How To Tell if it’s a Prosperity Gospel Church

Seventy-one percent of American prosperity megachurches use the image of the senior pastor as the primary advertisement on the church’s homepage.

The first place to look is in the name of the church since most churches have names that reflect their ethos. Words like “victory,” “abundant,” or “conquerors” provide what may be key information. Beyond the name, look at the language used either in the church’s material or in its services. In different ways these churches will emphasize their core conviction that faith is the instrument through which believers attain their desires.

 

The prosperity gospel is a diverse, popular, and worldwide movement that understands faith to be the instrument through which Christians can attain physical health, material riches, and divine favor. There are countless thousands of these churches around the world with various levels of adherence to the key tenets of the wider movement, yet they rarely advertise themselves as prosperity gospel churches. So how can we know if a church is part of this movement? In Kate Bowler’s book Blessed, she provides some helpful guidance.

Look for Keywords. There are certain keywords that may demonstrate an association with the prosperity gospel. The first place to look is in the name of the church since most churches have names that reflect their ethos. Words like “victory,” “abundant,” or “conquerors” provide what may be key information. Beyond the name, look at the language used either in the church’s material or in its services. In different ways these churches will emphasize their core conviction that faith is the instrument through which believers attain their desires. This leads to language like, “releasing your faith,” “speaking your faith,” or “believing God for” things.

Look for Publications. These churches will probably provide or promote publications associated with other prosperity gospel teachers or organizations. Most notably, it will likely offer books by some of its leading personalities, so look for a bookstore or recommended reading list and see if it contains titles by Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Benny Hinn, or T.D. Jakes. If it does, that may well indicate an alignment.

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