By: Mr. Abiodun


ANATOMY OF THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL –

PART 2

DEFINITION

The prosperity gospel, also known as the prosperity theology, is difficult to define precisely because it is not a systematized theological thought. However, it is often defined by many theologians as the “gospel of wealth and health” because of its disproportionate emphasis on material wealth and physical health as opposed to the traditional Gospel message that emphasizes deliverance from sin through the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

ORIGIN

The prosperity theology is a relatively new concept because it was birthed less than 70 years ago. It is an offspring of the Pentecostal movement which broke out of the Methodist-Holiness movement. The Pentecostal movement began on the Azusa Street of Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1906 through the Azusa Street Revival that spanned from 1906 to 1915. The revival was led by William Joseph Seymour (May 2, 1870 – September 28, 1922), a holiness preacher of the African American extraction. From the street of Azusa, many participants of the revival went to different parts of the United States of America and the World at large with the Pentecostal Revival message that spread like a wildfire thereafter. Prior to this, Charles Fox Parham (June 4, 1873 – January 29, 1929), an American holiness preacher and evangelist, started conducting a Bible study series in late 1900 with his students in the Bethel Bible College at Topeka, USA, where it was discovered that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was usually accompanied by the evidence of speaking in other tongues in the Bible. On the evening of 1st January 1901, Agnes Ozman, a female student at Bethel Bible College, requested to be prayed for to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which she received. She was the first person among this group to speak in tongues, even before Parham. William Seymour was a student of this Bible college before he left to start the Azusa Street revival.

Although several individuals have tried to label the Pentecostal experience as false or demonic because of certain character defects noted in Charles Parham, I am of the opinion that Scriptural evidence ought to take precedence over human frailty since God often uses imperfect people to accomplish His work. We shall deal with the subject at another time if God permits.

Classical Pentecostalism emphasized four cardinal doctrines: salvation by faith in Christ alone, baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in new tongues, divine healing and the second coming of Christ, in addition to other classical Protestant beliefs. This continued until after the World War II (WW 2) when the American healing revival broke out. Several healing evangelists began to emphasize divine healing in their messages in addition to salvation and prayed openly for people to be healed. Some of these healing evangelists in the early 1950s then began to emphasize that God blesses His people financially and materially in addition to salvation from sin and healing from sicknesses. We shall call this the “Abundant Life theology”. In the 1960s, the abundant life message became the primary focus of the healing revivals. During the decade, Willian Braham, a healing evangelist and prophet, criticized these preachers that their fund-raising tactics unfairly pressured the seekers.

We need to at this point understand the state of the Church prior to this time. Due to overemphasis on the sovereignty of God, it was a general believed that sicknesses and poverty in the life of the Christian were acts of God. Whoever was afflicted with any of them thought they were suffering for Christ. It was the will of God as far as they were concerned. Some actually thought that poverty was synonymous with piety. They had a limited understanding of the scriptures in regard to the origins of these twin afflictions, the efficacy of prayer and the application of practical wisdom in overcoming them. Hence, the general belief in the Church then tended towards fatalism.

It would have been alright if these teachings were limited to exactly what the Bible says on these subjects. Alas, this was not to be. Just like all other restoration movements that went beyond what is written in the scriptures, the healing revival and the Abundant Life gospel went awry in their emphases.

Several healing evangelists such as Asa Alonso Allen (A. A. Allen), Gordon Lindsay, T. L. Osborn, Oral Roberts etc. championed this movement at inception. Gordon Lindsay and A. A. Allen, among others, published literature that outlined the basic contents of the Abundant Life message. However, Oral Roberts is believed to be the one who laid a grand foundation for the theology. He published a book in 1970 entitled “Miracle of the Seed-Faith” in which many, if not all the principles and methods of the Abundant Life theology were outlined. A revised edition of this book was published in 1999.

