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Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Prosperity Gospel: A Scam and a Satanic Deception – Insights from a Catholic Priest

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A Catholic priest in Nigeria, John Oluoma, has said that the prosperity gospel is a scam and satanic and that Christians should discountenance it.

Mr Oluoma, otherwise known as Fada Oluoma, stated this in a Facebook post on Saturday where he rhetorically asked why the Nigerian economy, for instance, has continued to deteriorate “despite all the crossover and January prayers, decrees and prophecies”.

“What’s the essence of doing all these spiritual exercises if they are not working?” said Mr Oluoma whose bio on Facebook says he is a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with prayers, fasting, prophecies and decrees,” he said. “There could be everything wrong with the motive and kind of prayers, fasting, prophecies and decrees.”

What’s prosperity gospel?

Encyclopaedia Britannica describes the prosperity gospel as “the teaching that faith—expressed through positive thoughts, positive declarations, and donations to the church—draws health, wealth, and happiness into believers’ lives.

“It is also referred to as the ‘health and wealth gospel’ or ‘name it and claim it.’

“Central to this teaching are the beliefs that salvation through Jesus Christ includes liberation from not only death and eternal damnation but also poverty, sickness, and other ills. Adherents believe that God wants believers to be richly blessed in this life and that physical well-being and material riches are always God’s will for the faithful. Illness and poverty are seen as curses that, through atonement, can be broken with faith in Jesus,” it added.

Prosperity gospel is a global movement common among Protestant Christianity. It began in the early 20th century and has continued to gain ground in different parts of the world.

Globally, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, and Kenneth Hagin are among the well-known prosperity preachers.

 

Bishop David Oyedepo preaching

David Oyedepo, a Nigerian cleric and bishop of Living Faith Church, also known as Winners’ Chapel, is among the globally recognised prosperity preachers.

Another Nigerian cleric, Matthew Ashimolowo, the senior pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre, London, is also top on the list of prosperity preachers in the world.

‘Israel’s wealth not from prayers’

Mr Oluoma, the Catholic priest, said Israel which Christians all over the world refer to as the Holy Land “never prospered economically at any point by prayers, prophecies and decrees”.

He said, “The peak of Israel’s economic prosperity in the Old Testament period was the monarchy, it’s the 8th Century BC. They were so prosperous that they became immoral, and that’s the period of the rise of prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah Elisha, Amos and the rest. God raised prophets to warn them of the danger of materialism, not to make them prosperous.”

Continuing, the Catholic priest said, “How this generation of Nigerian Christians bought the gospel of prosperity and cling tightly to it despite the contradictory evidence should be the most sophisticated type of delusion for study.

“Prosperity gospel and its overt and subtle corollaries is a hoax, a scam and a satanic idea.”

Mr Oluoma quoted some lines from the Beatitudes – “Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20)” – and a verse from the Bible, Mark 10:21-25, where Jesus talked about how difficult it could be for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Apparently, referring to Jesus, he said, “How could the man who said all these and lived by them make you wealthy because someone else made such prayer and decrees in his name?

“He never made any of his followers financially prosperous. Those like Mathew who were wealthy became poor by following him. Then someone tells you today that by uttering decrees and prayers in his name you will become financially prosperous and the Naira will become equal to a dollar, and you believe? You are just delusional and ignorant.”

The priest said his comment does not mean that Nigerians should stop praying.

“Should we stop praying? Nope, the effects of the genuine prayers and fasts and other pieties we do are showing. The fact that the majority are still hard working and not resorting to banditry, armed robbery, prostitution and other destructive vices to make a living despite the hardship is a grace from those prayers.

“The fact that the majority still believe in God, love God and people, and spread love and hope in the midst of the economic woes are the effects of the genuine prayers and pieties offered here.

“Genuine prayers and pieties are working, only the useless ones are not. Fake and false prophecies do not work, have never worked and will never work,” he added.

‘It’s hypocrisy to attack prosperity gospel’

Joseph Prince, a 60-year-old Singaporean evangelist and the senior pastor, New Creation Church in Singapore, is among the global faces of the prosperity gospel.

Mr Prince, in 2021, defended the prosperity gospel. He said those who were attacking it were just being hypocritical.

“The wrong teachings of prosperity that produce materialism, greed, avarice, we are all against that. But those that are against prosperity as a whole are negating the scripture…

“There’s some hypocrisy here because many of them are prospering. They have more than one car, they live in expensive homes, they send their children to the best schools, and they want their children to succeed. But all the while they are coming against prosperity. So, the question I want to ask is who do they give credit to for their own success and prosperity? To themselves, they are smart? No, God wants to get all the glory,” he said.

Repentant prosperity preacher

A repentant prosperity preacher in Nigeria, Abel Damina, said many of his fellow Nigerian pastors have constantly attacked him for preaching that pastors were using prosperity messages to extort.

Pastor Abel Damina

“My problem began with organised religion the moment I said there’s nothing like seed and tapping by giving money. All hell broke loose – how can Dr Damina say you don’t need to give money to be blessed, you don’t need to give to God for God to multiply your money? How can Dr Damina be attacking our business empire? How can he be driving our customers away?

“We have been feeding on the ignorance of gullible Christians,” Mr Damina, who is the pastor of the Uyo-based Power City International, said in a video clip posted on Facebook.

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