The Prosperity Gospel/The Word Faith Movement


#1

Also Known as “The Prosperity Gospel”, “Prosperity Theology”, “The Faith Movement”, and “Faith Preaching.”

I believe some people close to me may be getting involved in this stuff. I know a little about these movements but not a whole lot. I know it involves not speaking any negative statements such as “I am ill” or “I feel bad” because you create sickness and misery in your life by speaking these things.

It also involves the belief that God is bound by spiritual regulations which it is up to us to understand and exploit. In other words we can control God by “speaking” things (money, material goods) into existence and God must adhere to us.

I think people like Joyce Meyers and Benny Hinn are really into this and making millions. I guess I just want to know if anyone out there has had to deal with this in their lives. Also, If anyone could give suggestions on how I can defend myself and challenge them if I am approached with it.

Thanks!


#2

Yes, WOF has made a sweep through my area. It’s a shame, because on the surface it seems so innocent. Self-help and what not, but underneath it is a dark force.
The bible no where says that we will be prosperous if we are christian. I’m sure the first century chrisians and apostles would have loved to know about this. "Hey, you don’t have do die for Christ! Proclaim it as done and God has to let you live!"
Bull… There are so many examples of the exact opposite in the bible. People turning their lives over to God and living poor/sick/dying for their faith. Look at Job, look at Elijah, look at all the apostles. None of these guys were wealthy and living high off God’s prosperity, but these were the guys who wer closest to God’s own heart and will… God blesses us, no doubt. But his blessings aren’t always monetary.


#3

I posted this under “Non-Catholic Religions”, but thought I would try it here too.

Also Known as “Prosperity Theology”, “The Faith Movement”, “The Word Faith Movement”, and “Faith Preaching.”

I believe some people close to me may be getting involved in this stuff. I know a little about these movements but not a whole lot. I know it involves not speaking any negative statements such as “I am ill” or “I feel bad” because you create sickness and misery in your life by speaking these things.

It also involves the belief that God is bound by spiritual regulations which it is up to us to understand and exploit. In other words we can control God by “speaking” things (money, material goods) into existence and God must adhere to us.

I think people like Joyce Meyers and Benny Hinn are really into this and making millions.

I guess I just want to know if anyone out there has had to deal with this in their lives. Also, If anyone could give suggestions on how I can defend myself and challenge them if I am approached with it.

Thanks!


#4

Years ago, in the late '70s and early '80s, I was myself involved in the so-called Faith Movement (sometimes referred to as the Word of Faith movement), and believed some of the things you mention. (How I ended up a Catholic twenty years later is another, long story!) I can tell you, based upon my study of these matters, that the movement’s theology is seriously flawed, even heretical in places. Even most Protestant Evangelicals and some Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians recognize the drastic departure from orthodox Christian belief represented by the Faith Movement. But, you may want to study the issue for yourself.

There is an excellent book that might help you, as it did me:

Dan McConnell (sp?), A Different Gospel.

While the author is not Catholic, his critique of the Faith Movement and its theology is well-organized and informative.

God bless,
Don


#5

The simple question, “And what will you do when God doesn’t give you what you want?” Might be useful. And if they say that can’t happen, then challenge them to go into your local hospital and start commanding the sick to be well and rise and walk out. If they demure, ask them why they don’t want to do it if God is bound to do what we command him to do?

This whole movement is a panacea for all ills and does a great deal of spiritual and emotional damage. One of our priests was called to the bedside of a dying man, some of whose relations believed in this nonsense. They were praying over him, commanding that he be healed and the whole routine. Father merely heard his confession, blessed him, and gave him the rite of the healing of the sick. Afterwards one of the “name it and claim” relations, a woman, came up to Father and told him that her loved one hadn’t needed all his mumbo-jumbo because she had claimed his healing so it was certain. Father asked her, “And what if he isn’t healed but dies?” Her answer, “Oh, but that can’t happen! I’ve prayed for him!” But, the man did die and that woman lost her faith in Christ. I think this is one of the subtlest and cruelest lies that Satan has ever come up with because it destroys people’s faith and makes God look like a welsher on his promises all in one blow.


#6

We were in an AOG group years ago, and while the pastor himself was against the prosperity gospel, many of the congregation were deeply into it. This is largely due to the fact that most, if not all, of the high profile prosperity preachers are AOG. It must have been a frustration to the pastor to be always trying to stamp out this stuff in his church. He did not seem to have much success. I guess when you invent a religion, you open up all sorts of issues like this!
Anyway, my wife and I were quite naive and green when we came to this religious group, and it took years to be able to sort out what was true and what was not. (That happened when we reverted to Catholicism :smiley: ). We had peol=ple “prophesy” over us that we would be wealthy many times, so we ventured out into a business that failed. Later, when my wife was pregnant with our first child, we were “prophesied” over again, to tell us that this child would be healthy. When he was born with hydrocephalus - water on the brain - we realised that we had been duped again by this religion. That very day we left the AOG. It was poignant that the 2 very things on the name it and claim it agenda were health and wealth, and in these two areas we had scored an “F minus”. By the grace of God, we did not give up on religion altogether, but went to the Baptists for a few years, and then finally found our way home to the true Church.
The dangerous thing with this prosperity nonsense is that when people do not get what they are promised, they could give up on God altogether and go back to their life without Him. Further, the Bible does not teach this gospel at all. The proof texting is unconvincing at best.
The only ones who get rich from it are the proponents, so whenever they talk about it, of course they can look straight into the camera and testify that it works!
People should run a mile from this stuff. The preachers are disgracefully exploiting the scriptures for their own benefit. I believe the Bible talks about a blacker fate awaiting anyone who does any other sin than this. This is the lowest one can go in interpreting and preaching.
Even though he is a Protestant, Hank Hannegraff has a 2 tape set exposing the errors (at least from his perspective) of this extremely dangerous mind cult called the Prosperity Gospel. I just cant remember the name of it. I also remember seeing something on the Catholic Answers site on this stuff. That would be the better place to start.


#7

I would try to point out to them that Our Lord chose to be poor, being born in a stable. And He emptied Himself. And He told the rich man to sell all he had and follow Him.

Philippians 2:7 But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.

Luke 18:22 Which when Jesus had heard, he said to him: Yet one thing is wanting to thee: sell all whatever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

The stronger faith accepts poverty in this life as the real treasure.

hurst


#8

[quote=IanS]Also Known as “The Prosperity Gospel”, “Prosperity Theology”, “The Faith Movement”, and “Faith Preaching.”

I believe some people close to me may be getting involved in this stuff. I know a little about these movements but not a whole lot. I know it involves not speaking any negative statements such as “I am ill” or “I feel bad” because you create sickness and misery in your life by speaking these things.

It also involves the belief that God is bound by spiritual regulations which it is up to us to understand and exploit. In other words we can control God by “speaking” things (money, material goods) into existence and God must adhere to us.

I think people like Joyce Meyers and Benny Hinn are really into this and making millions. I guess I just want to know if anyone out there has had to deal with this in their lives. Also, If anyone could give suggestions on how I can defend myself and challenge them if I am approached with it.

Thanks!
[/quote]

Hello Ian, My wife and I were deeply involved in this movement from about 1991 until 1998. When I was a young ambitious businessman I attended a “Business Networking Meeting” to meet with like minded people. About my second meeting I really hit it off with another man just a few years older than me. He was the person who introduced me to people like Jerry Savelle, John Avanzini, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Charles Capps (I could go on). You are correct it is a prosperity message and it also borderlines on the new age movement. At first I did not have a problem with the message as it had to do with increasing your self esteem because you are an individual creation ffrom God and God does not make junk. We went on to learn that God does not make poor and sick people, in fact God wants us “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise”. This was all good at first because as a young enterpreneaur sales persone, I soaked it all up. I was going to be rich by 35, drive a BMW 7 series and vacation on the French Riviera. I would be able to send my children to the top schools in the world and even have a 10,000 sq.ft. home with a pool, a butler and a maid.

Now here is where the heresy comes in. I was going to achieve all this because I was speaking it into reality. Just like God was able to speak the world into existence in just six days, and I am a child of God, if I just spoke like He did I can achieve what I want too. The rationale was that we are “Christians” which means little “Christs”. Jesus was not only the son of God, he was GOD. So if we are little Christs then we would be able to speak the way God did.

I just recently moved so many of my resources are still in boxes but the moment I get them I will post the best ways to defend yourself because you are dealing with a “Christian Cult”. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but in reality thats what it is. However in the meantime, the best resource is Hank Hennegraff and the Christian Research Institute. I know, I know but he actually wrote a book on the whole topic called “Christianity in Crisis” . I have not seen many Catholic Resources as far as I know. But…be careful of Hank as he is pretty anti-catholic.


#9

[quote=mastda] However in the meantime, the best resource is Hank Hennegraff and the Christian Research Institute. I know, I know but he actually wrote a book on the whole topic called “Christianity in Crisis” . I have not seen many Catholic Resources as far as I know. But…be careful of Hank as he is pretty anti-catholic.
[/quote]

That’s the name of it!! “Christianity in Crisis”. I knew someone here would know!

Seconding the advice to show caution with Hank’s stuff, although this two tape set (or book if you prefer) does not touch upon anything anti-Catholic, from memory, so I think it would be a good tool to use. On the tape he uses actual sound-bite quotes from the perpetrators of this junk to show the listener what they say when they get reved up in their ranting. Disturbing, disgraceful stuff really. :mad:

Thank our Lord for the brilliant white light of Truth preserved by His beloved Church!


#10

Forgive me for being blessed enough to not have had to deal with the issue, but is this the same “stuff” offered in The Prayer of Jabez?


#11

[quote=Brian_C]Forgive me for being blessed enough to not have had to deal with the issue, but is this the same “stuff” offered in The Prayer of Jabez?
[/quote]

I almost forgot about that one. Yes it is.


#12

Thanks to everyone for the great information and witnesses. I don’t know how far these people I know are getting into it, but I think I should try and wise-up on it a little and keep my eyes open. I pray they will realize what a horrible sham all this is and turn away quickly before it destroys their faith and maybe more.


#13

Well, it’s weird. I remember when prayer of Jabez came out, but never remember a big fuss. Now, the “prayer” comes on during commercial breaks on my XM radio while on the Fox News Channel.


#14

[quote=Brian_C]Forgive me for being blessed enough to not have had to deal with the issue, but is this the same “stuff” offered in The Prayer of Jabez?
[/quote]

Prayer of Jabez (as I remember it)
Oh Lord may you bless me indeed, enlarge my territory [ministry area], may your hand be upon me, and keep me from harm, that I may cause no pain (this last phrase is often omitted).

The problems comes if we start seeing blessings and enlarged territory in worldly terms - more wealth, power, real estate etc. Then we are twisting it.
But -
God does want to bless us
We do want God’s hand upon us (if we mean the Holy Spirit)
We do (or should) want to do more for God.
We do want God’s protection from harm (spiritual and physical)
And we should want not to cause pain to others.

It seems to me that the “prosperity gospel” twist things.
Jesus did say “ask and you shall receive”, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it for you” and “I came that you should have life, and have it in abundance”. But I don’t think Jesus was talking about pots of money, big cars and a flashy lifestyle


#15

Actually this prayer is recorded in the Bible in 1st Chronicles 4:9-10. " And Jabes was more honourable than any of his brethren, and his mother called his name Jabes, saying: Because I bore him with sorrow. 10 And Jabes called upon the God of Israel, saying: If blessing thou wilt bless me, and wilt enlarge my borders, and thy hand be with me, and thou save me from being oppressed by evil. And God granted him the things he prayed for."

This simple prayer, taken totally out of its context, is the root of all this errant doctrine, that we can speak “a word of faith” and God just has to cover it for us. These folks seem to have completely dropped passages like Romans 8:31-39 and Hebrews 11:25-40 as well as Matthew 5:2-13, which reads as follows:
2 And opening his mouth, he taught them, saying: 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. 5 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: 12 Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. 13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.

There are a lot of passages that show plainly that those of great faith do suffer difficulties. Nowhere does the Word of God show that those difficulties are a sign of disfavor from God. (Can you just hear the apostles and all the martyrs crying out from their graves at this heresy!) Both books of Maccabees & in fact a great deal of the Bible plainly shows this to be heresy.

I personally have seen many people’s faith terribly shaken by having bought into this deception and then when difficultes come their way freaking out because they don’t get what they have spoken. I really think that this teaching is from the devil, and I doubt that people who don’t live in affluent countries would be able to buy into it for even a moment, but would see it as the bunk that it really is. (Try preaching this to the people in Chimbote, Peru if you dare).

I suggest that you copy this Prayer of Jabez article and pass it on to those you are concerned about, or perhaps this post of mine which shows the glaring scriptural inconsistencies of this deceptive heresy.
Pax vobsicum,


#16

I remember hearing an interview with Bruce Wilkinson, the author of the “Prayer of Jabez” book, on James Dobson’s radio show some years back. Dobson treated him most kindly, as I recall. One item that stuck with me: Wilkinson, in what I see as a pathetic attempt to deflect criticism that people buy his book just because they’re interested in becoming wealthy, related that at one of his conferences (maybe at all? can’t remember…) he asked, “Are you here primarily because you want to make more money?” And—wonder of wonders—no one put their hand up. This was offered as “proof” of the sincere and purely spiritual motives of the conference attendees. Good grief—as if anyone WOULD put their hand up to say, “Oh, I’m only here for the money”! It bothered me that Dobson merely responded with positive noises: “Oh my” and “isn’t that wonderful”, that sort of thing.


