Home Christian News Secular Writer Highlights the Error of the Prosperity Gospel

Secular Writer Highlights the Error of the Prosperity Gospel

Perhaps one of the most powerful reasons why the prosperity gospel appeals to people is that elements of it are true. Jesus does offer us a new identity that is defined neither by our pasts or our brokenness, nor our shame. God loves us more than we could ever comprehend. He is good and wants good for us (even though He doesn’t promise that life will be easy). He offers us mercy instead of condemnation. But that is only part of the story.

Serious Problems

One of the problems with prosperity gospel teaching is that grace and mercy don’t mean anything if we haven’t done anything wrong. It is one thing to say our guilt and shame no longer define us. It’s another to ignore the fact that God is holy and we are legitimately guilty before Him apart from Jesus’ sacrifice. As Dr. Mohler observes, “Osteen has reversed the entire theological order of biblical Christianity—an order that begins with the supreme priority, glory and holiness of God.”

Says Dr. Mohler, “Perhaps the most horrifying statement in the Financial Times article pertains to Osteen’s exegesis of Jesus’ last words on the cross.” According to Osteen, when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He wasn’t referring to the fact that His death was an atoning sacrifice, paying the penalty for our sins. Rather, Jesus was saying that He was putting an end to our guilt, low self-esteem, mediocrity and depression.

But what Jesus has done is far greater: “Christ declared that salvation had been secured; that death and the devil were defeated. The temple veil was torn in two, declaring the end of the sacrificial system because the perfect sacrifice had been made. Through Jesus Christ, we now have direct access to the Father.”

The cross points to another significant error of prosperity teaching: the idea that a faithful Christian life will not entail suffering. Jesus, Dr. Mohler points out, told his followers to take up their own crosses (an instrument of torture) and follow Him. He told us we would have to lose our lives to find them. He never promised that our lives will be comfortable.

Dr. Mohler concludes that Joel Osteen is offering a “wishy-washy, self-centered, self-exalting message of psychotherapy.” His message stands in stark contrast to that of Jesus, who “brings salvation, the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting.”