God loves you (the TV evangelist shouts to his listening audience). He loves you and he wills for you to enjoy perfect health.
And he wants you rich. After all, the cattle on a thousand hills belong to him. Would an earthly millionaire make his own children eat poor food, wear shabby clothes, and ride in a broken-down family car? Of course not! Neither will your heavenly Father give you anything but the very best.
What is the desire of your heart? Name it, claim it by faith, and it is yours! Your heavenly Father has promised it. It’s right there in the Bible.
But is it? Jesus Christ said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” And the autobiography of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11–12 reads like the very antithesis of the gospel of health and wealth: “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.… I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.… [T]here was given me a thorn in my flesh.… Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
No doubt many who preach the unbiblical gospel of health and wealth are well meaning. They sincerely, though mistakenly, believe this to be an important part of the “full gospel.”
But the danger of this perverted gospel of health and wealth is that it makes false promises. These in turn lead to unscriptural desires for wealth and material prosperity, to false hopes for perfect physical health, and in the end to false guilt and despair.1
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