The Prosperity (Anti-)Gospel - Sightings (Martin Marty)
It's difficult to compete with the message of Joel Osteen. First and foremost, he is on TV bright and early on Sunday morning, connecting a message of prosperity with the Bible. Believe the Bible and you will find a road to prosperity. That seems American enough! Of course, he's not the first to make this message known. There has always been a prosperity stream within Pentecostalism, one that is linked to the promise that Jesus is healer. Good things flow to those who claim Jesus' blessings. That message percolated down and took on a more distinctive style with people like E.W. Kenyon (one of my friends wrote his PhD dissertation on Kenyon), Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, etc. There is another line of similar thinking that isn't Pentecostal, but Reformed, as seen in Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Martin Marty takes notice of these movements in this week's edition of Sightings in large part due to attention given to the movement by the Vatican. Yes, Pope Francis isn't keen on prosperity teaching. I invite you to read, respond, and think through some of this. Is Prosperity teaching anti-gospel?