American Gospel

Critics of the so-called prosperity gospel refer to it as the uniquely “American gospel,” both of which are pejorative labels.

 

The gospel proclaimed in America might well be different from the way it is taught in other parts of the world. This country was established by our Puritan fathers, who considered America to be the New Jerusalem, or the New Israel, the City on a Hill, that was to be the light of the world. In those days America was known as the New World. She was “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.”

Through the 19th Century the prevailing view of the American church was Manifest Destiny, that Christian Americans were destined by God to conquer the wilderness from sea to shining sea. The idea was that savage America would be replaced with a Christian Civilization.

We had left aristocratic Europe behind where there was not the opportunity of upward mobility. Americans believed that if one is industrious, takes initiative and is able to live a life of independence from governmental economic controls, anyone can prosper by “pulling himself up with his own bootstraps.” It was axiomatic that “the Lord helps those who help themselves.” This vision was known as the American Dream. Americans believed that it was a God given right to pursue happiness (property and success).

The Protestant work ethic teaches that it is God’s will that men should work hard, make a profit, save, and be productive and successful. The doctrine of American exceptionalism was widely believed and promoted by all political parties, except for the socialists and communists. It should be noted that America was and remains an exception compared to the nations of the world, so we should have an Exceptional Gospel.

“The New Israel, Manifest Destiny, Christian Civilization, the American Dream, American Exceptionalism and the Protestant Ethic are all tied in with the true gospel of Jesus Christ, which he called the Kingdom of God or Heaven, when and where the Church, God’s people, rule and reign with Christ.

Thankfully, we are not living under the tyranny of the Roman Empire or an Islamic State governed by Sharia Law or the despotism and atheism of the former Soviet Union. Americans are a free people.

Unfortunately, some Christians think that if we are really spiritual that we should be a persecuted minority and not wealthy and healthy. Consequently, churches are often weak and sickly. Many ministers have the audacity to even call the church a hospital for the wounded. No, the church is the Army of God! We are not just conquerors; we are more than conquerors over the world, the flesh and the devil, who would have us to be poor and sickly.

So, call me a promoter of the prosperity gospel or a teacher of the American Gospel if you like. I am not ashamed of this gospel and neither is Joel Osteen, nor was Jeremiah of old, who wanted the people to prosper even in Babylonian captivity 29:11: “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.”

 

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