The Word of Faith, Health and Wealth and Prosperity Gospel

words | 2 Comment(s)

I believe Christians can learn much from the Word of Faith (a.k.a. Prosperity Gospel, Health and Wealth Gospel, etc.) movement. Of course, there is a lot to be avoided too. As I’ve learnt in my Christian life, movements are formed in reaction to something being neglected. Movements emphasize a particular belief or practice which had been neglected before. In their desire to recover the importance of a previously neglected belief or practice, they often go to the point of overreaction and overemphasize the previously neglected belief/practice. Because of their overreaction, excesses and abuses occur. People who observe such overreaction and excesses respond to the movement by themselves overreacting to it and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The result is not learning anything good from the movement and going back to the status quo of neglecting or underemphasizing the original doctrine or practice in question. This tendency of movements is true of Christian things as well as non-Christian things (e.g. modernism and postmodernism).

In the case of the Word of Faith (Health and Wealth, Prosperity Gospel) movement, certain Christians recovered the importance of faith in relation to prayer and also the fact that God desires to heal and prosper Christians. Before this movement came about, most Christians neglected the role of faith in prayer and hardly acted as though God desired to prosper and heal Christians. However, the movement was an overreaction and excesses and abuses resulted. The overreaction was in believing and acting as though every Christian could prosper and be healed in this life if they had faith.

As in most cases, I think the truth is somewhere in between. I don’t agree with the above movement nor their critics 100%. However, neither do I disagree with either side 100%. Therefore, I do think all of us Christians can learn much from the Word of Faith movement. If there were no truth whatsoever in the movement, the devil wouldn’t be bothered with it and there wouldn’t be so much controversy over it. But I think the devil’s plan is to make sure that there are abuses in the movement so that many Christians would thoroughly discredit it and therefore not care to learn anything from it. The devil delights in us throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Knowing the history of movements should alert us to the fact that there is always truth in all movements. The trick is to accept the good, and get rid of the bad – not throw everything out.

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  1. “The overreaction was in believing and acting as though every Christian could prosper and be healed in this life if they had faith.”

    This is not an overreaction; it is the Word of God. Jesus has already provided everything any Christian needs to be healed and prospered. So if someone doesn’t receive it for some reason, it isn’t God’s fault.

    Our covenant guarantees these blessings provided they are received by and through faith. But when people criticize those who teach about faith and believing God, they do a disservice because they are criticizing the very subject people need to know about receiving from God.

    And when these same crtics fail to receive, they employ the “no-fault theology” to explain away a benefit Jesus died to give us. And another doctrine is developed to “compensate” for their failure to receive.

    I don’t agree with everything that the Word/Faith group says but much of it is biblical. And it is not an “overreaction” to say that all may be healed and prospered because what Jesus did He did for all 2000 years ago.

    If there are any failings, it is on our part–not because God did not want us to get the benefit.

    People who think this way are looking for a way to make themselves look good instead of asking “Why didn’t I receive?” and finding out where they missed it.

  2. Thanks for your comment Gary. I agree with you regarding what you mentioned as the “no-fault theology” of many Christians. I also do agree that Jesus has provided everything because of His death on the cross. However, I’m still not sure if we can receive everything “in this life”. That’s all I’ll say for the moment :) Maybe others (be it those for or against WoF theology) are clearer about what the Bible says on these issues than me, then that’s good for them. But I am still quite unsatisfied with how both sides approach these things.

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