If you take a look online you will see many websites with articles written against the word of faith movement, some I would agree with and others maybe not. Words like heretic and false teacher are thrown around, names of teachers who according to the author are false teachers are named. Some question if this is right, some say instead of naming we should just preach against the message. Personally I think the naming of a preacher (who preachers wrong theology) is like the naming of a Prime Minister (who does not keep the promises he made during an election). It would be wrong and unfair to falsely accuse a politician of not keeping his promises, and same could be said about someone who falsely accuses a preacher of preaching bad theology. If a political leader has not kept his promises the media is within their rights to point it out to their audience. I believe the same could be said about bloggers and journalists who point out preachers who preach bad theology. As a Prime Minister you have a big responsibility and you should be held to account. I think the same should be said for Pastors and Teachers. A Preacher can not just say whatever they feel like in the pulpit, they have a responsibility to their audience to teach the Bible correctly – for what people believe about God will affect their lives.
Now I except some theological areas are debatable like predestination and eschatology. Personally I think all sides on all arguments have a point to consider. But saying God desires us be wealthy and healthy and those who do not acquire such things do not have enough faith is wrong. The faith chapter in Hebrews 11 shows how wrong such a belief is: “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheeps and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:37-40). Sure some in the beginning of Hebrews 11 prosper but the chapter acknowledges that not everyone gets rewarded for their faith.
So what am I going to do? Name names? Yes, well actually I am going to name one name. But before I do that let me just say I am not going to look at the likes of Mike Murdock, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, Charles Capps, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland or Kenneth Hagin. There are plenty of documentaries, TV specials, books and lectures on them, so I do not think it is necessary to critique them. Plus I also consider them to be rather irrelevant since none of their books sell well nowadays.
But I will point out one bestselling author. I have been reading articles by popular teachers who are considered by some to be prosperity preachers. But to be honest I could not find enough to convince me some actually teacher the health and wealth gospel. Their style may annoy me, they might be wealthy but I could not see enough convincing evidence to mention them in this blog posting. But that being said Joseph Prince is someone who does teach such things. Someone who has influenced Prince greatly is the grandfathers of the name-it-claim-it movement, Kenneth Hagin . To quote Pastor Prince in an article I recently read ” we must know that it is not about suffering sicknesses or lack… Believe and declare that you are healed, not sick; abundantly supplied, not in lack”. As I read those words I could not describe what he was saying anything other than the prosperity theology. I am not saying everything that he teaches is bad, while researching for this piece of writing I watch most of this video of Joseph Prince at the 2015 Hillsong Conference and I cannot fault it. That particular message was liberating and merciful. I think it is great that Pastor Prince teaches on radical grace for grace is the heartbeat of Christianity. However I find that radical grace and the message of the prosperity theology contradict each other. I will like to point out Prince is not as harsh or cruel as Murdock or Copeland but there are still elements of the prosperity theology in his preaching and writing. I just hope Joseph Price will eventually go in the same direction as Brian Zahnd.
Next week I will honestly write about my doubts in doubting this belief.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org