(Kong Hee's prosperity preaching and blatant distortion of biblical teaching are well documented in Kong Hee said what? See here and here also.)
For a detailed biblical critique of properity gospel as preached by the influencial Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas (where Joseph Prince, senior pastor of New Creation Church, another Singapore megachurch, preached in 2011 [youtube]), watch the following film:
A Christian position on Prosperity Gospel
From the Lausanne Theology Working Group, Africa chapter at its consultations in Akropong, Ghana, 8-9 October, 2008 and 1-4 September 2009 (source)
NOTE: This is a statement, offered as a discussion starter for further reflection (theological, ethical, pastoral and missiological, socio-political and economic) on the phenomenal rise of prosperity teaching around the world at large and Africa in particular.
We define prosperity gospel as the teaching that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the "sowing of seeds" through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings. We recognize that prosperity teaching is a phenomenon that cuts across denominational barriers. Prosperity teaching can be found in varying degrees in mainstream Protestant, Pentecostal as well as Charismatic Churches. It is the phenomenon of prosperity teaching that is being addressed here not any particular denomination or tradition.
- It vastly enriches those who preach it, but leaves multitudes no better off than before, with the added burden of disappointed hopes.
- While emphasizing various alleged spiritual or demonic causes of poverty, it gives little or no attention to those causes that are economic and political, including injustice, exploitation, unfair international trade practices, etc.
- It thus tends to victimize the poor by making them feel that their poverty is their own fault (which the Bible does not do), while failing to address and denounce those whose greed inflicts poverty on others (which the Bible does repeatedly).
- Some prosperity teaching is not really about helping the poor at all, and provides no sustainable answer to the real causes of poverty.
- Flamboyant and excessive wealth and extravagant lifestyles.
- Unethical and manipulative techniques.
- Constant emphasis on money, as if it were a supreme good—which is mammon.
- Replacing the traditional call to repentance and faith with a call to give money.
- Covetousness which is idolatry.
- Living and behaving in ways that are utterly inconsistent with either the example of Jesus or the pattern of discipleship that he taught.
- Ignoring or contradicting the strong New Testament teaching on the dangers of wealth and the idolatrous sin of greed.
- Failure to preach the word of God in a way that feeds the flock of Christ.
- Failure to preach the whole gospel message of sin, repentance, faith and eternal hope.
- Failure to preach the whole counsel of God, but replacing it with what people want to hear.
- Replacing time for evangelism with fund raising events and appeals.
Biblical teaching on Prosperity
What pity is it to see them so eager for prosperity, and so regardless of the proper use and benefit of it! O be not like the bee that is drowned in her own honey! And do not so greedily desire a greater burden than you can bear; and to have more to answer for, when you have been so unfaithful in a little. And if you believe Christ, who tells you how difficult it is for rich men to enter heaven, and how few of them are saved, don’t long for danger, and don’t complain if you don’t have these exceeding difficulties to overcome. You would be afraid to dwell in that air where few men escape infection; or to feed on that diet that most are killed by.
-- Richard Baxter (1615-1691), The Fool’s Prosperity
US senator investigated finances of Prosperity Gospel preachers
In 2007, US Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, opened a probe into the finances of six televangelists who preach a "prosperity gospel". The probe investigated reports of lavish lifestyles by televangelists, including fleets of Rolls Royces, palatial mansions, private jets and other expensive items purportedly paid for by television viewers who donated in response to the ministries' encouragement of offerings. The six that were investigated are:
By the December 6, 2007 deadline, only three of the ministries had shown compliance with the Finance Committee's request. On March 11, 2008, Grassley and Finance Chairman Max Baucus sent follow-up letters to Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Eddie Long, explaining that the Senate reserved the right to investigate the finances of their organizations under federal tax laws.
Responses from these Ministers included Constitutional arguments about Congressional power to oversee such matters. They claim that only the IRS (Inland Revenue Service) has the authority to request such information, and should the IRS request it or pursue an investigation, the ministries involved would gladly comply.
On 6 January 2011 Senator Grassley released his review of the six ministries' response to his inquiry. Joyce Meyer Ministries and Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church provided complete answers to all questions. The other four ministries either did not provide any information or provided incomplete information.
“The challenge is to encourage good governance and best practices and so preserve confidence in the tax-exempt sector without imposing regulations that inhibit religious freedom or are functionally ineffective,” Grassley said.
On prosperity gospel preachers and churches:
Believers Invest in the Gospel of Getting Rich, New York Times, Aug 15, 2009 (here)
The following is an in-depth look at the impact of prosperity gospel on American society and economy:
Did Christianity Cause the Crash?
by Hanna Rosin
Narratives of how “God blessed me with my first house despite my credit” were common … Sermons declaring “It’s your season of overflow” supplanted messages of economic sobriety and disinterested sacrifice. Yet as folks were testifying about “what God can do,” little attention was paid to a predatory subprime-mortgage industry, relaxed credit standards, or the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM.