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Health, Wealth & Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? Paperback – December 17, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"The prosperity gospel is a false gospel, and prosperity preachers are false prophets.  This book is as clear as that--and persuasive--but it is even more. Jones and Woodbridge have written a simple, careful account of the new religion that is sweeping Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  And they've provided a fair, biblical and searching critique.  I'm sad to say that this book is desperately needed; I'm thankful that it's now available."
- Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

"The prosperity gospel is neither prosperous nor is it the gospel as defined by Scripture. Simply put, it is a false teaching and a dangerous heresy. This book written by two dear friends and superb biblical scholars carefully and accurately investigates, critiques, and exposes the biblical and theological errors that pervade this movement. This is an important and valuable work. I pray for its wide distribution and reading." 
- Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC

"This book takes a balanced approach that is both biblically rigorous and in touch with current issues. This is an invaluable resource for those wishing to deal with the prosperity gospel with accuracy and clarity. This is a very Gospel-centered book."
- J. D. Greear, Lead Pastor of The Summit Church, Durham, NC.

"I praise God for the release of this book. It is a reliable resource for all who want to understand the destructive nature of the prosperity gospel movement. Jones and Woodbridge carefully point out its major biblical errors and call attention to the presence of erronious concepts found in prosperity theology. By exposing these errors, as well as interacting with some of the leading proponents of the prosperity movement, Jones and Woodbridge have provided a wonderful resource to hand to those who've bought into a counterfeit gospel, and for pastors who desire to protect their flock from wolves. May God use this book to direct people to the only true Gospel, and to the Savior, who is Himself our inheritance and our treasure."
- Tony Merida, Teaching Pastor at Temple Baptist Church, Hattiesburg, MS

"In this book Jones and Woodbridge have given us the truth about the prosperity gospel. This brief survey is remarkably clear and concise, providing both the historical background and biblical critique of this movement. Their treatment is fair and balanced, penetrating to the heart, and it reveals the danger of the prosperity gospel. I highly recommend this well written book."
- Benjamin L. Merkle, Associate Professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC

"This book is long overdue. The authors rightly warn us that the prosperity gospel has eclipsed the true message of the cross in many pulpits. Sadly, much of evangelicalism has been duped by a message that sounds biblical, but on closer examination is seen to be heretical. I pray that this book will help correct this error."
- Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor, The Moody Church, Chicago, IL

"In a work that is long overdue, Drs. Jones and Woodbridge deal the prosperity gospel a fatal blow through their thorough research and irrefutable documentation.  The authors, blending biblical theology with persuasive wit, create a rare blend that will appeal to both the layperson and theologian. Churches wrestling with the destructive doctrine of the prosperity gospel now have a staunch advocate and ready defense that clearly delineates God's will on such matters." 
- Emir Caner, best-selling author, President, Truett-McConnell College, Cleveland, GA

From the Back Cover

46% of self-identifying Christians believe God will make them rich if they have enough faith.

Every day on radio or TV there's a new gospel being proclaimed--the gospel of prosperity. This gospel teaches that God wants to fulfill our every desire for health, wealth, and happiness, and all it takes is enough faith. The preachers of prosperity tout their own opulent lifestyles as proof of their message: God wants his children to have it all. Is this the gospel? Or is it just a feel-good, self-centered appeal to our materialistic impulses that omits the message of Jesus and the cross?

The Bible does have a lot to say about wealth and possessions, but those teachings are routinely twisted out of context or carelessly misinterpreted. Authors David W. Jones and Russell S. Woodbridge go back to the Scriptures to set forth a truly biblical understanding of wealth, poverty, suffering, and giving. They identify five crucial areas of error related to the prosperity gospel movement and challenge readers to rediscover the true gospel of Jesus.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (December 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825429307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825429309
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By mwalton on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
At last someone has peeled back the Christian veneer of the prosperity preachers and exposed the false teachings they espouse! Jones and Woodbridge have written a slam-dunk critique of the so-called "prosperity gospel" still being promoted (post Jim Baker & PTL) by many of the biggest names in religious publishing/media. This is no over-generalized, innocuous critique of the health, wealth, and happiness crowd. Backed by impeccable research, the authors name names and supply the reader with more than ample evidence to demonstrate the fundamental falsehood of the teachings espoused by Meyers, Copeland, Osteen, and others. Beyond critique, though, Jones and Woodbridge offer a solidly biblical alternative to the prosperity message--one that offers genuine hope and comfort in the stuff of real life. The chapter on suffering is more than worth the price of the book. Well written and accessible to readers in all walks of life, the authors' research is more than sufficient to stand up to the rigors of scholarly scrutiny. A must read. Kudos to Jones and Woodbridge!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stranger's Home Ministries on April 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Show me the money

