4 Reasons why the Prosperity Gospel is a False Gospel

The false doctrine popularly known as “the prosperity gospel” or the “health and wealth gospel” has become one of the most dominant false teachings in the world.
This false teaching has been popularized by prosperity preachers such as Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Steven Furtick, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, TD Jakes, and many more preachers who have exported this false doctrine to Africa and many other countries.

The prosperity gospel is so popular, its unfortunately become the default “gospel” in many churches where money and materialism almost always becomes the focal point of every Sunday message in many churches.

However, even though this doctrine is popular, the Bible reveals that prosperity gospel teachings are dangerous and should be avoided.

Galatians 1:6-9 says: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.


Below are 4 reasons why the prosperity gospel is a false gospel

1. The prosperity gospel attacks the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross
The prosperity gospel cannot save. Instead it attacks the true gospel and devalues the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. This false teaching does so by glorifying money above Christ and above the blood which He shed on the cross.

This false teaching subtly and craftily exchanges the blood of Jesus with mammon. It replaces the value of the Cross with the value of money. It substitutes the work of Christ with the work of money.
For example, many prosperity preachers coerce their followers into “sowing a seed” or giving money if they want to be healed. These false teachers also manipulate their congregations into donating money in order to be delivered from their problems. Other prosperity preachers deceive their followers by claiming they will be cursed and condemned if they do not give; others threaten that the salvation of their congregants is at stake if they don’t tithe or donate money.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Philippians 3:18-19 NLT says: For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.

In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

In the Bible Jesus never sold any miracles. He did not ask for money in order to heal anyone. Christ did not teach His disciples to demand money in order to spiritually help or save anyone.
In Matthew 10:8-9 Jesus said to His disciples “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts,”

Acts 3:6-7 reads: But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong”.

Christ’s life, death and resurrection ensures that we are freely blessed without the need to pay money for our salvation, deliverance and blessing. We do not have to pay money or sow a seed to earn the love and favor of God.
However false teachers unfortunately preach this dangerous doctrine called the “prosperity gospel” in order to cheat those who are Biblically illiterate of their money.


2. You cannot preach the prosperity gospel to unsaved wealthy people
The prosperity doctrine is built on the foundation and false promise that anyone who becomes a Christian will amass money, wealth, excellent health and any material possession they desire. To amass such riches, prosperity preachers will coerce their followers to “sow” or give money into their ministries and then God will supposedly give them a multiplied wealth in return.

However, you cannot preach a prosperity “gospel” to people who already have wealth but are not saved. For example, you cannot preach the prosperity “gospel’ to Bill Gates or Elon Musk or a famous celebrity, because they already gained their wealth without becoming Christians.
In fact, there are many people in the world who are not Christians and yet they have amassed many material possessions and wealth.

Therefore even the atheist, the Buddhist or anyone from any religion cannot be saved by accepting the “prosperity gospel” if they possess the same material possessions that are coveted by many in the prosperity gospel movement.

Furthermore, you do not need the “prosperity gospel” to know that you must work, earn income, buy a vehicle because even unbelievers or non-Christians know that they must do the same.
So whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian, we all have the basic need and desire to earn money and have a better life. You do not need to be a Christian to have these basic desires.

However, the true gospel is the gospel that saves people from the fires of hell and into eternal life with God. It is the gospel that points to Jesus Christ and not money. It is the gospel that leads to genuine repentance, salvation and the forgiveness of sins.

In Romans 1:16 Paul defines the true gospel by saying that he is “not shamed of the gospel” for the gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”

Therefore the preaching of the true gospel leads to the genuine salvation of the unsaved.
However, the “prosperity gospel” is a false gospel because it has no power to save.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 warns us about false teachers who will think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
This means we must beware of false teachers who will attempt to use Christianity as a method to make money and enrich themselves, because the true gospel is not about money or materialism.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 says: People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 reveals that the love of money leads people astray from the faith and the desire to be rich can lead many people into ruin and destruction.
Therefore the prosperity gospel encourages the love and pursuit of riches which has the temptation of leading people away from true Christianity.


3. The prosperity gospel distorts the true nature and character of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ did not ever ask anyone for money in order to heal, deliver or save them.
However, the prosperity gospel movement has created a false god who reacts mostly to money. Prosperity preachers preach a “god” who can be appeased by money; a “god” who can only bless you if you donate money; a “god” who can deliver, heal and save you if you give money.

Prosperity preachers teach a different gospel and a different Jesus than what is taught in the Bible. Prosperity preachers distort the true character of Jesus Christ and make Him into someone who loved money and material wealth. Furthermore prosperity preachers falsely claim that Jesus was rich and wealthy whilst He was on earth.

