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As Peters dug into the theology and history of the word of faith movement, he was more convinced than ever that Christians needed to know the truth about it. He discovered that the movement's origins are not at all Christian; instead its roots can be traced directly to the metaphysical cults of the 19th century, Unitarianism, Christian Science, New Thought and even back to the early-church heresy known as Gnosticism.
"These preachers blur the line between the Creator and the created," Peters said. "They demote God and deify man ... To them, faith is not placed in God; faith is a force you direct at God to make Him do what you want Him to do. It is a very man-centered gospel which makes it a different gospel.... All this has been wrapped in a Christian terminology to make it more palatable."
Abstract: This essay explores whether self or the Savior is at the heart of the prosperity gospel. An analysis and critique of its dogma indicates that it is predominantly anthropocentric, rather than Christocentric. This ego-focused outlook is likewise present in the health-and-wealth movement. One discovers that preachers of success are touting a religion of self in which people are the measure of all things. A detailed discussion of Ephesians 1:3- 23 provides a needed biblical response. One learns that the Son, not self, is at the heart of the Father’s plan of redemption. Also, it is in Christ alone that believers find forgiveness, hope, and wisdom. Only He is the meta-narrative of life, whether temporal or eternal in nature. Indeed, He is the sole reason for the existence of the church and the one who enables believers to complete their God-given work.
Faith, Health, and Prosperity: A Report on "Word of Faith" and "Positive Confession" Theologies by Andrew Perriman
The Word-Faith Controversy: Understanding the Health and Wealth Gospel by Robert M. Bowman Jr.
Divine Money--Name It and Claim It [Quicktime video. Allow time to load] Posted on the website of professor Jonathan L. Walton, who writes:
Here is a radio documentary produced by the BBC’s religion and ethics program Heart and Soul. The show features Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant of Baltimore, Professor Anthea Butler of UPenn and me discussing the prosperity gospel and its relationship to the current financial meltdown.
I honestly must say that I think this is one of the more sensitive yet critical treatments of the phenomenon I have heard. The program is nuanced and gives voice to a wide range of perspectives. Its amazing what happens when producers and interviewers allow the voices of the people to be heard.
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