capitalism, and by explicitly baptizing the pursuit of worldly gain, prosperity theology has helped millions of believers reconcile their religious faith with their nation’s seemingly unbiblical wealth and un-Christian consumer culture.”[1] I see this in the churches I go too and I hope that the seeds of our culture when it comes to wealth are not seen in me. I think we should preach success though. As I strive to be the best leader that I can I don’t see anything wrong with inspiring others to be their best in what they do. I don’t think it should just be about money though. I believe it should also be the kind of person you are as a Christian.

Now without getting into the “name it and claim it” crowd I do believe in receiving what you ask for. One of Kenneth Hagin’s mantra was, “ Here is the principle of faith: believe in your heart, say it with your mouth, and ‘he shall have whatsoever he saith.”[2] Now I learned years ago to stop speaking negative things into my own life. I have seen God bless me because of it so there is truth to Hagin’s statement. I also believe that not every thing we ask God is according to his will. I believe you need to ask according his will and in the end just say, “nevertheless thy will be done.” So again without becoming a name it and claim it person I still believe you do have to confess with your mouth in prayer for the things you need and even some things you want.

Is it so sinful to have nice things while we suffer in this world? I don’t want to be poor all of my life. I thank God for what he has blessed me with but to be realistic who wants to be poor? I lived on the east side of Los Angeles and it was nothing virtuous about poverty. Even though virtue can come out of humble beginnings, it is still hurtful to see how some people degrade themselves with drugs, alcoholism, sex, and violence. I like this snippet from Bad Religion, “In the story of the camel and the needle’s eye, the disciples recognized, all men stand condemned not because we are all rich, but because almost all of us desire to be so and too often organize our lives around that desire.”[3]

I like the picture Doss Douthat painted of some of these mega church superstar preachers because some are just over the edge but I believe that God is interested in our welfare too. He wants us to look to him so that we are not captivated by the world and the Capitalist spirit that our un- Christian Consumer culture fosters!!!

 

[1]             Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How we Became a Nation of Heretics [New York: Free Press, 2012], 183.

[2] Ibid., 186.

[3] Ibid., 191-192.

About the Author

mm

Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

4 responses to “Bad Religion and the Prosperity Gospel”

  1. Phillip Struckmeyer says:

    Travis, thanks for the honesty. You said a lot when you wrote, “I don’t want to be poor all of my life. I thank God for what he has blessed me with but to be realistic who wants to be poor? I lived on the east side of Los Angeles and it was nothing virtuous about poverty.”
    I really have a poor theology of wealth (no pun intended). I fear most of what I have and want to say God has blessed me with has been on trains in my own and more in have of the American Dream while being a good person. It is so hard to know with how pervasive our capitalism, consumerism, and materialism has become. Good post and come on Jabez:)!

  2. mm Travis Biglow says:

    Phill,

    Amen Phil, capitalism, consumerism and materialism is in every sector of life including the church. I just believe that God wants us to be blessed. That might not entail wealth all the time but if you look back at our father Abraham he was blessed greatly as well as Isaac and Jacob (Israel) and Abraham is the father of us all and according the word we are blessed with that faithful Abraham through our faith!

  3. mm Nick Martineau says:

    Good stuff Travis…Totally agree that the prosperity gospel is a bad thing but that doesn’t mean we should strive for success. It really comes down with how we use that success and wealth…hopefully it’s for the Kingdom. Just like you concluded, “I believe it should also be the kind of person you are as a Christian.” Thanks Travis.

    • travis biglow says:

      Nick,
      Thank you, i think we are headed to doing the best that we can do. Being in a doctorate program and applying our best is a sign we want to be our best. Blessings Nick

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