15 Theses Against The Prosperity Church

“Thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace.”

Indulgence preachers promised that financial gifts to their ministries would save people from suffering in death. In the same way, prosperity preachers promise that financial gifts to their ministries will save people from suffering in life. Neither are true. God is not cheap; we cannot buy his favour. We cannot afford it. We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, not money.

 

500 years ago today, Martin Luther hammered the Catholic Church when he nailed The 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Germany—igniting the Reformation. The 95 Theses was Martin Luther’s pastoral reaction to the Catholic Church’s indulgence preachers, who sold certificates promising buyers or their loved ones reduced suffering in purgatory. In other words, they were the prosperity preachers of that time.

In The 95 Theses, Martin Luther said, “[the indulgence preachers] preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.” Doesn’t that sound familiar?

I read The 95 Theses for the first time several years ago when I was beginning to challenge some of the doctrines of my church at that time. Luther’s challenges to the Catholic Church helped me embrace my own opposition to my church selling the gospel. Luther’s courageous words about the Pope gave me courage to disagree with my pastor. Most of all, The 95 Theses helped me grasp that the prosperity gospel is a deviation from the Protestant Reformation.

So in honour of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I have written 15  Theses Against The Prosperity Church:

1. Indulgence preachers promised that financial gifts to their ministries would save people from suffering in death. In the same way, prosperity preachers promise that financial gifts to their ministries will save people from suffering in life. Neither are true. God is not cheap; we cannot buy his favour. We cannot afford it. We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, not money.

2. When prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen, Steven Furtick, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, and the aptly named, Creflo Dollar, teach that they can eliminate our suffering in this world, they echo their master’s words to Jesus, when the devil tempted Jesus by promising to eliminate his sufferings. (Luke 4:1-13)

3. Just as it was necessary for Christ to suffer for us, it’s necessary for us to suffer for him. The apostle Paul said, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29)

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