The new issue of TIME hitting newsstands this week has an article entitled, Does God Want You to be Rich?” While many of the leading mega church pastors agree with the philosophy, Pastor Rick shows up with a quote debunking the position. Here’s a clip:
“Prosperity” first blazed to public attention as the driveshaft in the moneymaking machine that was 1980s televangelism and faded from mainstream view with the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals.
But now, after some key modifications (which have inspired some to redub it Prosperity Lite), it has not only recovered but is booming.
Of the four biggest megachurches in the country, three — Joel Osteen’s Lakewood in Houston; T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House in south Dallas; and Creflo Dollar’s World Changers in Atlanta — are Prosperity or Prosperity Lite pulpits (although Jakes’ ministry has many more facets).
While they don’t exclusively teach that God’s riches want to be in believers’ wallets, it is a key part of their doctrine.
And propelled by Osteen’s 4 million-selling book, Your Best Life Now, the belief has swept beyond its Pentecostal base into more buttoned-down evangelical churches, and even into congregations in the more liberal Mainline. It is taught in hundreds of non-Pentecostal Bible studies. One Pennsylvania Lutheran pastor even made it the basis for a sermon series for Lent, when Christians usually meditate on why Jesus was having His Worst Life Then.
The movement’s renaissance has infuriated a number of prominent pastors, theologians and commentators. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen’s by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. “This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?” he snorts. “There is a word for that: baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?”