They are called “heretics” and “teachers of iniquity,” for they provide millions with the assurance of wealth and fortune on the basis of faith in Christ Jesus through what has been labeled the Prosperity Gospel and, because of such teachings, have become the subject of many discussions and warnings. Is it justified; that is to ask, should those brothers and sisters, united in Christ Jesus, judge this teaching harshly, with the highest levels of scrutiny? Paul would say so and wrote as such, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you’” (1 Co 5:12-13). Together with Paul, so too does John write that we are to test the spirits to ensure they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 Jn 4:1). So, then, the Christian must not be contented with existing as a passive onlooker, but an active judge of all teachers and teachings which are passed off as the truth contained within the Gospel.
This gospel of prosperity is largely a western teaching that has spread like wildfire throughout the world, but finds backing in the one whom the forefathers of Christian history considered the father of heresy: Simon Magus. With a vain and greedy heart, he sought to buy that which could not be purchased [the Holy Spirit] for the perceived gain it could provide to his already lofty reputation (Acts 8:9-24). Perhaps, though, it is only right to say that this is not simply the result of that late, Samarian magician, but the effects of the original condition of human pride and loftiness, which is solely concerned with individual gain. It should be no wonder then, considering man, that this is such an easy path to find and such a quickly accepted notion.
The danger beyond being led astray is being filled with an unfounded hope of temporal gain, when the church has never been assured of these things. The very God who is taught to be the provider of our very desires is the same one who brought His own chosen Apostles to bear the weight of poverty and mortal persecution. More so, the Creator of all of heaven and earth allowed such poverty and mortal persecution upon His church, from the earliest foundation to this very day, where countless men, women, and children are without, yet they are immensely blessed. Did not the Prophets of old even suffer death at the hands of those whom they witnessed to? Yes, certainly. What is the foundation to believe, then, that the modern-day brothers and sisters would or should be saved from these things? Instead, historically, one can see that the closer a man or woman is to conformity with the Son, the more they are burdened with persecution and, often, the poverty which follows. No, do not abide by that which deceives and misguides; do not sway to and fro with the winds of false teaching, but be diligent and studious, emulating the example set by the Bereans, who, wrote Luke, were of noble character, for they examined the Scripture daily to ensure the accuracy of Paul’s instruction (Acts 17:10-15). The Prosperity Gospel is more than iniquity and altogether different than heresy, it is a lie in the guise of the truth – a wolf in the guise of a sheep – a butcher disguised as a shepherd and, O, how many have turned away because of it! Trust alone in the saving grace, mercy, and sovereignty of the Almighty God and not on the deceitful promises of temporal wealth; instead, prepare yourselves to lose your lives for His name.
To the single Creator of existence, the sovereign Most High, who, through unfathomable grace and mercy, gave His only begotten Son to live the life we could not and act as the propitiation of our sins through the humiliating death on the cross. Praise to the Savior Lord of man at the right hand of the Father, to His glory. Amen.