Prophetic Artist

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Stacey Collier

This month's Prophetic Artist is, Stacey Collier, is a very special friend of the Get Real! Podcast.  She is a gifted young lady from Australia with a quick sense of humor, bass guitar  skills, the desire to sing with the croak of a raven, and a keen sense of discernment.

This summer, Stacey was introduced to Get Real! listeners as the creator of the Get Real! Podcast comic strip.  This month she returns with a keen perspective on the Word of Faith or "Prosperity Gospel" movement.  


In the 4 November edition of Get Real!, "Prosperity_Wizards_Warlocks & Witches." she humbly demonstrates how the "Word of Faith" movement does not line up with Scripture.

Her insights are clearly the result of the illumination of the Holy Spirit and were first written by her in the form of a paper for a school project.  Below is the full paper she wrote for school.

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THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL:

MONEY IS THE ROOT OF GODS BLESSINGS

 

There is written evidence and historical records [1] to account for the existence of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, who is believed to be the Son of God. The Bible states that throughout his lifetime, he preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. This was the initial Gospel. Once Jesus left the Earth, his followers continued in his legacy, preaching the Gospel to people. But 2000 years later, by the late 19th century, the Gospel had managed to get twisted into a movement called New Thought [2]. Over time, New Thought started to merge with a more established branch of Christianity, known as Pentecostalism [3], which eventually became known as The Faith Movement (aka Word Of Faith). Word Of Faith started to gain traction in the 1970’s [4]. The Word Of Faith movement has since been mocked with the label ‘Prosperity Gospel’, due to it’s prosperity-based doctrine.


It is unlikely to find someone who is a fence-sitter in regards to the Prosperity Gospel. Seemingly there is a firm bias towards one’s opinion about the theology. People indoctrinated into this way of thinking will cling to this gospel as truth, whereas people against this doctrine are happy to oppose and expose it, in hopes to ‘save’ those who believe in it. 


“We define prosperity gospel as the teaching that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the “sowing of seeds” through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings.” - https://www.lausanne.org/content/a-statement-on-the-prosperity-gospel


FINANCIAL BLESSINGS


Kenneth Copeland is a prime example of why the Prosperity Gospel is a scam. Him and his wife live in a 6 million dollar church-owned lakefront mansion [5]. The fact that it is church-owned means that it was purchased with the church’s finances (which is made up of the congregants’ donations). On top of this, Copeland is also using his funds as a televangelist to purchase private jets and construct airstrips on the church’s 1,500 acre (approximately 6km²) campus. It has been estimated that he has flown his jets to a particular vacation resort at least 143 times since 2000 [6]. Copeland has also claimed to have healed one of his jets by laying his hands on it, and demanding that the corrosion leave it, in the name of Jesus. [7]


The Prosperity Gospel offers a promise that if you give God your money (by donating to a church), God will pay you back with more money. A poll conducted by the Time magazine in 2006 stated that a third of those who took part in the poll believed that if you give God money, you will get more money in return.


The Prosperity Gospel also exhorts the idea that God is forgetful so you have to remind Him to bless you. A widespread practice in the Word of Faith movement consists of verbally speaking things into existence, identical to the practice of the new age movement. The Word of Faith movement believes that if God could speak creation into existence, then so can you. Here is an extract from the book It’s Your Time (2009), by Joel Osteen [8], an American televangelist and associate of the Word Of Faith movement:


“...When you're in difficult times it’s good to remind God what you've done. “God, I kept my family in church. God, I’ve gone the extra mile to help others. I’ve given. I’ve served. I’ve been faithful.” In your own time of need you should call in all those seeds you've sown…” 


The problem with this Prosperity Gospel is that it is a scam, ripping off people who are trying to do the right thing. It is a religious form of psychological abuse; convincing someone that they’re not a good person if they don’t donate enough money to the church.

The Prosperity Gospel has quickly become a global epidemic, with its greatest traction set in America. This gospel is seen specifically in areas where Pentecostalism is rapidly expanding, ‘non-denominational’ churches, and first-world countries who seek Western prosperity. 42.3% of Americans and 1/3 of Christians, to some extent, believe in this Prosperity theology. Statistically more black people are at risk of falling for this Prosperity gospel than white people.


"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear" - 2 Timothy 4:3 [NIV]  


Here are some tips on how to spot the Prosperity Gospel:


• FAITH: 

Faith is presented as an amount. The more faith you have, the more prosperous and blessed you will be.


• IMAGE: 

A pastors’ image is published everywhere. Their face is on websites, books, events, etc.  


• PROSPERITY: 

The doctrine lacks any mention of suffering being part of God’s will for your life.


