False Gospel of Job’s Friends

Major space is taken in the Book of Job with the record of speeches by Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, rebuking and challenging Job, explaining the definitive cause of all his troubles and calling him to repentance. In the end, when God speaks, it is these three friends who are rebuked by God, I am angry with you…because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Job 42:7

What did Job’s friends get wrong?

Their message was essentially a simplistic cause/result theme.  Sin leads to suffering, which is a general truth principle, but leads to a false conclusion that therefore any suffering of an individual, whether it be sickness or poverty or any other lack, can be traced back to specific sin causation or anemic faith by the sufferer. Failure to be restored to health and prosperity is seen as a failure to recognize your sin and exercise adequate faith.

This false conclusion is the foundation behind the most widespread false teaching affecting Christians today, a great deception that leads to false hopes, disillusionment and shame on the church. It is known by various names, Word of Faith, Positive Confession, the Gospel of Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It and other monikers.

Major tenets of the health and prosperity gospel include:

God wants you to be healthy.
God wants you to be rich.
Healing and Prosperity are provided in the atonement of Christ and can be claimed now.
You can positively confess in faith what isn’t true and God is obligated to give it to you.

This usually involves health and wealth, not a focus on spiritual fruit.
if you fail to get what you want and ask for, it is your faith that is faulty.

This is not the Gospel.

It is a false Gospel, filled with heretical teaching and leading millions astray with false hopes.
It contradicts the New Testament picture of suffering that believers should expect.
It ignores the delayed reward theme of the New Testament and the longing for heaven, not expecting all the good things of earth right now.

And it has made its most popular purveyers very rich. Sowing the seed of faith is a popular teaching that practically involves sending money to the preacher with the guarantee that you will get more in return.  The more you give, the more you get.

Gullible listeners, driven by their own greed, have provided mansions and business jets for their preacher heroes while they keep believing their day is coming soon. Then, faith destroying disillusionment sets in. This teaching leads people, not to Christ, but to hell.

Who are these people who teach such things?  It goes back to E. W. Kenyon and Kenneth Hagin and popularized by Oral Roberts, Robert Tilton, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn, Frederick Price, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar- most of the lineup on Trinity Broadcasting Network. Not as obvious but from the same vein are T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen.

For an example and further study, I commend the story of Sean Demars, The “Gospel” that Almost Killed Me and an analysis by David Jones, Errors of the Prosperity Gospel.

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