This website is about to get much more controversial, so buckle up! Prosperity theology, also known as “Prosperity Gospel” or the “Health and Wealth Gospel” is a controversial subject within the Church. It’s also known as the “Word of Faith” movement, because the teachers within this movement adhere to prosperity theology.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is Prosperity Gospel/Word of Faith? Looking At It In-Depth…
- Is it God’s Will For Christians To Be Wealthy/Rich?
- Is it God’s Will For Christians To Be Healthy?
- How John 3 (not to be confused with 3 John) Disproves Prosperity Interpretations
What is Prosperity Gospel/Word of Faith? Looking At It In Depth…
This horrendous movement teaches people that it is God’s will for Christians to be wealthy, have financial success, be rich, be healthy, be healed, and free from sickness and disease, etc. That’s why it’s called “prosperity gospel” – it promotes that every Christian is entitled to a nice, abundant lifestyle since they think it’s “God’s will”. This is not the case, and as you keep reading I’ll explain why in depth – I have a lot to say on this subject. Fun fact: the Word of Faith movement actually derived from the Pentecostal movement (aka Charismatic), which might be next week’s post.
Word of Faith preachers promote a “name it and claim it” type agenda, which at first would seem harmless, but now that I’m educated on this topic – it sickens me. That if you have faith in what you want, it’ll come to you, since it’s “God’s will”, manipulating the faith force. This is basically the same thing as manifestation, which is New Age – which is a sin. So how is this any different than the New Age movement? It’s not, they’re just using God’s name to back up their narratives. This is literal idolatry. To clarify what I’m saying about the Word of Faith/Prosperity movement, I’ll show you some examples I frequently find on Instagram:
If you’re seeing posts like that ^^^ on Instagram, Tiktok, or wherever it may be – you need to run from it. Do not comment “Amen” on those types of posts, don’t be a brainless idiot. Don’t “claim those” either, because at that point you’re playing with Satan. Know better. It’s not biblical and is very deceptive. Don’t blindly agree to it. Let’s get one thing straight: GOD IS NOT A GENIE. Say it with me: God! Is! Not! A! Genie! Ok great, now that we’ve got that covered, let’s move on.
Celebrities and Prosperity Gospel?
There are celebrities that “thank God” for their success and wealth, but are they really thanking God? A prime example, on the top of my head, is Cardi B. Her Instagram bio has “GOD IS GREAT” yet does not serve or worship Him, nor is she holy from some basic knowledge about her – in fact, she’s quite worldly. She once posed as a Hindu god– but that’s another story. Cardi B decided to “thank God for the blood of His son” after being blessed materialistically. This man on Tiktok, offered some words of wisdom as a response.
And I agree with him! I do believe Cardi B was given material “blessings” by Satan, since that’s what the devil does. She is thanking God, whom her lifestyle is visibly against, for what Satan gave her. I believe she’s deceived, so we need to pray for her. But this goes back to my point, the prosperity gospel is demonic. I truly think it is from Satan. So keep reading to see me debunk this common, but false and deceptive gospel.
Is it God’s Will For Christians To Be Wealthy/Rich?
I will start this off by saying that I do believe God wants people to be financially STABLE. This is not the same thing as being rich or wealthy. A person can work a middle-class job with a middle-class salary, and live in an average house. If their finances are stable, this does not make them rich. But I’m talking about rich, as in “God wants you to be wealthy and rich, and own a mansion!” type thing. That’s what these prosperity preachers teach. But it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The answer is NO, it is not God’s will for Christians to be wealthy and financially well-off. God is actually against this. There are many Bible verses that support my claim, since Jesus Christ Himself openly condemned the love of money, chasing money, rich men trying to get into heaven, etc. Take a look at the following verses, and observe how they condemn wealth:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”– Matthew 6:19-21
Jesus does not want us to have earthly treasures like fancy cars and mansions. He prefers us to have heavenly treasures, such as the rewards and what God will give us in heaven.
