Saturday, February 18, 2017

The pernicious evil of the prosperity gospel and the theology of the cross

Several years ago now I was travelling down a road in Nigeria on which, at almost every corner, there stood a church with a name that promised their members, and all who would join them, success, victory, wealth and happiness. One that has stuck in my mind was 'The Winners' Church'. It seemed as if I was in the very home of the prosperity gospel! Yet so many in the surrounding streets, and those going in and coming out from these churches, seemed anything but prosperous, successful or even happy. I asked my guide, 'What do they do when reality hits and they are not healed, or do not become wealthy, or are struck by tragedy or the ordinary disappointments of life? How do they cope with suffering and even persecution?' 'They go to the next church', she said. 'The Spirit may be at work in the next one.'

Of course the prosperity gospel is not just a feature of aspirational Christianity in the majority world. It is alive and well and destroying lives in Western countries too. In fact there are very large churches which, in one way or another, are making similar promises right here in Australia. They attract the crowds and even Christians from other backgrounds want to be associated with them, or so it seems. It may well be they welcome such association because they desperately want to present themselves as mainstream and respectable. 'We are evangelical, just like you.' Read More

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