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The 'Prosperity Gospel' Is Peddled by Magicians

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  • Dan Delzell
    (Photo: Dan Delzell)
By Dan Delzell, Special to CP
January 19, 2012|9:14 am

Have you noticed the significant number of ministers in recent decades who have been promoting magic in their teaching? They truly believe that their very words contain the power to create and change reality around them. They teach people that man has the ability to speak things into existence the same way that God spoke the world into existence. They have been deceived into believing they have this power within themselves and in the words they speak out loud.

These false teachers have been seduced by the "Word-Faith movement." The arrogance of this philosophy has led its followers to believe that God must obey our commands if we speak the right words with enough faith. It makes man "god" and it makes God our servant who is limited in His activity for us by the words we confess out loud. There is no humility in this doctrine and it goes completely against the letter and the spirit of the Scriptures. Man cannot speak into existence anything he wants to happen. It is up to God to decide how best to answer our prayers according to His will and His plan for our life on earth. The humble Christian prays in faith and confidence, but always with an attitude of "Thy will be done." The Word-Faith promoter speaks magic words with the mindset, "My will be done."

It is very much like the magicians who perform in Las Vegas and elsewhere. One magician explained the power of his words this way: "This source of the power of any word uttered for magical purposes is quite simple: The will of the magician. A word uttered by the average man will only reflect an immediate thought, usually directed towards no real end. That same word, uttered by a magician, can have an impact on the very fabric of reality." It is no different with the Word-Faith teachers. They believe that their words change reality. They believe any of us can harness this power and ability just like God. You just need to learn how to speak things into existence the way God did.

These teachers have often been consumed with a desire to gain wealth for themselves and their followers. They truly believe that Jesus was financially wealthy while he was on this earth and that faithful Christians can also be wealthy if they have enough faith and speak enough "positive confessions." The only time the New Testament speaks positively of wealth is for the purpose of blessing others with it – not for the purpose of living a lavish lifestyle and storing up money and possessions for yourself.

God's Word says, "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9,10) The Word-Faith magicians seek to get rich so they can enjoy an opulent lifestyle; and they teach their followers that it is good to desire money and to spend much of it on yourself. That is just the opposite of what Jesus taught and what the Scriptures make so clear about the love of money.

The Word-Faith teachers believe it is a strong testimony of their doctrines for them to spend millions of dollars on their own personal possessions and their own worldly desires. Most of their followers can only dream about one day being as "faithful" and as wealthy as their rich pastor. In reality, the Christians in our world with the greatest faith actually give away a large percentage of their wealth and choose to live very modestly. There is nothing modest about the "prosperity gospel" or those who choose to peddle it. They are presenting "another gospel" when they promote their magical path to financial prosperity. It has nothing to do with biblical Christianity.

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Magic focuses upon man's words. Christianity focuses upon God's Word. Magic relies upon the magician to provide the power and the results. Christianity relies upon God for every answer to prayer and for everything that is necessary for godliness. Magic celebrates the magician and his magic arts. Christianity celebrates Jesus Christ and His cross and empty tomb. There is no room for magicians in the church of the living God. Let them sell their tawdry wares in Las Vegas along with the rest of those who trust in their own words to create reality. It is a cheap imitation of what our mighty God can do anytime and any place He chooses to do something for one of His children.

Jesus said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them." (Matthew 7:15,16) The fruit of a faithful Christian is not the promotion of magic words for personal gain. It is the proclamation of the true Gospel and a life of humility toward God and service toward man. May our Sovereign and Almighty God deliver His people from this den of money making magicians. Such a den is far more dangerous to your immortal soul than a den of lions!

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb.
 

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