Job 21:7…”Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?” Job comes closer to the question in dispute. This was whether outward prosperity is a mark of the true church, and the true members of it, so that ruin of a man’s prosperity proves him a hypocrite. Job’s friends believed this foolishly, but he rebuked them. Sadly, this heresy is very popular today. In fact, the prosperity gospel is believed by 46% of professing Christians in the U.S. according to a recent book by Southeastern Seminary professors David Jones and Russell Woodbridge. The book, Health, Wealth and Happiness, is very helpful in tracing the origins of the prosperity gospel back to the New Thought movement of the late 1800s, which was clearly not biblical or even remotely Christian. Jones and Woodbridge also point out the commonly misinterpreted verses and ideas used by prosperity gospel preachers to twist scripture out of context.
Here is an excerpt:
A recent survey found that in the United States, 46 percent of self-proclaimed Christians agree with the idea that God will grant material riches to all believers who have enough faith. Why is this so? The prosperity gospel has an appealing but fatal message: accept God and He will bless you– because you deserve it. (Health, Wealth and Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? by David W. Jones and Russell S. Woodbridge, Kregel Publications, 2011, page 15)