Skip to main content

Unmasking the Prosperity Gospel

A lot of people have written a lot of stuff about the Prosperity Gospel, both pro and con. In fact, I just did a piece over at Acton.org on the heresy of the Prosperity Gospel. Frankly, I may make it my personal mission to unmask this heresy.

Read this from Chuck Queen at Ethics Daily, focusing on one of the big names in this arena, Joel Osteen:

...his [Olsteen's] emphasis on personal success seems to fly in the face of the gospel of Jesus in the Gospels.He writes: "If you will keep the right attitude, God will take all your disappointments, broken dreams, the hurts and pains, and He'll add up all the trouble and sorrow that's been inflicted upon you, and He will pay you back with twice as much peace, joy, happiness and success ... If you just believe, if you'll put your trust and confidence in God, He will give you double for your trouble."

Really, Brother Joel, double for my trouble? Is that what Jesus says?
This type of theological thinking isn't just bad, it's heretical, and therefore dangerous.

You see, there are a lot of people out there like my sister. On Sunday, she sat down with me, my brother and my mom and unloaded. She's been carrying a heavy burden, and it's getting heavier daily. She's had on-going chronic pain issues that have not gotten better over the past year, she's got an aging mother-in-law with dementia that she's been caring for, two daughters with their own health issues, and a granddaughter with severe learning disabilities. Add on top of that the huge financial concerns she has and well....she's had it.

And what does Olsteen offer:  "You, my dear, just don't have the right attitude. You're not believing enough (or in the right way). You're not confident enough in God. This is really all on you."

Huh.

Here I was thinking that Jesus told us to pick up our CROSS and follow Him. That we could expect to be PERSECUTED for following Him. And that the way to Heaven was a mighty narrow one. I don't remember Him ever telling us that he'd double our money if we bet on Him.

There is an entire group of people that really would have a hard time with Mr. Olsteen's rendition of Christianity. They are called martyrs. Everyone from John the Baptist to Agatha to Miguel Pro to Maximilian Kolbe to Jean Donovan know something Mr. Olsteen doesn't: that we are not called to a life free of troubles, but we are called to a life of faith - DESPITE the troubles. Jesus isn't some Magic Doctor in the Sky, there to remove all pain via Christianized Codeine. If that were the case, why the heck did Jesus suffer and die on the Cross? He did it to remove the sting of death and the eternal damnation sin would bring upon us, but also to model how WE are to handle suffering: with faith.

Please Mr. Olsteen, stop this nonsense. It's untrue and it hurts. It hurts people like my sister, who are trying to remain faithful to God in times of doubt, stress and pain. Just stop.


 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …