Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The False Gospel of Prosperity Theology

Latest column from Albert Mohler, Jr.

"God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you." That was the message of Gloria Copeland as she was speaking at the Southwest Believers' Convention recently held in Fort Worth, Texas. The event drew the attention of The New York Times and reporter Laurie Goodstein contributed a compelling report about the meeting and its message.

The Southwest Believers' Convention drew a crowd of more than 9,000 to hear an "all-star lineup" of preachers deliver the message of the prosperity gospel. One by one, the preachers and the speakers enticed the gathered thousands by offering them the assurance that God wants them rich -- even fabulously rich.

As Goodstein reports, the preachers were not shy about drawing attention to the luxurious lives they lead. "Private airplanes and boats. A motorcycle sent by an anonymous supporter. Vacations in Hawaii and cruises in Alaska. Designer handbags. A ring of emeralds and diamonds." According to the preachers of the prosperity gospel, these are merely examples of the riches and rewards that come to those who have sufficient faith -- and invest sufficient funds in the ministries of the prosperity preachers.

The New York Times took note of the fact that the current recession and financial distress did not keep the crowd from attending the Southwest Believers' Convention. The event is part of the ministry of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, described by Laurie Goodstein as the "current patriarch and matriarch" of the prosperity gospel. The paper summarized their message as the promise that if an individual has sufficient faith in God and donates generously, God will reward that generosity by multiplying the offerings a hundredfold.

Those who might curtail their donations during the recession were warned of the spiritual consequences. "Fear will make you stingy," said Kenneth Copeland.

Goodstein's report included the story of Edwige Ndoudi, who attended the meeting with her husband and three children. Pointing to the prosperity experienced by the Copeland's, Ndoudi asserted: "If God did it for them, He will do it for us." Similarly, Stephen and Millie Biellier brought their family from Missouri with the confidence that 2009 could be their "overcoming year," even though they are $102,000 in debt. They credit the Copelands with rescuing them from a financial crisis two decades ago, and are now among the Copelands' "partners" in ministry. The Biellers spoke of their excitement as they participated in an effort to buy the Copeland ministry a Citation X airplane. They joined the "Elite CX Team" after Mrs. Biellier said she heard the Holy Spirit tell her, "You were born to support this man." The couple gave $2,000 toward the airplane and recently gave $1,800 toward the ministry's purchase of high-definition television equipment. She is proud that the Copelands fly on a private jet, explaining that "trashy people like Hugh Hefner" also have private airplanes.

Read rest of column here


I've always wondered why the prosperity gospel is not preached in places like Ethiopia, Malawi, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and dozens more of the poorest places on Earth.

Of all the people groups on Earth, shouldn't these folks be among the first Copeland and the like visit that God might reward their 'generosity by multiplying the offerings a hundredfold'?

Maybe the prosperity preachers have already discerned that the faith of the people in these countries might not be sufficient enough.


Steve Martin said...

Idolatry is the mark of man.

We are all gulity of it to some extent. But why people fall for that message coming out of a "pulpit" blows my mind (it shouldn't though).

We ought be as St. Paul, content in want, or in abundance.

I often wonder what these types of preachers would do with Luke 14:33?

Joe A. said...

"Ah, but there is still one thing you lack, Mrs. Copeland. Go, sell all of your possessions, give to the poor and follow me."

And Gloria walked away sad, for she had many possessions.

Chris Shanks said...

Here's the answer to Steve's question as to why people fall for that message.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, ESV)

More at

I couldn't resist the shameless plug. I sound like Todd at Wretched Radio. By the way Wayne are you going to Deeper?

Chris Shanks

Anonymous said...

I sent this link below to not only the Copelands, but also Olsteen, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn and others. Of the two who replied...they offered a prayer and an envolope to send them a seed faith gift back. I guess 1 John 3:17 is not in their Bible? "But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?"

Wayne Dawg said...

Now Joe.......

Wayne Dawg said...

Yes, Chris, both my son and myself will be there!

Very much looking forward to it -

Chris Geiser said...

The prosperity preachers preach "if you give you will get." But the gospel teaches "Give just to give with no strings attached" Blessings come from the giving not from the getting. Good post.

Blessings dear brother.

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on prosperity .It should be very much helpfull.

Karim - Creating Power