“Gaining the World, Losing the Soul: How the prosperity gospel distorts the good news” is a book written by three authors: Maura M, Mbugua K and Piper J.
The authors aim to show the harm prosperity gospel has had on the true gospel; how it has robbed, distorted, corrupted, sugarcoated and misinterpreted the true meaning of the gospel. It has reduced God to the level of a mere sugar daddy.
The introduction defines the prosperity gospel saying that it refers to the preaching that declares that Christ came to offer us salvation from sickness, poverty and all earthly sufferings and not “merely” salvation. The prosperity gospel carries with it four distortions that are distantly different from the true gospel: it offers a smaller God, it distorts man’s greatest need, empties the gospel of its power and it robs God of his glory.
Maura gives a comparison between the true and false gospel. He uses the example of Cain and Seth. Cain chose to focus on false earthly prosperity and Seth focused on calling on the Lord and looked to an eternal and heavenly city. True prosperity is enjoyed by those who focus on God. Jesus said that it is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is because the prosperity gospel encourages us to think that the definition of well being and God’s blessing is wealth and it lures the wealthy into a sense of complacency. It leads to an illusion of self sufficiency. Mbugua states that the prosperity gospel comes about because of misinterpretation of the bible. Prosperity preachers decide what Scripture means to their merit.
Mbugua outlines the true meaning of the true gospel. Firstly that the true gospel is the gospel life of Christ’s life on earth which is identified by suffering. Just as he suffered so his followers will suffer for his sake. The books shows that despite the suffering and trial of sharing the true gospel we have the hope of the blessings of the true gospel – eternity through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The mostly targeted audience as stated by Mbugua in the introduction part is: the preachers of the prosperity gospel and those that have fallen prey of it. The book also appeals to all Christians who know the true gospel to be able to boldly speak against false teachings.
The book has helped me to clearly see that true prosperity is enjoyed by those whose focus is God and that true prosperity is rejoicing in my sufferings since the supremacy of Christ is manifested in my suffering. Material things are not bad but if we are living for material prosperity then we are building our houses on sand. Christ suffered and if the master suffered, I as a servant should expect nothing less.
The gospel is about God’s love for us and the heart of the gospel is Christ himself – his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins. To understand the cross is to understand the true gospel. True prosperity is preaching the crucified Christ. Prosperity preaching leads people away from Christ but there is hope as Jesus tells the wealthy Laodicea Church in Revelation. Repentance is the only hope left. Christ came for all!
This book has really helped me a lot in clearly differentiating the true gospel from the false gospel. I highly recommend this book to every believer and everyone seeking to know the truth in a time when there are so many preachers preaching so many things.
This book review has been written by Alice Mutheu, a January apprentice serving in Karen Community Church helping with children’s ministry.