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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Greed, Heresy, & the Prosperity Gospel

In his second letter, Peter warns believers that “there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies. Because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed, and in their greed they will exploit you.” According Costi Hinn, author of God, Greed and the (Prosperity) Gospel, and nephew of televangelist Benny Hinn, this is a good description of what’s currently going on inside the world of the prosperity gospel. Mike Horton and Adriel Sanchez talk with Costi about his experiences, and he is joined by Michael Cerullo, grandson of televangelist Morris Cerullo.


I would define the prosperity gospel as Jesus existing, or believing in Jesus leading to you being healthy, wealthy and happy. You take John 10:10, Jesus saying that “I have come that they might have life and life more abundantly.” That abundant life in the prosperity gospel is like a “gospel-plus.” Yes, Jesus died to save your sins and he atones for your sins, and also, the plus part — by believing in him and trusting him by faith, you are going to have a guaranteed healthy body. You are going to have guaranteed provision and favor. Essentially, the beautiful promises that are wrapped up and paid for in the atonement that we fully realize in glory are applied on Earth. So, God is like a cosmic banker. You put the ATM card in by faith and he’ll give you all the treasure and the glory and the promises of heaven now.

Costi Hinn



The manner of life that is centered on God, with special reference to devotion, piety, and reverence toward him. It can be defined as the conjunction of an attitude of devotion to God and of the consequent right conduct.

In the Pastoral Epistles eusebeia denotes a particular manner of life and comes close to the OT idea of “the fear of God.” However, it does not focus upon the law, but on the individual believer’s faith in Christ (1 Tim. 3:16). The secret of the godly life is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ; godliness is basically following him in this life (Titus 2:12). It is thus presented as a Christian goal, to be earnestly sought after (1 Tim. 2:2; 4:7-8), even if it leads to persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). Godliness and sound doctrine are closely related. True doctrine is described as being “godly teaching” (1 Tim. 6:3) and “truth that leads to godliness” (Titus 1:1), while an appearance of godliness without true Christian content is characteristic of evil men (2 Tim. 3:5). It is important to note that godliness is directly connected to proper respect for the family (1 Tim. 5:4).

Godliness is thus the honoring of God as Creator and Redeemer that is born of faith in Jesus Christ and expresses itself in daily living. As such, it is a criterion for soundness of doctrine and should characterize all Christians.

(Adapted from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. “Godliness”)