A Softer Prosperity Gospel: More Common Than You Think

By David Schrock - Posted at 9Marks:

While evangelicals have traditionally decried the prosperity gospel in its “hard” form, there is a softer form of this teaching that is all too common among us.[1] Often undetected by Bible-believing Christians, it assumes the gospel and leads its adherents to focus on things like financial planning, diet and exercise, and strategies for self-improvement. In contrast to the hard prosperity gospel, which offers miraculous and immediate health and wealth, this softer, subtler variety challenges believers to break through to the blessed life by means of the latest pastor-prescribed technique.

Of course, matters of personal stewardship such as money, health, and leadership skills should be woven into a whole-Bible theology of Christian discipleship. The trouble comes when Christians, and especially pastors, place greater emphasis on these secondary matters. What we choose to preach or listen to says much about what we value. And what I see among some evangelicals is a willingness to prioritize the lesser matters of the law over the weightier mercies of the gospel.

This is not a new concern. Others have described facets of this prosperity gospel under names like moralistic, therapeutic deism, Christless Christianity, and the commodification of Christianity.[2] In truth, all three descriptors overlap to describe a prosperity gospel that is easily missed, because it is seems reasonable to Christians who love God and the American Dream.

Read more here.

HT: Reformed on the Web's Blog