You won’t find too many folk supporting the most strident form of prosperity gospel.
However there’s a softer, less strident form which can find its way into gospel affirming churches.
You’ll hear Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13 a lot more often than John 3:16 and Matthew 6:33.
It’s not that the gospel is denied.
It’s that it is assumed, and in its place practical messages are preached that never explicitly ground their lessons explicitly in the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection.
(A post like this won’t usually find itself linked to on our town’s Citywide Church Facebook page.)
From the 9Marks blog:
While evangelicals have traditionally decried the prosperity gospel in its “hard” form, there is a softer form of this teaching that is all too common among us. Often undetected by Bible-believing Christians, it assumes the gospel and leads its adherents to focus on things like financial planning, diet and exercise, and strategies for self-improvement. In contrast to the hard prosperity gospel, which offers miraculous and immediate health and wealth, this softer, subtler variety challenges believers to break through to the blessed life by means of the latest pastor-prescribed technique.
Here are some tell-tale marks of soft prosperity gospel.
1. Soft prosperity elevates “blessings” [even ‘prospering’] over the blessed God.
2. Soft prosperity detaches verses from the redemptive framework of the Bible.
3. Soft prosperity diminishes the curse that Christ bore and the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
4. Soft prosperity relies on pastor-prescribed therapeutic techniques.
5. Soft prosperity largely addresses first-world, middle-class problems.
(Read more explanation at the 9Marks blog post by David Schrock.
While never being so crass as to claim Jesus died and rose again simply so local businesses could have a healthier bottom line, soft prosperity will emphasise better business results as the answer to our prayers instead of growth in more Christ-like character in adverse circumstances.
We need a biblical gospel which exhorts people to know that Jesus died and rose again to make them a transformed person, not just comfortably well off.