#17

[quote=Church Militant]Actually this prayer is recorded in the Bible in 1st Chronicles 4:9-10. " And Jabes was more honourable than any of his brethren, and his mother called his name Jabes, saying: Because I bore him with sorrow. 10 And Jabes called upon the God of Israel, saying: If blessing thou wilt bless me, and wilt enlarge my borders, and thy hand be with me, and thou save me from being oppressed by evil. And God granted him the things he prayed for."

This simple prayer, taken totally out of its context, is the root of all this errant doctrine, that we can speak “a word of faith” and God just has to cover it for us. These folks seem to have completely dropped passages like Romans 8:31-39 and Hebrews 11:25-40 as well as Matthew 5:2-13, which reads as follows:
2 And opening his mouth, he taught them, saying: 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. 5 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: 12 Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you. 13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.

There are a lot of passages that show plainly that those of great faith do suffer difficulties. Nowhere does the Word of God show that those difficulties are a sign of disfavor from God. (Can you just hear the apostles and all the martyrs crying out from their graves at this heresy!) Both books of Maccabees & in fact a great deal of the Bible plainly shows this to be heresy.

I personally have seen many people’s faith terribly shaken by having bought into this deception and then when difficultes come their way freaking out because they don’t get what they have spoken. I really think that this teaching is from the devil, and I doubt that people who don’t live in affluent countries would be able to buy into it for even a moment, but would see it as the bunk that it really is. (Try preaching this to the people in Chimbote, Peru if you dare).

I suggest that you copy this Prayer of Jabez article and pass it on to those you are concerned about, or perhaps this post of mine which shows the glaring scriptural inconsistencies of this deceptive heresy.
Pax vobsicum,
[/quote]

I would agree with this. However I think the Prayer of Jabez is a good prayer if taken in the right way. As your link to Catholic Answers says:
*“Can Catholics pray the Jabez prayer? Well, sure. There isn’t anything wrong with the prayer itself. The problem is Wilkinson telling people they should say it daily, expecting God to uniquely reward this prayer.”
*
I used to say this prayer, but I haven’t for some time now - just forgot about it. But I used to pray it focussing on spiritual things not earthly things

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”* (Eph1:3)
*God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing - we just have to receive it. And prayers such as the Jabez prayer are a way asking for that blessing and being open to receive them.


#18

[quote=steve99]I would agree with this. However I think the Prayer of Jabez is a good prayer if taken in the right way. As your link to Catholic Answers says:
*“Can Catholics pray the Jabez prayer? Well, sure. There isn’t anything wrong with the prayer itself. The problem is Wilkinson telling people they should say it daily, expecting God to uniquely reward this prayer.”
*
[/quote]

I used to say this prayer, but I haven’t for some time now - just forgot about it. But I used to pray it focussing on spiritual things not earthly things

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”* (Eph1:3)
*God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing - we just have to receive it. And prayers such as the Jabez prayer are a way asking for that blessing and being open to receive them.Hi Steve!
And I would agree with you and Jimmy Akins with the exception that the point of this whole discussion is that this passage is taken out of context and then used to create a panacea doctrine that is inconsistent with the rest of the Word of God to the detriment of the Body of Christ. Health, wealth, and prosperity are nowhere listed among the things that God has promised us in this life as we follow Him. In fact, Jesus is pretty frank about it. (John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.)

Certainly there is nothing wrong with our praying for God’s blessing even as we do at the end of every Mass, but the remotest idea that God is somehow bound to bless and prosper us and shield us from all distress because we are believers and have prayed some prayer (regardless of it being Biblical) is heresy.

Even the author of Ecclesiastes 3 points this out when he writes 1 All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. 6 A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. 8 A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.

My point is not that the prayer is “bad”, but that the doctrine and mindset that has grown up around it is a spiritually dangerous heresy to be avoided.

In my mind Catholicism offers the only realistic and viable way to deal with suffering.
Pax tecum,


#19

Hi IanS, do a google search for ex-pentecostal boards, and simply look in them to see the problems that WFM has created.

In II Cor 12, paul was not healed, but was given grace to live with his thorn in the flesh.

John 9, a man was born blind, not because of any sin of his parents.

Eze 18, refutes many WFM teachings like generational curses.

Matthew 7:22-24 drives them nuts, because some who do miracles are not going to heaven.

God allowed Job to be tested.

Concentrate on scriptures about taking up your cross and on the soverginity of God.


#20

[quote=Brian_C]Forgive me for being blessed enough to not have had to deal with the issue, but is this the same “stuff” offered in The Prayer of Jabez?
[/quote]

This quote makes me wonder if I used the word “stuff” too much?! :confused: Re-reading my posts, I think so. I’ll take it as a subtle tip even if it was not intended… :slight_smile:


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