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this, the man’s face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”– Mark 10:21-25
A rich man asked how to get eternal life, but while Jesus instructed Him to keep the moral law, He also asked that the man sell everything he has to the poor. The man was disappointed and failed to do so. Jesus as a result, explains that it is quite difficult for a rich man to get into heaven.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”– Luke 6:24
Jesus condemns the financially rich, since they are already comfortable. He is upset that the poor are not looked after instead, who will be rich with God in heaven.
“And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”– Luke 12:15
Jesus condemns covetousness (a major sin, the 10th commandment). Jesus tells us that a person’s value and life is not measured by their material possessions.
“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”– 1 Timothy 6:8-10
Paul condemns greed and the desire to be financially rich, saying food and clothing is enough to be content. The desire to be rich leads to temptations and evil desires. It can be so dangerous, that people have departed from faith because of the love for money.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.””– Hebrews 13:5
The writer of Hebrews tells us to keep our lives free from the love of money, and to be content and grateful for what we have, because we have God. And our loving God will never leave or forsake us, unlike money.
So, I hope those verses are enough to show you why the wealth part of prosperity theology is very incorrect. There are probably more verses, but I didn’t want to put too much, I’ll have mercy on your eyes. But prosperity preachers sadly ignore those verses – they either twist them or ignore them altogether, which is cherry-picking scripture. Instead, they use OTHER verses from the Bible and twist them to say what they want. This is true for the health part too, which we’ll see in a few sections.
Common Verses That Prosperity Preachers Twist To Promote Wealth and Richness
These are some common verses twisted by prosperity teachers, to promote the idea of money and wealth – with an explanation of the context and true meaning.
“Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.”– Genesis 13:2
This does not guarantee that God’s will is for every believer to be rich. This was his will for Abraham (Abram) though, we don’t know why – God has His reasons. But just because one person, ABRAHAM was rich and prosperous, does not mean we all should be. King Solomon had 1000+ wives, which God actually allowed. Does this mean I should be a polygamist too? No. Saying that Christians are promised riches because Abraham was, is inserting yourself into the text, aka eisegesis.
“If they listen and serve him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness.”– Job 36:11
This verse isn’t even about money. Money, or the concept of money, is mentioned absolutely nowhere in this verse. Prosperity doesn’t always = health and wealth. God DOES want us to prosper – as in peace, joy, love, happiness, basically bearing the fruits of the Spirit. This is something to remember. God is not promising the people money or a big house and whatnot. Firstly, this was directed to a group of people, and second – the prosperity from God is most likely referring to the fruits of the Spirit and happiness.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”– Jeremiah 29:11
This one isn’t just misquoted by word of faith preachers, but also many misguided Christians in general. This verse is not about prosperity, nor is it even speaking to us. Context is super important here too, since the book of Jeremiah was written about the Jews in exile in Babylon. Specifically, in 29:11, God is promising a specific group of people restoration. Who? The Israelites. And actually, this isn’t amazing news since the Israelites would be in exile for another 70 years…
Something that will definitely come up in future blog posts of mine, is that you cannot insert yourself into the text while reading scripture. That’s an interpretation heresy called “eisegesis”. We need proper exegesis to determine what the author intended to say, who it was said to, when, and historical context.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”– Mark 11:23-24
THIS IS THE VERSE MOST COMMONLY TWISTED BY THE WORD OF FAITH MOVEMENT. Not only them but also by Christians who try to defend the New Age practices, such as manifestation. People like to say that believing you already have something (literally what the Word of Faith movement teaches) will make it happen. This is treating God like a genie. Like I said before, God is NOT a genie.
This verse is actually promoting prayer within God’s will. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us how to pray to God the Father, and it says “thy will be done”. It’s putting God’s will above our own. This does not mean God is going to give us absolutely anything in the world, but rather what is good and acceptable to His will (Romans 12:2). For example, if you asked God to make you holier and walk according to the Spirit better, God would grant that request – He’s doing so for me. This is because this is God’s will, for a believer to become holy (1 Peter 1:16) and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”– John 10:10
People interpret this as to mean that Satan steals, kills and destroys, so therefore Jesus owes them an abundant and wealthy lifestyle. This is not the case. When Jesus uses the word “abundantly”, he was not referring to an increase of materialistic possession – but life lived as a higher level of obedience to God’s will and reflecting his glory. In other words, this is about abundance of a spiritual life. And besides, this verse isn’t even about Satan – John 10:10 is about the contrast between shepherds, so the “thief” is actually about false shepherds.