Classical Pentecostalism ab initio maintained that the believer’s healing is in the atonement based on Isiah 53:5.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)

Two basic questions come to mind in regard to this belief. Is divine healing truly in the atonement? If divine healing is indeed in the atonement, is it meant to be manifest exactly like salvation from sin in this present dispensation for all believers in Christ at all the times? We shall leave these questions unanswered for now until a later time.

About fifty years after the beginning of Pentecostalism, the Abundant Life theology declared that the believer’s material prosperity is also guaranteed by the atonement. This time around, there was no explicit scriptural reference that could be cited to establish this assertion. Though paid for by the atonement as taught by the theology, the believer can only access these blessings through the seed-faith that comes in form of tithe, first-fruits, seed offering, special offering, prophet offering, sacrificial offering, vows, pledges etc.

In addition to the Abundant Life movement, the “Word of Faith” movement also began among the Pentecostals in the 1970s and became very popular thereafter. The Word of Faith emphasize divine healing and material prosperity like the Abundant Life message but it teaches that positive confession (Word of Faith) is the means by which these blessings are obtained. In other words, the Abundant Life theology teaches that the seed-faith is the key to these temporal blessings while the Word of Faith teaches that positive confession is the key.

The Word of Faith theology was popularized by Kenneth E. Hagin, although Essek William Kenyon (1867–1948) who died about two decades and a half before the teaching became popular laid down the principles of the theology. Several individuals have attributed the origin of the Word of Faith theology to the New Thought or Mind Cure movement pioneered by Phineas Quimby and the other New Age teachers because E. W. Kenyon once studied at the Emerson School of Oratory as a young person. This may not be absolutely correct because he rebuked the New Age teachers for their faulty theology because it isn’t based on Christ. Kenyon believed that positive confession is alright but it has to be founded on Christ’s finished work.

To Kenneth E. Hagin’s credit, he made effort to correct some of the excesses of the prosperity gospel towards the end of his life. Some of the corrections were documented in his book “Midas Touch” but it seems many of the second-generation prosperity preachers are too far into the theology to retrace their steps.

Therefore, the prosperity gospel, as we know it today, is an admixture of the Abundant Life theology and the Word of Faith theology.

To be continued………………….

ANATOMY OF THE “PROSPERITY GOSPEL” (PART 1PREAMBLE)

By: Dr. Abiodun Jemilohun


ANATOMY OF THE “PROSPERITY GOSPEL” (PART 1PREAMBLE)

First and foremost, I would like to clarify that this treatise is not an attempt to refute the fact that God can and does endow His people and humanity in general with financial and physical blessings. If we begin on the premise that God is a good God, as the Bible declares Him to be, we shouldn’t find it difficult to believe that God would have no trouble blessing the people who are called by His name with the good things of life.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Mat 7:11)

Why this Prosperity Theology:

The main objective of this treatise is to conduct a thorough examination of the “prosperity theology” as it currently exists in the light of the Bible, the written word of God, which is the only authentic canon by which the veracity or otherwise of all Christian doctrines and practices can be established.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in righteousness.” (2Tim 3:16)

Someone may ask, Why this effort?” To such a one I answer, “If not for any other reason, the numerous controversies surrounding this theology are enough to prompt a sincere inquirer to diligently seek the true position of the Bible on it.”

Contrary to my usual practice of refraining from mentioning names in my apologetics activities, it is inevitable that names of a few prominent men who pioneered this theology would be mentioned in the course of this discourse. This is by no means an attempt to cast aspersion on their persons but an attempt to give an accurate and honest account of the evolution of this theology.

It is also important to state clearly that this work is not an attempt to judge any man but an effort to subject a theological thought to the scrutiny of the holy word of God.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1Thess 5:21)

Bearing in mind that the first rule of Christian apologetics is FIDELITY to the letter and spirit of the Scripture, I shall maintain strict adherence to the principles of biblical hermeneutics (interpretation) we previously outlined in one of our series throughout this discourse. The reader should kindly refer to this for clarification as occasion may demand.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (1Tim 2:15)

This is probably going to be the longest public treatise I would ever write. I must confess that the enormity of this task is enough to debar one from beginning in the first instance but I am convinced that it is a work that must be done for the defence of the glorious Gospel. I believe it is an idea whose time has come.

