Jim Bakker on Prosperity Teaching

After his release for prison, Jim Bakker said this about the prosperity doctrine:

I’d always quoted 3 John 2, saying, ”Above all things God wants you to prosper.” I loved that Scripture. It looks great on a tv screen when you’re raising funds, and I interpreted it as God wants you to be rich. But when I got to the words of John, I said, ”Now this don’t make sense.” So I took the word prosper apart in the Greek and found out it’s made up of two words—the first word means good or well and the second road. It’s a progressive word, so it’s like a journey. So, here’s John saying, basically, ”Beloved, I want you to have a good journey through life as your soul has a good journey to heaven.” It was a greeting! Building theology on that is like building the church on ”Have a nice day.”

I began to look up all the Scriptures used in prosperity teaching, such as ”Give and it shall be given unto you.” When I put that Scripture back into its context, I found Christ was teaching on forgiveness, not on money. He was teaching us that by the same measure that we forgive, we will be forgiven.

I had gotten my sermons from other people. The Bible warns about the shepherds who get their messages from each other. I think today the reason we have another gospel and another Jesus being preached is because men have gotten their sermons from each other and from motivational teaching. A lot of what’s being taught today is simply motivational teaching with a few Scriptures put to it. – Source: The Re-education of Jim Bakker, ChristianityToday.com, Dec. 7, 1998



Bakker, who spent five years in prison for defrauding Heritage USA investors, says he has had a change of heart about the prosperity gospel.

The same man who once told his PTL coworkers that “God wants you to be rich,” now says he made a tragic mistake.

“For years, I helped propagate an impostor, not a true gospel, but another gospel,” Bakker has said in his 1996 book, “I Was Wrong.”

“The prosperity message did not line up with the tenor of the Scripture,” he said. “My heart was crushed to think that I led so many people astray.”– Source: The prosperity gospel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA, Nov. 18, 2003

This post was last updated: Aug. 17, 2009