HEALTH AND WEALTH: 

God wants you healthy and wealthy right now. God wants you to be happy and enjoy life’s luxuries,


• COSTLY: 

The church is always encouraging you to generously tithe, donate, or ‘sow a seed’. The church is extravagant. It has an extravagant lobby, an extravagant auditorium, and extravagant equipment for the worship team.


• SUPERNATURAL: 

The church is very big on displaying ‘evidence of the Holy Spirit’. It is common to hear people speaking in tongues, prophesying, and to witness faith-healings. Maybe even to witness someone performing an exorcism every now and then. [9]


FAITH HEALING


Born in 1869 was a Russian mystic by the name of Grigory Rasputin. By the 1900’s, Rasputin gained popularity due to his charisma and alleged healing powers. In 1905, Rasputin was invited into Russia’s royal court to put his powers into practice to heal the Tsar’s son [10], who suffered from hemophilia. Rasputin was said to have successfully healed the boy by denying the boy aspirin, his laying on of hands, or simply praying for the boy. Although there is no definite conclusion as to which of these three factors accounted for the healing, all of these factors are common techniques used by modern day faith healers.


In a study which surveyed almost 1,000 American adults who claimed to be born-again or evangelical Christians, 64% of participants stated that they believed prayer improves one’s health. [11]


The primary way faith healers will operate in healings is through a public performance of their laying on of hands and praying, usually accompanied by a microphone and an auditorium filled with awe-struck viewers. This method affects a recipient psychosomatically, psychologically and psychosocially. Manipulating them into believing that the pastor is anointed by God to heal them then and there, ploying a placebo effect.


The placebo effect encompasses a mixture of adrenaline, faith and social pressure, which is usually effective enough to convince someone that they have been healed in that very moment. If a recipient doesn’t feel healed, instead of the pastor being blamed, the recipient is blamed for not having ‘enough faith’ in God. In other words, the recipient is used as a scapegoat in order to spare the pastor’s reputation. A good fact to know about faith healers, is they faithfully heal people with unseen ailments, such as a headache or a sore hand etc., but they are good at ignoring the diseased and disabled.


The greatest downfall to this faith healing practice is seen in individuals stricken with illness, coming to these events with the hope to be cured. People who attend these churches are indoctrinated with the theology that they need to exercise their faith in mannerisms such as denying medical treatment or speaking good-fortunes over their circumstances. Sadly, congregants who devote themselves to this doctrine may abstain themselves from necessary medical treatment, which will consequently lead to their demise. 


What is being done about the Prosperity Gospel?


On one hand, the Prosperity Gospel is being endorsed, and on the other, it is being exposed. Due to the leverage the Prosperity theology has on the majority of the world, the movement encounters a lot of encouragement. Churches are recommending material from Prosperity-based pastors to help congregant’s in their ‘spiritual growth’. If you search a sermon on the internet, you will most likely click on a Prosperity induced sermon. This gospel is still spreading, and though there is a fair amount of anti-prosperity-theology posts on the internet, people are too busy, watching Joel Osteen sermons, to read them.


So how do we stop this doctrine from furthering?


• Approach the issue kindly: 

No one needs to call out the prosperity gospel in a ‘fire-and-brimstone’, ‘repent or burn in hell’ or bible-bashing way. Don’t be religious, just be real about it.


• Inform people about it: 

Do your research, get informed, and use that information to challenge people in their belief of prosperity theology.


• Refine the Gospel: 

Identify the crucial differences between the original Gospel compared to the Prosperity Gospel, and then retract the Prosperity theology out of churches.  


Written by Stacey Collier


REFERENCES:

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died

[2] New Thought is a mental-healing movement based on metaphysics and the idea that one’s spirit is more powerful than matter, and therefore one can mentally alter the physical world around them. It is very similar to certain New Age beliefs and practices

[3] Pentecostalism is a sect of Christianity which emphasises the gifts related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and then publically demonstrating all of these gifts, which include healing, exorcism, speaking in tongues, and prophesy. 

[4] https://www.gafcon.org/resources/the-prosperity-gospel-its-concise-theology-challenges-and-opportunities

[5] https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/8-richest-pastors-in-america.aspx?p=2

[6] https://www.insideedition.com/investigation-shows-televangelists-living-lavish-lifestyles-52662

[7] https://www.christiantoday.com/article/kenneth-copeland-claims-god-healed-rusty-private-jet-after-he-prayed-over-it/130232.htm

[8] https://books.google.com.au/books?id=8QH_x3EjE-EC&amp 

[9] Similar to, but not as extreme as, the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) movement, which is a religious movement seen in Pentecostal churches

[10] An Emperor of Russia before 1917

[11]https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/dxmhuwj6r1/tabs_OPI_Televangelists_20150826.pdf