I am quite aware that our society is till uncomfortable with frank public discussions that relate to religion but if we must make progress we have to be willing to take these discussions from behind the curtains to the arena.

“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” (Mat 10:27)

Since we know in part, everyone is welcome to contribute, but on the condition that CIVILITY will be maintained. Please bear in mind that I shall not hesitate to delete every comment I consider unkind or unchristain. There is no time for frivolities as the King’s business is urgent. ANATOMY OF THE “PROSPERITY GOSPEL” (PART 1PREAMBLE) – To be continued…

Who is a Prosperity Minister?

Dr Chinomso Jude Nwala


KING SOLOMON’S GLORY DOME

The temple that Solomon built for God was said to have a great quantity of gold, silver, bronze, and other precious metals. The temple consisted of several layers, with the Most Holy Place housing the Ark of the Covenant in the center. (The presence of God). It was built in the 10th century BC.

So, how much did Solomon’s temple cost? The amount of gold, silver and bronze, along with other precious metals are recorded in various places in the Bible.

(1 Chronicles 22:14)- 100,000 talents of gold, 1 million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighted.

(1 Chronicles 29:3)- 3,000 talents of gold, 7,000 talents of silver from David’s personal treasures.

(1 Chronicles 29:7)- 5,002.5 talents of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze, 100,000 talents of iron from the leaders of Israel.

(1 Kings 5:10)- King Hiram of Tyre gave Solomon many cedar trees for the temple.

In total, over 108,002.5 talents of gold, 1,017,000 talents of silver, and quantities of bronze much greater than that. A great quantity of cedar trees were used- so many, in fact, that Solomon had to pay King Hiram with 20 towns in Galilee! (1 Kings 9:11)

108,002.5 talents of gold would beg an incredible amount of gold. One talent was approximately 75 pounds, so 108,002.5 talents would be a mindbogglingly 8,100,187.5 pounds of gold.

1,017,000 talents of silver would be an equally mind-boggling 76,275,000 pounds of silver! Excluding the bronze, and using the average current price of gold, the gold alone of Solomon’s temple would have been an astonishing $194,404,500,000.

The silver would have been $22,199,076,000. Added together, the gold and silver used along in Solomon’s Temple was worth $216,603,576,000. Calculate this in Naria and know what it worth.

This does not include all the precious metals, bronze, iron, ivory, or cedar wood used in the temple. Extrapolating from the number, the total cost of Solomon’s temple including the labor costs (153,000 forced laborers) would have been well over half a billion, Building the temple took over seven years.

Dr. Paul Enenche’s new cathedral is like a children’s department to what king Solomon built for God and people are complaining.

During the time of king Solomon, there were beggars then, there were priests and high priests and prophets then but none was envious of Solomon. None talked against or criticized what Solomon did for God. People far and near come to worship God in the temple Solomon has built and the Bible recorded that the glory of God came down mightily.

Jealousy and envy will kill some people. At the success of others they get angry. When they can’t bet your standard they become your adversaries. The church is rising and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. No amount of criticism can bring a great man down. If King Solomon can use such an amount of money to build a glory Dome for God then what Dr Paul Enenche built is just small.

You guys haven’t seen anything yet. Mine is coming. The more you talk and get angry, the more God builds his church and make name for himself.

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“Let’s be a church without blemish.”

By: Theophilus Izobofolo


GOD IS NOT WAITING FOR YOU IN CHURCH MEETINGS!

There is something every believer in Christ needs to know. I hope to communicate this in a simple way:

The God of the home is the God of the workplace. And the God of the workplace is the same God you go to seek in church meetings.

He is equally potent, active, available and interested in those three spheres of life. Believe me, God is not waiting for you at church meetings. He is everywhere, for you.

If only people knew God is present at their places of work, they would stop dodging or abandoning their work to run to church meetings.

