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Prosperity Gospel and the American Dream

 The ‘prosperity gospel’ of receiving more by giving more, is accepted with open arms for the most part by the poor. After all, the rich have no need of it, because they are already prosperous. There is a great industry, especially in the United States, of this kind of message. It is much less in evidence in the UK, and I got to wondering why?

At first glance, the message is completely scriptural. You cannot outgive God, because He is greater than our every need. There are lots of verses which show the willingness of God to bless His people, so is this type of preaching, the whole gospel of good news and truth? I think it is incomplete.

It is undeniable that God is God, but not a genie in a bottle, which when we rub or say the right prayer, or use the right formula, He becomes our slave. God is sovereign, and He is the One we worship. His will is done, not ours, so He is not at our command, therefore the ‘name it and claim it’ gospel is very misleading, and the people most at risk, are those most in need. The very people who take the claim literally, seriously, and in faith trusting the well heeled televangelist who already have their private jet, mansion, and financial security are perhaps deluded? Are the poor their personal gold seam?

We have many poor people in the UK, and as a percentage more than in the USA, so why has this ‘get rich’ gospel not taken off in the same way? Good question, and with respect to my many American cousins, I will hazard an educated guess. The mindset of the ‘American Dream’ is embedded in the culture and mind of just about everyone who goes through life in the US. Starting at Grade School, through College, many good people believe if they study and work hard, they will achieve their dream of a nice home, savings, and a happy and secure family. That is a good and valid dream, and to be pursued. The US nation and economy is testimony to its value. I applaud its worth in society, which simply put says, work hard, believe in yourself, and achieve your dream.

Could there be a link between the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ and the ‘American Dream’ which has been misunderstood by the poor, and abused and misused by the televangelists to line their own pockets? I know this may be off target, so I am open to correction, but I cannot rid myself of the thought. I confess the concept is not my own, but from a book by a well known and respected US author. I suppose my basic question is this: Are these ‘Prosperity Gospel’ preachers and teachers just charlatans, or do they add Spiritual value to the lives of their followers, especially the poor?

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