by Dr. Augustine Thomas, OSB
Now we turn our attention to the modern connection between the occult and the Prosperity Gospel. There is a clear tie between these two religious practices, let the reader take note. In his book A Different Gospel D.R. McConnell (himself a charismatic) fully documents the modern origins of the movement and it is highly recommended reading.
There are two streams:
The first stream begins with Phineas Quimby, who taught “Positive Thought” at the Boston School of Oratory. He mixed different kinds of religion, metaphysics and philosophy. He also advocated the acceptance of witchcraft. He believed in the power of words. He taught that you have the power to speak things into existence or to change reality. He supposedly healed Mary Baker Eddy (founder of the Christian Science Cult), who was his disciple. E.W. Kenyon, who was the founder of the Prosperity Gospel, was also a disciple of his teachings at that time and he fully studied and embraced the teachings of Christian Science and the Unity School of Christianity (now Unity Church) cults. They are all simply the old Gnosticism.
Unity Church teaches reincarnation, denies the reality of material matter, denies the Trinity, says the Holy Spirit is an energy and not a person, denies the deity of Jesus. The founder Charles Fillmore claimed he was the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul.
Kenyon attended the Unitarian cult church, which denies the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, and the Atonement. He also enrolled in former Unitarian minister Charles Emerson’s school, Emerson College, which was founded to specifically teach the occult and this New Thought.
Kenyon taught that God imparts his essence to us. If we have God’s essence, we are God in the same sense as the God the Father.
The second stream was Ralph Waldo Emerson who was also in the same area, had enormous influence upon his disciples, E.W. Kenyon, Mary Baker Eddy, and her disciples Charles and Myrtle Fillmore (Unity School of Christianity cult).
Unity “evangelizes” by distributing its devotional Daily Word and other works to gradually take over existing churches by taking over the beliefs of the members. Prosperity Gospel TV preachers do exactly the same thing to insure a continual money flow.
Emerson was simply a product of the old heresies. E.W. Kenyon was greatly influenced by him and wrote a series of books on theology espousing this New Thought and brought it into the Baptist Church, where it was completely rejected as being heresy.
An Assemblies of God minister named Kenneth Hagin (who was forced to leave the Baptist Church because of his heresies) discovered Kenyon’s books and took each separate chapter and published them as a separate book in his own name. He stole Kenyon’s books word for word, comma for comma, full-stop for full-stop (you can still get them and see).
He added wild stories of going to heaven and God killing those that did not agree with him. To speak against him was to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. He did these things to use fear to manipulate his audience.
He began this new teaching in order to gain money and fame. It is from here, that Kenneth Copeland, Fredrick KC Price, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, and the rest of the Prosperity Gospel teachers learned their heresies and it is why there is so much similarity between the Prosperity Gospel and the teachings of occult religions.
Terrace Neuman, New Testament Professor at Southeastern University of the Assemblies of God, said: “An extremely important point needs to be stated here: The doctrines of correct thinking and believing, accompanied by positive confession, with the result of calling sickness a symptom (denial of reality supported by a Gnostic dualism) are not found in Christian writings until after New Thought and its offsprings had begun to develop them. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to state that the doctrine originated and developed in these cults and was later absorbed by Christians in their quest to develop a healing ministry.” (An Analysis of the Sources of the Charismatic Teaching of ‘Positive Confession’ p. 43.)
It is easy to see that the Prosperity Gospel, from its roots to the modern era, is not consistent with biblical Christianity. In fact, it is a sound-alike religion that mimics the real religion in order to deceive as many people as possible into thinking they are putting their faith in the real Christ, when it is a false Christ they preach.
You can read Part 1 here.