The Middle Gospel
The “prosperity gospel” is a distorted message. Most people in the church, even those who preach shades of prosperity, would agree with that. The promise that you’ll be able to overcome every obstacle in life and live in perfect health and wealth if you really believe in Jesus is simply not biblical. That’s why there are so many warnings against this distorted gospel. God does not offer us a perfect environment in this age.
But the reaction to the prosperity gospel often creates a distorted message too. Like pendulums determined to follow our arcs, we go all the way to the other side and suggest that God will never make you healthy or wealthy, that any hint of blessing is actually a curse, that there is nothing in this age to enjoy because it all comes later. “This age is for suffering,” we are told, whether directly or by implication. And it becomes our goal to endure rather than to celebrate God’s goodness.
In rejecting the prosperity gospel, don’t also make the mistake of rejecting the idea that God blesses his children. The gospel doesn’t promise we will experience no hardship in our lives, but neither does it promise pure hardship with nothing else added. God really does give us power to overcome. He really does bestow good gifts (James 1:17)—ones you’ll actually like. We really can experience the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13). He wants us to prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 2). To suggest otherwise is to deny him the enjoyment of blessing his children. Accept the goodness of his heart and receive it for yourself. It makes the gospel really good news.