They’re big, bold and beautiful—or at least wearing beautifully tailored suits. Prosperity preachers, selling you the finest in positive attitudes, living your dreams and making every day a Friday.
Not too long ago, my wife was feeling a bit down, and a super-nice lady whose kids go to the same school as our daughter gave her some books to encourage her. Funnily enough, they all happened to be prosperity theology books (which has led to some entertaining and positive discussion around the house).
Every so often we all stumble into prosperity theology, usually unwittingly. While occasionally you’ll get a nugget of helpful truth (in the same way that you’ll find some helpful things in your average self-help book), there’s a lot of goofiness which can make for a fun night of “Joel Osteen or Fortune Cookie.” So, how do you know if you’re reading a book written by a prosperity preacher? Here are seven signs:
1. A bright shiny smile that looks like it belongs on a poster for a dentist office. For example:
The only exception? TD Jakes, but that’s only because he seems incapable of smiling in a photograph (although he does smirk).
2. The title makes it clear someone is really important—and that someone is you.
God is Not Mad at You, Reposition Yourself, Your Best Life Now, Become a Better You, It’s Your Time… I’m noticing a trend here. Someone’s a pretty big deal, and apparently that someone is me.
I feel so much better now.
3. It’s advice that could easily be confused with the message from a fortune cookie. Taste the highly processed encouragement:
“You may think there is a lot wrong with you, but there is also a lot right with you.”1
“Unhappiness does not come from the way things are, but from the difference between how things are and how we think they should be”2
“Never make a permanent decision about a temporary situation.”3
“Sometimes you can tell what something is by what is isn’t.”4
I have no idea what that last one even means.
4. There’s a proverb on the cover. Often something like Proverbs 10:22, “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it”—but you’re not likely to find Proverbs 18:11, “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.”
5. Someone’s caps lock got stuck. For example:
God has said to us, just as surely as He said to Isaac, “I WILL PERFORM in your life THE BLESSING of Abraham. I heal you! I prosper you! I create the conditions of Eden around you, and you will carry THE BLESSING to people everywhere you go!”5
I’m pretty sure Kenneth Copeland needs a new keyboard, he may have broken his in his excitement, what do you think? Also, what does that even mean?
6. It may or may not be trying to cast wicked spells. Remember, “It’s our faith that activates the power of God.”6
7. Seven is always the magic number. You can learn the seven steps to living your full potential, the seven keys to improving your life every day, and how to be happier seven days a week. Seven really is the magic number, isn’t it?
So there you have it. The seven signs you’re reading a book by a prosperity preacher. Wait—seven signs??