Note: This article covers the Prosperity and the Word-Faith Doctrines. Both teachings, subscribed to by millions of Christians all over the world, have exactly the same end goal, i.e. God wants believers to be prosperous, healthy and happy in this life. However, there are subtle differences in how they get there.
Chapter 1 - Introduction To The Prosperity and The Word-Faith Gospel
The Prosperity Doctrine is the belief subscribed to by millions of Christians that although Christians should keep one eye on Heaven, God doesn't want His people to wait until then to have the best of everything. God wants believers to be healthy, wealthy, and happy in this life. A shallow, self-serving and completely erroneous interpretation of certain passages have led to this conclusion.
However, the Word-Faith movement, has added a very dangerous dimension to this belief. Word of Faith teachers go the extra mile teaching that words themselves have 'creative power', thus what a person believes and says determines his future. It is deeply alarming that most Christians seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that this teaching being trumpeted from pulpits across the land, not only stems from the same occult sources as the spiritual movement known as New Thought, but uses exactly the same terminology and techniques. The only difference being that the Word-Faith movement has sprinkled in a few Christian terms to keep it believable. This is a not an honest doctrinal difference among orthodox believers, but a confrontation between the gospel preached by the Lord Jesus Christ and another gospel. HERE
Chapter 2 - Alleged Biblical Support For The Prosperity Doctrine
If you claim to be a Christian, the very least you have to do is try and show that what you are teaching is Biblically based. Prosperity teachers commonly make the claim that Jesus was a rich man therefore His followers are are entitled to the good things in life. Additionally, they use Biblical terminology that lulls believers into a false sense of security and appeal to a number of Biblical passages that convince many that their teachings come straight from the mouth of God Himself. But was Jesus a rich man, and do the Bible passages they quote prove that God wants us to be rich? HERE
Chapter 3 - The Never Mentioned Verses
Prosperity doctrine teachers only use those texts that they imagine will "prove" their position. They neglect to mention that the Bible clearly stipulates conditions that have to be met before prayers are answered. And, quite obviously, they never quote any of the Scriptural passages that clearly tell us that it is not necessarily God's will for us to prosper in this life, that the Bible repeatedly warns against focusing on the material things of this world and that it clearly warns church leaders against being lovers of money, or using godliness as a means to financial gain? HERE
Chapter 4 - If Positive Confession Is True There Were a Lot of Uninformed People in The Scriptures.
If God wants His followers to be rich and healthy, then it is fair to assume that the giants of the Old Testament and Christ's disciples must have had some idea as to how these blessings were to be obtained. So let's travel back in time and see if we can find some evidence of "Positive Confession" and whether negative statements really result in negative results? - a bedrock principle of the Word-Faith movement. HERE
Chapter 5 - The Word of Faith Doctrine and New Thought
The New Thought Movement is a spiritual movement which developed in the United States in the late 19th century. It consists of a loosely allied group of religious denominations, secular membership organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share certain metaphysical beliefs concerning one's life force, the law of attraction and the effects of positive thinking, creative visualization etc. In short, New Thought very simply believes that your thoughts play a crucial role in the kind of life you experience - the cornerstone for most modern formulas for happy and successful living. Sound familiar? It should! HEREi
Chapter 6 - Joel Osteen - The Blind Leading The Blind
We were given only one sure guide by which to judge whether the hands that beckon us are God-sent to save us, or are reaching out from the depths of hell to devour us. Yet we resolutely continue to ignore God's chosen guide book preferring instead to flock to one of the innumerable dog and pony shows like the ones Joel Osteen and numerous others put on. After reading so many of his statements that do not find their origin in Scripture, I used to wonder what Bible this man reads, or whether he even reads one. Over time, it has become patently clear that Osteen's inspiration comes not from the Bible, but from occultists Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale. Not only are their doctrines indistinguishable from each other but Osteen uses a particular phrase that was one of Napoleon Hill's hallmark expressions. In fact, Norman Vincent Peale also used exactly the same expression. HERE
