Were it not so sad for both themselves, and those who follow them, the message of the typical televangelist would be almost comical. Televangelists have a few common errors which seem to always form the content of what they say. Eschatological (end time) speculation, and the pray-this-prayer for salvation error, are common with virtually every program.
Many of today’s popular charlatan TV preachers “preach” what has been labeled, “The Prosperity Gospel.” False teachers such as Benny (divorced) Hinn, Rod Parsley, Kenneth Copeland, and husband and wife team Marcus and Joni Lamb of the Daystar Network, are some of the more notorious proponents of this prevalent falsehood.
Sometimes called health and wealth, name it and claim it, or as someone else has more appropriately labeled it, “blab it and grab it,” the basic idea is that “If you send money to us, God will send more back to you than you can even count.” These people have a track record of taking every single verse they use out of its context, not to mention putting God in a position of encouraging people to seek that which His Word says to desire is fraught with spiritual danger.
Isaiah 53:5 is misinterpreted to mean that physical healing is a blessing of the cross, when the prophet is actually referring to spiritual (e.g. 1 Pet. 2:24), not physical, healing. If this were true, why would Christians ever be sick or die? The position actually impugns the power of the blood of Christ!
One of the favorite verses of the prosperity gospel advocates is reads,
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be meat in mine house, And prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, If I will not open you the windows of heaven, And pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Mal. 3:10).
To begin with, this passage is written specifically to Judah, who has been stingy with God, and offered polluted offerings to the Lord. This passage is not a universal principle to all people. In the second place, tithes are part of the old law, not the new one. If the prosperity preachers are going to claim the blessing of Malachi 3:10, they need to be offering animal sacrifices of the best of their flocks. But that would put them in the position of rejecting the sacrifice of Christ. What tangled webs men weave!
Preachers of the prosperity gospel seldom find a usage of the word seed in the Bible that they do not like. Their message is, “send me a donation, and you have planted a seed that will produce at some later date an abundant crop of cash for you.” These men are encouraging people to do what Paul warns against. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Tim. 6:9). The prosperity gospel is both error and a scam, taught by those who’s greed for gain makes them identical to the description given by the apostle Peter stated in 2 Peter 2:3: “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” On July 7, 2008, the New York Times, reported that no less than six televangelists were under scrutiny by the U.S. Senate for financial wrong doing. Leading the way was Kenneth Copeland, who was accused of humanitarian aid fraud while his ministry supplied him a mansion which the Times described as “large as a hotel,” a $20-million-dollar Cessna Citation jet, and a private airport to land it on.
The feet of these men, and women too, by the way, must be kept to the fire for two reasons: they are frauds with no qualms about cheating primarily the poor out of their money while they wallow in wealth. Additionally, when these shysters do preach anything other than their materialistic and Utopian message of “make your own heaven on earth,” their messages about salvation are as erroneous as 2+2=7. Like the mainstream denominations, they teach salvation by the doctrine of faith alone. They deny the efficacy of baptism or that it is the crowning act required of one to be cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ (Mat. 26:28; Acts 22:16; Heb. 9:12; 10:22).
We live in a materialistic society crowded with faux-religious people who like other secular humanists, seek their ultimate happiness in the here and now. The prosperity gospel dispensers are there to scratch their itching ears. They reinforce the love of money with their brand of error. The majority of their followers will be disappointed in this life, because the promise of wealth is a mere confidence scheme. They will be further disappointed when they stand before God in judgment, because they have been fed a lie about how one is saved. The reality is, whether in this world, or the world to come, the prosperity gospel is not really so prosperous after all!