“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”– John 14:14
This is very similar to Mark 11:23-24. But the context is different. These are Jesus’s words to His 12 disciples, as reassurance. Look at verse 6 that’s famously quoted, “I am the way the truth and the life”. This was not spoken to us, but to 12 apostles. From verse 12 onward, this is about doing “greater works” in Jesus’s name. This is not Jesus saying, “treat me like a genie!” but rather explaining that whoever believes in God will go onto do great works. Then we have verse 14, which ties into it, because it’s saying that whoever prays according to God’s will, God will grant their request if it’s for His glory and His will. Just a slight repeat of Mark 11.
“You do not have because you do not ask”– James 4:2
Commonly preached by the Word of Faith movement. They’ll use this verse to tell you, “You’re not rich because you didn’t ask!” leading to their “name it and claim it” practices. This is absolutely not true. It’s actually quite funny because they ignore the verse RIGHT AFTER, which says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). The general context of James 4:1-4 condemns covetousness, take a look for yourself.
This is my point, these people are asking with greedy motives. They think they can force God’s right hand into giving them what they want – but why would God do that? Paul even mentioned that in 1 Corinthians 6:10 that the greedy do not inherit God’s kingdom. They ask with wrong motives, greedy and materialistic motives.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”– Philippians 4:19
This verse is discussing God supplying a believer’s NEEDS not wants. Money, cars, mansion, and a nice luxurious lifestyle are not needs – they are wants. God’s “riches in glory in Jesus” do not refer to materialism, but rather spiritual riches.
Is it God’s Will For Christians To Be Healthy?
Although many Christians reject the money part of this doctrine, they’re quick to claim that healing for everyone, at every time, is God’s will. It’s hypocrisy. Am I saying healing isn’t biblical? No! I’ve been healed of a nosebleed and stomach pain in the past. But there have also been times where I’ve cried out to God during excruciating headaches and He did not heal me. Word of Faith teachers would probably tell me that I didn’t have enough faith. Simply not the case.
It is not God’s will for everyone to be healed, because that’s just not how He works. We do not know why He is like this – why God chooses to heal some but not others. We must trust in His purpose, and remind ourselves of Isaiah 55:8-9. Unlike the “wealth” part of the prosperity gospel, there are not many verses that support the claim I am making. In fact, it seems like there’s just the opposite…
Common Verses That Prosperity Preachers Twist To Promote Guaranteed Healing
Prosperity preachers like to use many verses to justify their narrative, that God’s will is to physically/mentally heal every person who asks. I will debunk all of these, with proper exegesis and interpretation. Here are some verses they like to use:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”– Isaiah 53:5
This is the favorite verse of the prosperity preachers. Isaiah 53 is about the prophecy of Jesus, I love it and it’s beautiful. But – they interpret this verse to mean that Jesus’s wounds from the crucifixion somehow mean every believer is healed physically/mentally? That every Christian is guaranteed healing because of what Jesus did on the cross? Absolutely not the case.
What the writer of Isaiah 53 meant is that Jesus’s work on the cross, guarantees spiritual healing to those who believe. The same words are repeated in 1 Peter 2:24, that Jesus was crushed and pierces for our sins, transgressions, and iniquities. But again, the use of the word “healed”, means spiritual healing, going from dead in our sin to alive in Christ (Eph. 2:5), and to have the debt of sin paid off. Jesus’s work on the cross was for people to be reconciled with God and have their sins forgiven. We are freed from sin’s penalty since we chose to believe. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus’s work on the cross promises physical/mental healing. Ever.
