While there are numerous prosperity gospel churches around the world, they don’t advertise themselves as one. But one pastor is offering some guidance on how to tell if a church promotes the “health and wealth” gospel.
Tim Challies, a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Canada and an author, cited Kate Bowler’s book, Blessed, to compile his list and the first thing people should watch out for, he said, is the church’s name.
“Words like ‘victory,’ ‘abundant,’ or ‘conquerors’ provide what may be key information,” Challies wrote in his blog.
During church services, people can also determine whether the language used emphasizes “their core conviction that faith is the instrument through which believers attain their desires.” Key phrases that may be used include “releasing your faith,” “speaking your faith,” or “believing God for” things.
A church’s website is another place one can gain clues as to whether the church may be a prosperity gospel one. Challies noted that if a website “prominently features the pastor,” that may be an indication that it’s part of the prosperity gospel movement.
“Prosperity churches tend to align their identity with their senior pastor,” Challies said, noting that “71 percent of American prosperity megachurches use the image of the senior pastor as the primary advertisement on the church’s homepage.”
Also, prosperity gospel churches usually offer books by some of the leading personalities of the movement. Challies identified Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Benny Hinn, or T.D. Jakes as among those leaders.
He also noted that the “few superstars” who are in the prosperity gospel movement “tend to appear at the majority of the big events.”
Education is another indicator. Prosperity gospel preachers usually come from a “limited number of educational institutions such as Rhema Bible Training College or Oral Roberts University.”
Furthermore, prosperity gospel churches are not affiliated with denominations, but to less-formal networks or associations, including the Association of Faith Churches and Ministers and Creflo Dollar’s Ministerial Association.
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Source: Christian Post