The authors of Health, Wealth & Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? argue that this "theology" is a dangerous movement with damning consequences for believers. Some of the biggest names in televangelism and mega-churchland have not only distorted the Word, the writers claim, often they have totally ignored Jesus and treated the Cross like an ATM machine.
In a well-reasoned critique, the authors, one with a doctorate in financial ethics, the other a former derivatives trader with Salomon Brothers, take on so-called prosperity theology and the preachers who have benefited so handsomely from it. But it hardly takes specialist training in finance to follow the case they build against these profiteers.
From the beginning, the authors make their own biases known. Says David W. Jones: "Prosperity theology is a corruption of His self-revelation, a distortion of His plan for redemption, and an idea that can ultimately lead to a reckless view of the material world." As for Russell S. Woodbridge, he says: "I learned that the purpose of life is not about accumulated money, health or a great career - it's about knowing God."
With those beliefs as their springboard, the authors set out to answer this question: "How did the modern church arrive at a place where otherwise orthodox Christians would come to view God as a way to achieve personal success and a means to attain material prosperity?"
Almost 200 pages later, that question seems sufficiently, perhaps definitively, answered.
First of all, the prosperity "Word" is highly attractive to a self-centered world. Second, some of it contains elements of biblical gospel.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Shores on February 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have ever been up late at night and found yourself watching Christian television programming for some unexplainable reason like I have, or felt that there was something just not quite right with the teachings of guys like Joel Osteen, T.D Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, and others, you need this book.

Jones and Woodbridge take a look at the modern prosperity gospel movement and set out to examine it through the lens of Scripture. Throughout the book, they show that though the message of the prosperity gospel might be appealing, who doesn't like the idea of God wanting to give them lots of money and make their life as comfortable as possible, it is a message that is just not found in the Bible.

Before reading this book, I thought I had a good grasp of what the prosperity gospel movement was all about. As it turned out, I knew very little, particularly about its history. Jones and Woodbridge do a good job of tying the movement to its roots which helped make sense of a lot of their teachings. They effectively showed that the prosperity "gospel" is not based in the Christian gospel at all, but in obscure new age movements along with hints of Hinduism and Oriental philosophy. A "Christian" movement not based in Scripture is not Christian.

The format of the author's argument is quite effective. They begin with an analysis of the roots of the prosperity gospel, the New Thought Movement, which any reader could easily recognize as non-Christian. Then in the following chapter, using writings of current prosperity gospel advocates, Jones and Woodbridge effectively demonstrate how their teachings, though cloaked in biblical language, are no different than that of their pagan predecessors.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By George P. Wood VINE VOICE on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Health, Wealth and Happiness by David W. Jones and Russell S. Woodbridge offers both a critique of prosperity theology as well as an exposition of what the Bible really teaches about suffering, wealth and poverty, and giving. Regarding the critique, it identifies major theological errors in prosperity theology without concluding that adherents are not Christians. And regarding the exposition, its approach outlines biblical teaching in the context of salvation history, i.e., creation, fall, and redemption.

As a minister, I would use this book in several ways. First, I would recommend it to my congregation for reading. Second, I would use it to help outline a sermon series on prosperity theology. The twofold movement of “critique” (Part 1) and “correction” (Part 2) is a helpful way to organize the movement of your sermons. Show the errors first, then show the truths. Moreover, the next time I preach on 1 Corinthians 16:1–2 or 2 Corinthians 8–9, I plan on borrowing Jones and Woodbridges’ principles of giving: Giving should be periodic, personal, planned, proportionate, and plentiful (pp. 154–155). Third, I would encourage Sunday school classes and small groups to use it as the basis of a 6-week curriculum. This is an ideal book for group use: It is short, irenic, thought-provoking, and readable.

That doesn’t mean I agree with everything Jones and Woodbridge write. For one thing, as a Pentecostal, I affirm the doctrine of healing in the atonement, while they don’t. Christ’s death and resurrection reconciles us to God both spiritually and physically. For some, this healing happens “now”; for others, it has “not yet” happened but will. The question, it seems to me, is not whether healing is provided for in the atonement but when it will occur.
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