Does God wish Christians to live life prosperously at all times?
In Part 1, we defined apostasy and debunked a few heresies. Now we’ll look into the Prosperity Gospel heresy.
To help us refute these heresies, we’ve invited one of Lamb & Lion Ministries’ friends, Dennis Pollock, to this week’s episode of Christ in Prophecy. Dennis served as Dr. David Reagan’s Assistant Evangelist for almost 12 years, from 1993 to 2005, at which time he formed his own ministry called Spirit of Grace.
Heresy #4: The Prosperity Gospel
Nathan Jones: Dennis, regarding the subject of rapidly growing apostasies in the Church today, one of the heresies I hear a lot especially from those who minister in South and Central America is the Health and Wealth Gospel. It’s also called Prosperity Theology. Do you believe that God has created Christians to all live life healthy, wealthy, and wise at all times? Are we meant to be living our best lives now?
Dennis Pollock: No, we are not. If I get sick, I’m going to pray and trust the Lord for healing. But, I’m not going to tell you there haven’t been seasons in my life where I haven’t felt good and have had to go to the doctor. Look at Job, for example. He went through a season where he was miserable in his health and in his finances. He lost almost everyone he loved, including his children.
We all go through seasons in life that are not fun. If you think that once you get saved you can just believe with all of your heart that you’ll never have a health issue again or you’ll never go through struggles financially, well then, you are living in a fantasy world. The response to those who hold to this heresy is for them to just live life for a while and they’ll surely find out how wrong they are. It amazes me how people can cling to that lie when their own life testifies against it. That we all struggle with different things is a fact of life.
That being said, I don’t believe God wants us to be dirt poor all of our lives and to struggle. King David said, “I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Ps. 37:25).
If I lose my job, I’m going to believe God will provide another job. But, that’s one of the keys — you work. You work so that you can make money and provide for yourself and your family. The Bible teaches the importance of being financially responsible and working hard. Anyone who does so will tend to prosper more than the lazy person who never works and never uses any financial wisdom.
The heresy that blends into the Prosperity Gospel ideology is the belief that if you are suffering, whether in health or financially, then you are being punished for some sin. But, the Lord Himself made it very clear when He answered why a particular young man had been born blind that it wasn’t his fault or his parents’ fault. He said basically, “No, no, it’s so the power and the glory of God could be manifested through Him.” Sometimes we are given opportunities to manifest the power and glory of God, even in our circumstances, which for a time seem down and out, but are we making ourselves available to be glorifying to God and bring Him honor.
Nathan Jones: Absolutely! Jesus lambasted the Prosperity Gospel with His teaching in Mark 10:21, “One thing you lack,” he told the rich man, “go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven, and come take up the cross and follow Me.” Taking up the cross means you’ll experience suffering in this life, but you’ll gain eternal rewards in Heaven.
And, isn’t it funny that a lot of these Health and Wealth Gospel guys end up getting sick and dying anyway, so where has their theology taken them?
In the fourth part of this discussion about major apostasies, we’ll next look into the heretical belief that God will never judge sin.