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Prosperity Gospel: A heresy of false promises

By Chris Rosebrough - Posted at The Lutheran Witness:

Published August 1, 2023

Whether you realize it or not, you have been exposed to the prosperity gospel. Its core doctrines saturate most, if not all, of the charismatic churches of our day. Its teachings are broadcast across the globe via television and the internet, and it is the central teaching of a significant number of today’s most well-known American preachers. The purveyors of the prosperity gospel are known for their positive messages, optimism and opulent living. But there is a dark and sinister side to the prosperity gospel. Its roots are based in the Mind Science cults, and it promotes a false gospel that makes promises for God that He has not made and therefore is not bound to honor. This heresy has ruined the lives and shipwrecked the faith of countless numbers of people who have bought into the deceptions of the prosperity gospel.

The prosperity gospel is another name for a teaching called The Word of Faith. The late Kenneth Hagin, a towering figure in post-World War II Pentecostalism, is believed by many charismatics to be the man who developed the doctrine of The Word of Faith. Recent scholarship has proven that Hagin plagiarized significant portions of the works of early 20th-century preacher E.W. Kenyon.1 Kenyon’s teachings were heavily influenced by New Thought, the Unity School of Christianity and the Mind Science cults, including Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science. Kenyon admitted that he had adapted the teachings of these cultic groups to help Christianity compete with them. As a result, Kenyon formulated his doctrine not by sound exegesis but by twisting Scriptures to adapt it to the teachings of these cultic groups.

The primary assumption of New Thought and the Mind Science cults, as well as Kenyon’s teachings, is that “true reality is spiritual, that the spiritual is the cause of all physical effects, and that the human mind through positive mental attitude and positive confession has the power to create its own reality: either health and wealth, or sickness and poverty.”2


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