Buddhism teaching

Southern Baptists Denounce Prosperity Gospel as ‘False Teaching’

SBC annual meeting
Attendees walk past the SBC annual meeting in Anaheim, California on June 14, 2022. |

Southern Baptists on Tuesday passed a resolution rejecting the prosperity gospel, calling it false teaching and a distortion of Scripture, especially regarding the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Gathering in Anaheim, Calif., this week for the denomination’s annual meeting, the messengers passed Resolution 2, which defines the prosperity gospel as the belief that “the sacrificial and atoning death of Jesus grants believers health, wealth and the elimination of disease and poverty”.

The resolution states that this theology represents a distortion of “biblical generosity”, exploits the vulnerable and blames the sick for their lack of faith while corrupting a biblical understanding of suffering.

The resolution affirms that Christians must “beware of false teachings, beware of
false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing but are inwardly hungry
wolves, and to keep the Scripture intact.”

Speaking from the stage during the debate on the resolutions, JT English, pastor of Storyline Church in Arvada, Colorado, said the convention has never officially spoken on the matter.

“We have never spoken clearly as a prosperity gospel body in the form of a resolution,” English said.

A Louisiana pastor motioned to change the wording of the definition of “prosperity gospel,” to remove “and sickness and poverty” and add “suffering, sickness, and poverty “, since the removal of suffering is linked to the prosperity gospel. The amended wording was accepted and considered a useful clarification. The amendment was approved with unanimous consent.

An amendment was also proposed by the hall to add “and New Age beliefs and practices” to every section denouncing the prosperity gospel as it relates to the idea that God “wants us to be happy, healthy and rich on this earth”. Critics argue that the idea employs pagan ideology to see these things come to life.

“They come from African, pagan, voodoo practices,” said the messenger proposing the amendment, describing New Age teachings as the “fuel” on which the prosperity gospel operates.

In response, English said that while it is important to address New Age ideas as a convention, they felt it was important to speak distinctly only of the prosperity gospel in this resolution. The amendment to add New Age language was defeated.

The resolution condemning the prosperity gospel was passed with overwhelming support from the messengers.

The resolution resolves that “God and God alone is our greatest good and our supreme treasure, and not health, wealth, or the removal of disease” and that “our confidence is in our eternal inheritance acquired through the work of Christ and is guaranteed by the inward work of the Holy Spirit. »

Separate resolutions affirming the importance of the mission field in rural America and calling for an end to the war in Ukraine were also passed by messengers on Tuesday.

The annual meeting of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States ends on Wednesday.

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