Joel Osteen and The Prosperity Gospel

by Gary Gilley

The New Age book and video by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret, which gained popularity recently due to Oprah Winfrey’s strong promotion, teaches that we can “create [our] own happiness through the law of attraction.”  Whether it is cash, health, prosperity or happiness, all can be ours if we will just learn to use “the secret.”  Byrne tells us, “Disease cannot live in a body that is in a healthy emotional state.” But be warned: “If you have a disease and you are focusing on it and talking to people about it, you are going to create more disease cells.”[1]

Such rhetoric should sound familiar to anyone even faintly aware of the Word of Faith Movement, often termed “the prosperity gospel.”  This group has been infiltrating evangelicalism for decades and is now the fastest growing segment of Christianity in the world.  Some have estimated that up to 90 percent of those claiming to be Christians in Africa are of the prosperity gospel variety.

Well-known personalities within the movement include Kenneth Hagin (deceased), Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton, Paul Yonggi Cho, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Frederick Price, John Avanzini, Charles Capps, Jerry Savelle, Morris Cerullo, Joyce Meyer and Paul and Jan Crouch.

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http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/22-contemporary-issues/620-joel-osteen-and-the-prosperity-gospel