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Health, Wealth & Happiness (abridged): How the Prosperity Gospel Overshadows the Gospel of Christ Kindle Edition
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From the Inside Flap
- 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
- Benjamin L. Merkle, Associate Professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC
- Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor, The Moody Church, Chicago, IL
About the Author
- File Size : 733 KB
- Publication Date : July 25, 2017
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 154 pages
- Publisher : Kregel Publications; Concise Arguments to Counter False Teaching Edition (July 25, 2017)
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07175Q13Q
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #475,582 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The authors are not unfair in their description and assessment of the PG, but at times there is a lack of nuance. Further, Calvinist/popular evangelical assumptions seem to be at play throughout, meaning that the PG is evaluated based on perhaps too simplistic of a theological system, although given the intended audience and agenda (practical help) this may be inevitable. For example, when critiquing Joel Osteen's theology, it is asserted that Osteen does not sufficiently emphasize the cross and suffering, and therefore he is teaching a false gospel. Gospel is then narrowly defined as sinners needing forgiveness and justification through Christ. I don't want to defend Osteen here, since I find his preaching to be rather shallow, but the gospel cannot be reduced to individual "sin management" (to use Dallas Willard's term). Rather, the good news is that in and through Jesus all things will be made right (and God has made a way for individuals to participate). It is the entire story of Jesus, not my story of my interaction with Jesus. It would be helpful to see what a critique from a fuller view of "gospel" would look like for these authors.
The debate over the PG is also by not quite as simple as is portrayed here, although I share the authors' concern over its abuses. The book at least does note that there is a strong and weaker form of the PG. It is the stronger form that seems more explicitly tied to 19th century New Thought, and which probably deserves the severest critique. I do think the presentation of New Thought and it's connection to current PG teachers is described in a clear and concise way, and readers may be surprised to see some integration of questionable metaphysics into Christian preaching.
Regarding the second part of the book, the teaching here does a good job of summarizing some of the biblical material on how Christians should handle suffering and money, emphasizing overall that the life of a disciple is one lived for the Lord and not immediate material gain. The biblical content is handled fairly, and pastoral applications are provided in each chapter. The authors even breach the subject of tithing, raising doubt in whether it is necessarily required of believers today (while advocating generous giving that need not stop at 10%). In this point I think they are being quite consistent with their anti-PG stance, since the way tithing is often taught today is really a mild expression of PG assumptions. A minor irritation for me was the authors' point re the use of biblical narrative material (in Acts) not being suitable for developing principles. I understand their caution, but the conversation in this matter has evolved considerably in the past few decades, and narrative genre deserves more attention for the development of doctrine that sometimes assumed.
Overall, this would be a good book for introducing some of the key teachings and background to PG, but other perspectives may help round out the conclusions of this book. For those interested, Kate Bowler's *Blessed* provides a more detailed and nuanced history of the PG movement and doctrines.
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.
Indeed, one of the major problems of prosperity theology—oddly unmentioned by Jones and Woodbridge—is its overrealized eschatology. While believers experience tokens of the New Heaven and New Earth in the present, they will experience the fullness of these things in the future. Prosperity theology promises more than the Bible (and Christian experience, for that matter) says will be delivered in this lifetime.
Third, it seems to me that we need to stop thinking of prosperity theology as one set of beliefs. Jones and Woodbridge note that prosperity theologians differ among themselves. For example, hardcore Word of Faith theology is different than, say, Joel Osteen’s “prosperity light” theology. I would add that the word prosperity itself means different things to different people. To a middle-class North American, it means a Mercedes and a bigger house. To an African eking out a subsistence living, it means having enough to live one, and then some. Perhaps we should start talking about prosperity theologies in the plural and recognizing that a one-size critique does not fit all of them.
That brings me to a fourth and final point: Perhaps so many people find prosperity theology (of one kind or another) attractive precisely because we have de-emphasized what the Bible teaches about bodily health and material wellbeing. It’s one thing for already-rich North Americans to look askance at televangelists who preach what amounts to slick defenses of gluttony. (Our North American social context is where Jones and Woodbridge’s critique works best.) It’s another thing for “the wretched of the earth” to read the Bible’s robust promise of provision and healing in Matthew 6:18–34 and James 5:13–16 and then to believe them. Shouldn’t we be be careful lest, in pooh-poohing the faith of these Majority World believers—most of whom adhere to some version of prosperity theology—we teach them to become people of “little faith”?