Francis Chan on What’s Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel

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In this video, Francis Chan argues that the path and preaching of the prosperity gospel is different than the path and preaching of Jesus and the disciples.

Jesus was so clear when he said, “Look, if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). And he goes on to say that “No servant’s going to be greater than his master” (John 15:20). And so, there’s a sense in which you rejoice in persecution because Jesus told us that the way they treated him is people will treat us. And what’s awful about the prosperity gospel is that it promises that your life is going to be completely different. They claim that everything will be completely different from what Christ went through. Instead, you’re going to be healthy, you’re going to be wealthy, and people are going to love you. And it sets people up for failure in a lot of ways.

Peter says, “Don’t be surprised when the fiery trial comes upon you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet. 4:12). But what the prosperity gospel teaches is, “Hey, be surprised if there’s any type of trial in your life. God is our heavenly Father, he wants us to experience the best. You should be treated like kings.”

Paul also says the exact opposite when he’s talking to the Corinthians about these super apostles (1 Cor. 4:8–13). He says, “Oh, you’re already rich. Oh, you’ve all become kings and all that without us. Meanwhile we, apostles, are like the scum of the Earth. We’re like these guys condemned to die in the arena.” He goes on to contrast himself with those who were preaching a prosperity gospel.

So why is the prosperity gospel so awful? It goes against what Jesus preached, what Paul preached, and what Peter preached.