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Phil Pringle has often tried to dis-associate himself from the prosperity movement. Many people see Phil Pringle and his C3 Movement to be of the Word of Faith and Prosperity movement.

However, Pentecostalism and Word of Faith/Prosperity Movement are two different things. Many in the Pentecostal movement have embraced the teachings in the Prosperity Movement. Ph.D Professor of Bible and Theology John Wyckoff defines Pentecostalism as follows,

“… the twentieth-century Pentecostal movement has succeeded in restoring the experiential dimension of the Spirit’s dynamic presence to a significant segment of the church. Pentecostals believe that recovery of the doctrine and experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit is comparable to the Reformation’s recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith.”1

With this in mind, this article points out Phil Pringle is a prosperity teacher and that his movement is part of the prosperity movement.

Prosperity doctrine: What Pentecostals believe

‘Prosperity doctrine’, ‘positive confession theology’, ‘faith-formula theology’. These are some of the terms used to describe a relatively new system of theology that has emerged from the Word of Faith movement, also called the Faith movement or the Word movement, that began in the nineteenth century and after its rise in the twentieth century has reached wide-spread influence within the Pentecostal movement and beyond. Prosperity theology is also strongly associated with the Divine Healing movement.
Current proponents of this movement in America include Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Charles Capps and Frederick Price. Prosperity doctrine is based upon a belief in the unified power of faith and the tongue. Faith is a confession; faith speaks (“I believed, therefore I have spoken.”) Also, words spoken in faith come to pass. According to this view, we create reality, whether good or bad, with the words of our mouths. Fear is negative faith. It is confidence in the certainty of a negative outcome. ‘What I confess, I possess’ is the view sometimes referred to as ‘now faith.’

Accordingly, there is available for the Christian supernatural blessing for their complete prosperity. ‘Prosperity’ is broad, encompassing all of life, including blessing mentally, physically, financially and socially. And it is immediately available for all Christians who follow the ‘laws of prosperity’ outlined in God’s Word, the Bible. This view also stems from a belief that a Christian’s inward and spiritual transformation will naturally result in an outward working that takes effect in every area of life. God’s blessing for Christians who lay hold of it is victory and overcoming in every sphere.

Generosity is encouraged as a key to financial prosperity, however such giving must be faith-filled to have a positive effect. The essential law of prosperity is the power that resides in the spoken word which will always precede from faith. Prosperity leaders and teachers would urge, ‘don’t pray the problem; speak the solution.’ ‘If you honour God, he will honour you’, in your business, your body, your exams. God’s goal for every Christian is success and abundance in all its forms.

The logical endpoint of this doctrine is what some Pentecostals insist: God’s ultimate goal for Christians is constant health, wealth and happiness. Where they fail to achieve this divine healing is a matter of expectation. However, God’s desire for Christians is that they do not suffer at all. This teaching insists that it is never God’s will for physical disorder or discomfort for any of his children, ever. For them, suffering occurs for Christians because of personal sin, even involving a simple lack of faith in God’s will to protect them from harm.

In Australia the growth of the prosperity movement, particularly within Pentecostalism, is largely attributed to the influence of the movement in America. Key leaders within Australian Pentecostalism have embraced the prosperity message in recent times, such as Brian Houston, who wrote You need more money (1999), urging readers to discover God’s “amazing financial plan” for their lives. Phil Pringle, another Pentecostal leader who is a key proponent of the prosperity gospel, wrote Keys to Financial Excellence, explaining how Christians could achieve financial success and freedom for themselves through the Biblical principles of prosperity.

What are the origins of the Prosperity doctrine? How far do the roots of Positive Confession theology go back and how has the Word of Faith movement developed over time to result in the current emphasis on abundant and prosperous living within Pentecostalism? This will be the topic of articles coming up.

[1] John W. Wyckoff (Ph.D., Professor of Bible and Theology, Chair, Church Ministries Division at Southwestern Assemblies of God College), Systematic Theology, Chapter 13 “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit”, Logion Press, 1995, p. 454.