If only people knew that God is present in their homes, they would stop starving their families of needed time, finance and attention in order to fulfill similar obligations at church meetings.

See, Family is God’s idea, and it is your first ministry. You don’t have to starve your family in order to sponsor church programs.

GOD IS NOT WAITING FOR YOU IN CHURCH MEETINGS!

Paul wrote in one of his epistles “He that does not provide for his own family is worse than an infidel”.

People need to understand that service to God does not begin and end in church meetings.

When you are at work, it is God you are serving, not your boss. Whether your work pays little or much, endeavor to do it “as unto the Lord”. Whether you have a difficult boss or not, in the final analysis your service is “unto the Lord”.

Whether it is a white collar or blue collar job, it is unto the Lord.

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ”
Colossians 3:23‭-‬24 HCSB

It is ignorance peddled by religion that seeks to restrict God to a place, a method, a meeting, or a time frame. God is omnipresent and He is eternal. He only steps into time to relate to man.

Even His manifest presence, the spectacular and dramatic manifestations of God that men love to see can take place anywhere, church meetings inclusive.

The Church Is The Body Of Christ Not Denominations!

When God made the first man called Adam, He put him in a garden called Eden.

The garden was where he lived with his family. The garden was where he worked (tending and keeping it) and the garden was the same place where God fellowshipped with him.

This is a clear sign that We need to stop separating “the secular” from “the sacred”.

For a believer in Christ, everything about you is sacred and sanctified because God is in it. Someone needs to start coming to terms with this salient truth!

It is the ploy of religion to separate the sacred from the secular. That’s why people behave themselves only when they “go to church” and misbehave when they leave church meetings.

That’s why church activities have become the biggest thing in town yet the corresponding virtues are not seen in our streets and society at large.

Somebody said “Oh! God visited Hannah when she was at a meeting in Shiloh”. No doubt about this but the scriptures are replete with enough evidences that God’s visitation is not restricted to solemn assemblies.

Check your bible! When God visited Sarah, she was in her husbands house when the angels of God showed up. Dear sister, I need to stop jumping around from one program to another. God can visit to meet your need in your husband’s house. Please stop sleeping in church and camps. God is not running from you, neither is He playing “hide and seek” with you.

Need I remind you of Jesus’ instructions on prayer? He said when you pray, get into your closet, close the door behind you and pray to your father who sees in secret and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Mt. 6:6.

I need you to stop looking for God in the “spectacular”, God may not be in the noises you hear around. God is present in the mundane and unimpressive places and situations. Ask Elijah. There was an earthquake and there was fire but God wasn’t there.

GOD IS NOT WAITING FOR YOU IN CHURCH MEETINGS!

Again, When God manifested himself to Gideon, he was not In a fellowship meeting. Rather, he was working at a threshing floor.

The dramatic manifestation of God to Moses was not at a revival service. He was in one thick bush, shepherding the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro.

When God met with the Ethiopian Eunuch, it was not during the worship at Jerusalem but while he was on his way back home.

When angel Gabriel appeared to Zachariah to announce that his wife was going to conceive at old age, he wasn’t in a meeting organised for people seeking the “fruits of the womb”. He was at his workplace as a professional priest because it was his turn/shift to burn incense.

May I be frank with you sir? Church meetings are overrated in Africa. The meetings are so numerous and they keep people busy in religious motions. Interestingly, there is no shortage of fancy tags and themes for these meetings.

This generation is poorly schooled and mistaught to believe they can only encounter God’s manifest interventions at church meetings.

“Do not forsake the assembly of one another..” should not translate to neglecting other areas of your life because of church meetings.

Dear friends, we have not been called out of darkness so we can “go to church”. No! We have been called to “be the church”, so let’s be the church.

Note: If this post suggests to you that fellowship with other believers (however you achieve this) is not needed, then you didn’t read the post.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

It is a new day! GOD IS NOT WAITING FOR YOU IN CHURCH MEETINGS BUT IN YOUR HEART.

Ref: NINYO Omidiji

The Church Is The Body Of Christ Not Denominations

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