The essence of the movement is this: God promises that if you have positive faith and truly believe AND speak that faith with your mouth in positive affirmations (e.g., “God is my source of healing and prosperity; I am well and rich”) God is obligated to heal you and give you financial blessings beyond your wildest dreams. It isn’t always stated that baldly, but that’s the essence of it–especially as it is HEARD by its many adherents...
...the Word-Faith “prosperity gospel” is little more than New Thought with a Charismatic veneer thrown over it. It is heresy because it makes God into a cosmic slot machine and turns salvation into a self-centered acquisition of physical blessings. It is the perfect example of “culture religion.” The cross plays almost no role in it whatsoever–except that (according to some of its leading preachers) Jesus died spiritually before he died physically (a very gnostic idea) so that he died a mere man abandoned by his divinity. He died a “sin slave to Satan.” He descended into hell to exercise his power of faith to conquer sin, sickness and death and rose from death by the power of that faith. (I heard this all the time from students who transferred to ORU from a leading Word-Faith Bible institute across town.)
Amen! Good preaching! True Christianity is about death to self—not exultation of self. Anything that exalts self is idolatry before God.