*A dangerous “egocentric gospel” that omits Jesus, neglects the cross, and instead promises health and wealth is being promoted by some of America’s most well-known preachers today, and their teachings are readily available on cable TV and in local bookstores.

That’s the conclusion of two seminary professors whose new book, “Health, Wealth & Happiness” (Kregel), critiques what is often called the prosperity or “health & wealth” gospel — the claim by some of America’s most well-known preachers that God desires all Christians to be materially wealthy and physically healthy.

The prosperity gospel is dangerous, the professors say, because it contains just enough truth to make it appear biblical but more than enough distortions to make it heretical. That, they say, has led Christians to become discouraged in their faith or angry at God, or worse, to walk away from the church for good. After all, if a preacher says that enough faith can make a sick person well, and no healing ensues, then — according to the preachers — that person’s faith is weak.

One study quoted in the book found that 50 of the 260 largest churches in America promote the prosperity gospel.

“If Christianity is supposed to be about God and His glory and is supposed to be about Christ, and we’re making it about us — that’s the worst thing we could do,” one of the authors, David W. Jones, told Baptist Press. Jones is associate professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. “It is so catering to the flesh and it so exalts man that it gets to the point where you obscure Christ.”

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