2 Corinthians 11:4 says: For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

The Bible does not portray Jesus Christ as being wealthy and nor did He encourage the love and pursuit of material wealth and money. In fact, Jesus discouraged the love of money and materialism. He was more concerned with humanity focusing on our inward repentance and holiness than focusing on the material and outward lifestyle of this world.

Jesus Christ taught His followers in relation to the love of money and materialism:

Luke 12:15 says: And He (Jesus) said to them “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Matthew 19:23-24 says: And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.  24  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

The Scriptures above reveals Christ’s mind when it came to the pursuit and love of material riches and wealth.

Jesus was not rich whilst on earth. Instead He left the riches and glory of Heaven to live a humble life on earth. He lived the life of a humble servant of God. He relied on the gifts and kindness of others during His ministry

Philippians 2:6-8 says the following about Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

In Mark 10:45 Jesus says “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”


4. The Prosperity gospel has created false churches and false converts
Since most prosperity gospel churches are founded on the health and wealth gospel, it is no surprise that most of these churches actually operate like businesses or companies. They pretend to be concerned with people or their followers, but the real motivation for their existence is to make money.

Prosperity gospel churches have commercialized Christianity. The congregation are the customers and religion is their product. Therefore false teachers have twisted the messages in the Bible into talking points to receive cash.
Many prosperity preachers especially within developing countries in Africa are known for deceiving followers through the selling of “anointing oil” and various “anointed” objects for cash. Congregants are promised that if they buy the “anointed” objects, they will experience blessings, protection and favor from God.

2 Peter 2:3 NLT says the following about false teachers: In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.

The prosperity gospel also creates false converts who go to church and pretend to follow Jesus on the presumption that if they follow Christ then God will give them all the material possessions they desire.
These false converts are not really seeking to genuinely repent of sin nor follow the doctrines of Christ. Instead they only want the material possessions which they believe God will give them if they follow Christ. They follow Jesus for the wrong reasons.

In other words the prosperity gospel creates people who see Christianity as a means to financial gain and not the genuine pursuit of Jesus Christ and relationship with Him.

After feeding the 5000 followers by His miracle of multiplying bread and fish, Jesus then challenges the 5000 to stop following Him merely because He provided them with temporary food. Instead He challenged them to follow after the food that leads to eternal life. Christ essentially challenged them to follow the Giver and not the gifts.

John 6:26-29 says: Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27  Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal.”  28 Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Therefore Jesus was encouraging people to seek after Christ Himself as the bread of life and not the temporary things of this earth.
However, later in John 6:66 Jesus was deserted by many of the 5000 who had initially followed Him.
John 6:66 says “After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.”

They deserted Christ and took offense on account of His teachings about Himself and the instructions He expected His disciples to obey in order to faithfully and genuinely follow Him (John 6:24-66).


What is the True Gospel?

The true gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 which says: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, [Emphasis Added]

The true gospel relates to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are all sinners who have sinned against a holy and just God (Romans 3:23). We have all broken God’s commandments and therefore all of humanity deserves to be punished for eternity in hell (Romans 6:23).
However God loves us and because of His love and grace, God allows us to receive salvation as a free gift because of what Jesus Christ did for humanity on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16).

Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that we could not live and took the punishment we deserved through His crucifixion on the cross for our sins. So the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life is not possible without Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:2 says: He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Ephesians 1:7 says: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

So our response to what Jesus did on the cross is to believe in Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior so that we may receive eternal life and become part of the family of God.
John 1:12 says: But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God,

Therefore we must place our faith in Jesus Christ and then allow Him to change us so that we become more like Christ in our daily living.

The life, death and resurrection of Christ ensures that we don’t have to pay money for our deliverance or salvation. We do not have to sow a monetary seed in order to be healed. We do not have pay money to a prosperity preacher to gain the love and favour of God because we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Peter 1:23).

God loved us whilst we were still sinners and He sent His Son Jesus to pay for our redemption (Romans 5:8).



The prosperity gospel is a false teaching because it promotes the love of the world and the love for the things of the world. It promotes the love for materialism and the things that are temporary.
This false doctrine appeals to the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. So the motivations of the prosperity gospel are in complete contrast to the word of God.

1 John 2:15-17 says: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Whether you’re a Christian or a unbeliever, we all have the basic need and desire to earn money and have a better life. You do not need to be a Christian to have these basic desires.

However the prosperity gospel magnifies these desires in an unbiblical and heretical way through Scripture twisting. The prosperity gospel energizes the flesh and the soul to focus on materialism rather than the things of God.
The prosperity or health and wealth gospel is a false and dangerous doctrine. It distorts and devalues the true gospel. This false doctrine also distorts the true nature of God and creates a different Jesus than the true Christ in the Bible.

It is therefore important to avoid listening to such doctrines or any religious group and preacher who promotes this doctrine.


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