Sunday, 23 February 2014

The moral mess of the prosperity gospel

When I visit my parents I sometimes look through their television channels.  They have some that we don't get, including a load of 'Christian' channels.  I usually end up frustrated at the crass materialism of 'health and wealth' preachers.  Such theology surely flies in the face of the apostle Paul's warning about the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10).

In 'A Short History of Christianity' Stephen Tomkins reminds his readers of how Jimmy Swaggart uncovered Jim Bakker's liaison with a prostitute only to be later caught himself with a couple of prostitutes.  He also mentions the madness of Oral Roberts climbing up his glass spire and announcing that God would kill him if his flock did not give four and a half million dollars.  They gave.

The damage caused by prosperity teaching is not confined to those preachers who morally fail or embarrass themselves.  How many people have lost money giving to line the pockets of rich ministries?  How many have lost their faith because God failed to deliver on promises that he actually never made?

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