Posted by: Damon Whitsell | February 3, 2012

1st Peter and the Health and Wealth Gospel.

SOURCE: There is a stream of modern day “Christianity” that promotes a prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel teaches that God’s will for your life is that you be healthy, wealthy, and prosper in all that you do. It goes by such names as Health and Wealth, prosperity, word faith, and name-it-and-claim-it. It is a popular teaching and many of the largest churches in America hold to it.

The Influence of the Prosperity Gospel

These teachers gather crowds in services, are seen on television, heard on the radio, and their books sell in large amounts. They obviously are teaching and selling a message people want to hear. People want to hear that God wants them to be wealthy . They want to hear that not only does God want them to be wealthy, but that they can be wealthy if they simply have the right type of faith and unleash God in their lives. Each of these teachers has a different way this might be done. It could be through giving to their ministry. It could be through a certain type of prayer. The point is with the right kind of faith you can prosper.

The Reason People Follow It

The message is so popular because it hits on our inherit greed. The love of money is still the root of all forms of evil. These ministries prey on peoples love of money. Some of the people are folks who are poverty stricken and want to believe that if they just got things right with God he would give them their hearts material desires.

This teaching does not simply state that God wants us all rich, but also that if you are not rich, then it is because of your lack of faith in God. Therefore Christians who are poor and sick are Christians who are unfaithful to God.

Peter’s Critique of such a Message

Now I want to compare that theology to what Peter teaches. Peter has taught that instead of the Christian faith being a calling to wealth and prosperity that they are called to do good and suffer (read more here). That they should not be surprised when they face fiery trials (read more here). That they should prepare themselves to suffer by following the example of Jesus (read more here). That they should rejoice during persecution (read more here). That they should entrust themselves to God and keep on doing good. That they should understand this world is not their home, but rather they are pilgrims and sojourners (read more here). That they should prepare for suffering, not for wealth and prosperity (read more here). All of this pushes back hard agains the prosperity gospel movement that is seen all too often in the largest churches in America and broadcast on television. God does not make life perfect and prosperous for the Christians. He does redeem us. He does provide value for our suffering. He does give us opportunities to find joy in suffering, but he does not promise us health, wealth, and prosperity! In fact, God promises the opposite. Those who follow Jesus will face persecution.


This gospel that is promoted all to often is not the gospel at all, rather it is a different gospel that plays off man’s desire for wealth and those who follow such a gospel will miss out on the joys and glory of the world to come. The gospel of God is not a gospel of cheap grace and ease. It is a glorious gospel, but it is a gospel that costs you everything. Sadly, many don’t want the gospel to cost them anything, but they still want to claim the name Christians, so they have perverted the gospel to their own demise.


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