Chapter 7 - How Words Precede Form
The problem is that Napoleon Hill's principles or "magic formula" actually seems to work. This was testified to by men such as United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Harding, Wilson, and Taft, plus some of the world's greatest scientists and founders of America's leading corporations. Ever since Hill first ut pen to paper, his principles and techniques are taught, in one form or the other, by every motivational speaker/ life coach on the planet... with often successful results. In fact, the non-believing world can, by learning and applying certain principles match or even exceed the gain that "Christian" ministers promise. This unsettling parallel should raise the suspicions of any discerning believer - There are only two choices. Either matter can be manipulated by the words a person speaks or an intelligent force hears these words then does what it takes to make them a reality. HERE
Chapter 8 - God and Money
The Bible never once condemns the wealthy just because they have money. In fact some of God's finest... Abraham, David and Job for example, were men of substance. However, the rich men in the Bible were nearly all in the Old Testament - the New Testament emphasized spiritual not material prosperity. And no, God's works doesn't take millions of dollars - He funds His own plans. Much to the contrary, the fund raising, begging, and numerous gimmicks to raise money is to fund projects (and their own extravagant lifestyle) that the Father did not commission. And remember that the Bible has already warned that you will become a means for their gain - And in their greed they will exploit you with false words... (2 Peter 2:3) HERE
Chapter 9 - The Crown Without The Cross
The Bible instructs us to pray for and trust God to provide all the essentials... food, drink and clothing. Jesus said "take up" your cross, which means it does not apply to simply accepting a bad situation, but is something we do voluntarily. His warning about counting the cost and denial of self in Matthew 10:34-39 is diametrically opposed to the Prosperity Doctrine's mantra of "Your best life now". In fact, I am not sure if self-denial has any part in the faith of all too many modern Christians, who want salvation with as little personal sacrifice as possible - Their very appealing religion is not 'Christianity', but a full blown descent into American 'Capitalism' HERE
Is Physical Healing Included In The Atonement?
Among those who believe that God can and does heal today, many Charismatics and Evangelicals believe that Christ's reconciling work guarantees believers physical healing, just as much as it guarantees them spiritual healing and eternal life. This is soundly disputed by more conservative Christians. While there is no question that there an unshakable connection between physical and spiritual healing (See 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24), there is a fundamental mistake being made by both sides.
In the final analysis, The Secret is nothing more than so-called Name It-Claim It, Positive-Confession, Prosperity Theology (minus God and the Bible), built on a foundation of New Age self-deification. In other words, the book is just a secular version of what some TV preachers have taught for decades: Namely, if you will sustain the right thoughts, words and feelings, you will receive whatever you want. But The Secret adds this important twist: ‘your thoughts can bring anything into your life because you are god’.
"Imaging" and "Visualization" are increasingly appearing as Christian meditation, "mind-stretchers," or a consciousness-awakening experience in Christian workshops, and you'd better believe that visualization as a cultivated exercise comes with all sorts of metaphysical and spiritual baggage in tow. Frankly, some of these bags desperately need to be opened up before being admitted into Christian territory.
The work of the Holy Spirit, or unbiblical and dangerous. Additionally, Agnes Sanford mother of the Inner Healing movement developed her ideas from some very strange sources
Lifestyles of the TeleEvangelists and Wealthy Celebrity Pastors
Capitalizing on Christianity has proved to be far more lucrative than starting a new religion.
Also See Tithing - God's Plan or Man’s Design?
Many believers have been taught that tithing is a command of God for Christians today. Were one to ask most teachers of tithing to cite a passage of Scripture supporting the practice, a few verses - I like to call them "the usual suspects" - can be rounded up. Frequently, only parts of Scripture passages are cited, and they are usually rendered out of context. Also Note that the Apostle Paul never once appealed to tithing even though he obviously often suffered financial difficulties. However, he wrote rather a lot about FREELY giving financial support where one is able. (In-depth Article)