Formulas of Wesleyan Grace and Prosperity Gospel

In a preaching class on Tuesday, I figured out the formula for the Prosperity Gospel and how it is the polar opposite to the Wesleyan formula.

Here's the elements:

  • (A) = Works
  • (B) =  Blessings
The the Prosperity formula is "If you do (A), then you will receive (B)."
  • If you give money (Prosperity), invoke the name of Jesus Christ (Name it claim it), or change your thoughts to God's thoughts (Joel Osteen), then you will be blessed! 
 The alternate equation is the Wesleyan "Since you have (B), then you do (A)."
  • Given that we already have prevenient grace, we are already blessed people.  And we respond to that blessing through justification and sanctification, through WORKS!
This is my first draft; happy to be wrong.  Thoughts?
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Anonymous,  October 18, 2008 at 11:36 AM  

Great and simple formulation. I'm not expert, but that seems like a good way to presenting it.

Rich,  October 19, 2008 at 9:00 AM  

Thank you! This post inspired me to read John Wesley's sermon The Use of Money. The key take-away for me was Wesley's emphasis that we are not owners but stewards of any wealth we have. (Section III, paragraph 2) And that we are to look for our rewards at the resurrection, not now. (III.4)

Wesley also is quite severe as to wasting money on "gratifying the desire of the eye by superfluous or expensive apparel, or by needless ornaments." (II.3)

Wesley considers money an instance of God's grace (intro, paragraph 2), and also our ability to earn it (see I.2).

So yes, we only have money, and the ability to earn it, by God's (prevenient) grace. Wesley focuses in this sermon on obedience to God and on ultimate reward instead of on a joyful response to God's grace, but I don't think Wesley would disagree with your formulation.

I cannot vouch for your prosperity formulation, though it sounds very much like what I understand the prosperity gospel to be all about.

Missy Ann October 20, 2008 at 6:46 AM  

I like the formula-- it works well. Here's another one to consider. At the churches that I serve I have a fairly small group of what they call themselves to be "fundamentalists" and another small group who, although they dislike the Catholic church--they were raised in the Catholic church and still holld a lot of that theology, they call themselves "Recovering Catholics".

The equation that I would pose from that situation (and that they themselves have posed as well) may not be all that different from yours! Salvation & works.

"Recovering Catholics" say-- If we do more works, we'll receive salvation.
"Fundamentalists" say--Once we receive salvation, there's no need for anymore works!

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