“For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, ‘Because they called you an outcast saying: “This is Zion; No one seeks her.”– Jeremiah 30:17
This is the other one that they like to use. Once again, this is written to the Israelites in Babylon. Aka God promising a specific group of people, The Israelites, healing and restoration, once again. The deeper context of Jeremiah, like I said, is about God’s promises and messages to the Israelites, who were in exile in Babylon. This is not God promising healing to every believer of Jesus Christ, His words were not to all people who decide to read that verse.
You cannot stare at Jeremiah 30:17 and declare that it is God’s will for you to be physically/mentally healed – that’s what He promised to the Israelites, not you. Are you an Israelite who lived thousands of years ago? No. So don’t claim that God owes you healing. To say that is cherry-picking. Taking single Bible verses out of context is indeed dangerous, which is why we have so many heresies today.
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”– 3 John 1:2
I’ve also seen this verse frequently quoted in comment sections of social media, when they try to defend their claim. Last week, I was in a TikTok preacher’s comment section, calling him out on the “God promises to heal” doctrine that he loves to proclaim. One of his simping followers decided to quote this verse to me. I don’t remember my exact response, it wasn’t that long – but I definitely needed to include this verse in my post.
Context is important as I said, but the general context of 3 John isn’t as relevant as the wording of this verse, so let’s look at that. Verse 2 starts out with “Beloved, I pray”. This is not John saying “Beloved, this is God’s will”. John is PRAYING for a group of people, and the rest of verse 2 tells what he is praying for. John prays that “all may go well” and that they may “be in good health”. This does not suggest that God’s will is for everyone to be in good health. John is showing us that we should pray for people to be in good health – I haven’t argued against that once. God does indeed heal people as He chooses, and He has His reasons for that.
We can use 1 Corinthians 14:5, where Paul says, “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.” Notice how Paul says “I WISH”. It’s basically the same thing that John says, “I pray”. Paul is saying here that he wishes that all people could speak in tongues, proving that it’s not God’s will for everyone to. Wishing does not mean it will happen. Just like when John prayed over people’s health, that does not suggest that God will heal everyone at every time, although he prayed for it, it is something he wished.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”– James 5:16
This is the easiest one to debunk. The “healing” in this verse does not refer to physical or mental healing, but spiritual healing. That’s why James urges us to “confess our SINS” because sin destroys a human spiritually. Confession of sins allows people to pray for each other, so that God may help them with their spiritual issue and sin. For example, if a brother/sister in Christ confessed to you that their heart is filled with hatred and unforgiveness, you’d pray for them. Not for their physical healing, but spiritually – since God needs to help them out spiritually.
Besides, even if it was supposedly God’s will for every Christian to be healed, that would mean:
- Every Christian would die a natural death
- The deaths and losses of family members/friends would be the Christian’s fault (since this implies that they “didn’t have enough faith”)
- Christians would not go through sickness or cancer or diseases
- There would be no Christians in hospitals or doctor’s offices
How John 3 (not to be confused with 3 John) Disproves Prosperity Interpretations
I love using verses from John 3 to disprove this stupid claim. Not to be confused with 3 John (third John) which is an epistle. I’m talking about chapter 3 of the Gospel of John. We can use verses from there quite easily and interestingly to disprove the health and wealth gospel:
- John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It DOES NOT SAY, “Whoever believes in him should not suffer but have wealth/healing”.
- John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned”, NOT “whoever believes in him will be rich/healed”.
- John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him“, NOT “Whoever believes in the Son has lots of money/healing, whoever does not obey the Son shall be poor/suffer“.
These people act as if those verses say that, but thankfully the correct verse proves their efforts wrong. I hope this helps.
- The prosperity gospel is a false gospel which should be condemned
- The Word of Faith movement is heretical, run far away from it
- God does not promise material riches or money, but spiritual prosperity
- God does not promise Christians physical/mental healing, but spiritual healing
- The only thing God has promised to heal us from is sin, aka spiritual healing
- Jesus’s work on the cross does not guarantee physical/mental healing, but is a perfect sacrifice and a debt paid for the believer’s sins.
- Beware of false teachers, next week’s post is about prosperity teachers to run from!