Conservative pundit Allie Stuckey urged her audience to understand that the prosperity gospel, the self-help self-motivation gospel, doesn’t actually save people.
The issue is personal for Stuckey, who revealed that she was once a firm believer in the so-called prosperity gospel.
In her youtube video, Stuckey discussed a recent article from the Financial Times which discussed the flaws in the prosperity gospel’s teachings.
Stuckey who consistently discusses the problems with ‘hipster Jesus,’ ‘social justice Jesus,’ and ‘prosperity gospel Jesus,’ addressed the prosperity topic in a video titled ‘Plans to Prosper?’
“It’s a pseudo-Christian message. It ensures better health, more wealth, better job prospects,” Stuckey said, explaining what the prosperity gospel is all about. “If you are faithful and think positively, and dwell on things positively, then good things will be brought to you. If you do your part, God will do His.”
Stuckey isn’t new to the prosperity gospel, as she herself was raised by parents who listened to preachers who fell under the self-help, prosperity-preaching category.
“I was raised by entrepreneurs who came from nothing and worked really hard, using some of the principles Joel Osteen preaches about,” Stuckey shared. “That is because he has some good, practical advice, that if you apply, it will probably help you in some way to achieve your goals.”
She explained that certain things that Osteen preaches are true, “God does love you, you should not dwell on your misery, you should work hard, you should be responsible with stewarding your money.”
“Here’s the problem,” she said, “as someone who believed in this at one point in her life, know that I am not coming from a place of condemnation because I believed it too. I am speaking from a place of love when I tell you this isn’t the gospel.”
“It’s a good thing that this message isn’t the message of the gospel,” she added.
Following God doesn’t mean guaranteed prosperity, but it does mean guaranteed suffering
Stuckey explained that although the prosperity gospel sounds nice and comforting, it’s not biblical. She points out that the Bible never guarantees a prosperous life in the worldly sense, but a prosperous afterlife for following Christ. In fact, the Bible bluntly guarantees the opposite, as it teaches that Christian you will face suffering and sorrow in this lifetime.
“Following God, as we read in scripture, entails suffering, self-denial, sacrifice, sorrow, discomfort, and hardship always in some way,” Stuckey emphasized.
“Following Christ does not relieve you from becoming sick or suffering loss, as we see through the bible or martyrs through history,” she added. “Worldly suffering doesn’t go away when we become Christians, it doesn’t become easier.”
One of the biggest faults with the prosperity gospel, Stuckey explained, is that it makes the gospel seem like it was made to be convenient for humans.
“Following Christ asks you to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him,” she said. “If that doesn’t sound easy or convenient to you, that’s because it was never supposed to.”
Stuckey said rather bluntly, that if the real gospel is not for you, then that means that following Jesus and Christianity isn’t for you.
“There isn’t another brand of Christianity,” she added. “To be a Christian and seek to avoid all suffering is like being a swimmer who is avoiding all water.”
Stuckey shared a list of Bible verses that emphasize the fact that Christians will suffer, a polarizing idea to those that follow the prosperity gospel.
She shared Luke 9:23, Luke 14:26, John 16:33, 2 Corinthians 12:10, Philippians 3:12, 2 Timothy 1:8, 1 Peter 3:14, 1 Peter 4:13, and Mark 8:36 to point out “we will suffer, we are guaranteed it as Christians.”
Stuckey pointed out that many prosperity preachers cling to verses like Jeremiah 29:11 where it reads “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” but that reading verses out of context can be problematic.
How do we reconcile this?
“When I see two verses that seem to contradict themselves, I look for reconciliation in scripture, I don’t ignore one verse and pick the more attractive one,” Stuckey shared.
She pointed out that the prosperity gospel tends to take short bits of scripture out of context to fit their message of self-help.
“It takes things out of context, doesn’t look at the rest of the Bible, doesn’t look at the verse in light of scripture, or at the character of God,” Stuckey said. “But that’s not what we are called to do.”
Bible verses cannot contradict one another, Stuckey pointed out. She added that to say that one verse is right, and others are wrong, is a wrongful way to look at scripture.
“I default to my misunderstanding, not Gods or the Bibles wrongness because 2 Timothy 3:16 says the word of God is sufficient for everything,” she added. “Scripture cannot contradict one another.”
She pointed out that she finds reconciliation in Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-3, and Romans 8:31-39.
“What I find then, is that suffering does occur, and the hope in our suffering isn’t that God will take it away in this life but that He is going to be present with us, faithful with us to the end, and we can look forward to eternal glory, as 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says.”
What are we promised?
The Bible tells us that God will make us prosper, but it also says that Christians are guaranteed to suffer, Stuckey shared.
“Could it be that these things that are promised to us, this prosperity that is promised to us, is eternal prosperity, rather than temporary prosperity? Could it be that God gives us eternal glory after this life, not worldly comfort?”
“The good gift that God gave us is his gift of Jesus Christ,” she added. “We will suffer because of Him, but we will live with him forever.”
This is not to say that we shouldn’t give God the glory when we receive a job promotion, but that it is not promised anywhere in the Bible.
“God does give us tangibly good things in this life, he chooses to give us spouses, children, and jobs, and even allow promotions and influence but if God never gave us a material thing, He would still be more merciful and more gracious than we ever deserve simply because He sent His son to die for us and He didn’t even need to do that.”
The only blessing of this lifetime that truly matters is exactly that: the life and death of Jesus Christ, Stuckey said.
“That’s all we need for gratitude or joy,” Stuckey said. “And talk about the power of positive thinking, dwell on that. If you want to transform your thinking, dwell on the beauty of the gospel and the grace that God has given you through Christ. That will transform everything. ”
She made sure to note that wealth is not inherently bad, nor is money, but the love of money is. When preachers start sharing prosperity themed messages, they are often preaching a message that teaches congregants to worship wealth.
“The prosperity gospel isn’t just an incomplete gospel, but it is a false gospel from hell. It is from Satan, and if you believe it you will not find Christ,” Stuckey said.
“My heart breaks for the hundreds of thousands of people that believe if they pray a little bit harder, or they’re just a little more faithful, or they do a little bit more, God will do His part,” she said. “You are missing out on so much freedom.”
The good news, she explained, is that we get to share in the glory of God eternally because He sent His son to suffer for us.