I have previously introduced Kate Bowler’s book: Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. I’ve done so because in Texas, this is the soil in which much of our ministry is tilled. What is outside of the scope of Bowler’s book is the damage that this errant teaching does to countless numbers of people.
I have no beef with the rank-and-file Christians who are a part of this faith tradition. Many, if not most, are sincere believers who love God with all their heart and who trust in Jesus Christ alone for their redemption. Unfortunately, these people are being fleeced by unscrupulous shepherds, who seek their own gain.
The paradigm for the life of the Christian is the life of Christ. As those who are “in Christ,” our lives follow in his steps. As he first suffered and entered into glory, so must we.
By bringing the blessings of the new heavens and the new earth down to this world, this paradigm is eradicated. The expectation of healing from all diseases and injuries is one that people are especially vulnerable to.
My daughter, who is now in graduate school, contracted a chronic pain condition in her teens. Well-meaning people told her that she could “pray it away,” and that if she had enough faith, she would be healed. This was an especially dark time in her life. It was a time when she almost lost her faith, because of these messages that she was getting. Thankfully, the Lord preserved her. But even receiving this teaching indirectly did much damage. She is now able to manage her condition well, but it appears that this is a condition that she will always struggle with. God’s calling appears to be for her to walk with him, and draw near to him in pain and suffering.
Also, I has a co-worker who was part of this tradition. Her husband was injured on the job and permanently disabled. She prayed, she fasted, she went to the “healers,” and he never got well. Her story is darker than my daughter’s. Instead of living on a good income, she was substitute teaching, cleaning houses, and doing whatever she could to bring in enough money to cover some of the bills. She lost hope. Being damaged by this teaching, she set aside her faith and divorced her husband because he was “holding her back.”
This is not to say that Christians should not pray for healing. However, perfect healing only happens in the life to come. In this world, we shall have tribulation. But our Lord tells us, “be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”