My Copy: 9781565631328 (image from bn.com)
Some people wanting to dig into learning about the word of faith movement, aka the “prosperity gospel,” will have a good start with this book. I’m sure this 1994 text has made it into the bibliographies of plenty of books that have come since, whether criticizing the word of faith preachers or to denounce McConnell’s work.
A Different Gospel is a heavily-researched text regarding the beginnings of the Word of Faith movement and how it fits into Christianity. Surprisingly, most of it started in the post-WW2 revivalist wave, and is largely attributed to Kenneth Hagin, one of the best known evangelists of the era. However, much of what Kenneth Hagin taught came from a man named Kennon, whose writings were steeped in metaphysical cults.
If you’ve watched a lot of internet documentaries about the prosperity gospel and its false beliefs, I’m sure this book has cropped up and been quoted from often. I can recognize a lot of what it says in the ministry of the detractors like Justin Peters. I’ve seen him in a few documentaries and snippets regarding the health and wealth gospel (and you can read my own questions that’ve led me to vent about my own confusion regarding Jesus and prosperity.
But I digress.
I think the back-and forth regarding what the Bible says and the origin of certain tenets of the Word of Faith movement are worth pondering and studying. Unfortunately, I also feel the book is incredibly repetitive in certain aspects. As this was written in 1994, some of the televangelists’ names may not be so familiar (or may inspire an ironic chuckle when you remember what happened to some of these people).
I do think other books have done a better job at tackling the controversy of the prosperity gospel than A Different Gospel, but this is one that started the ball rolling on the conversation, even if the conversation was drowned out by shouts of approval and praise for health and wealth.
I’d recommend this book to anybody wanting more information about what the prosperity gospel is teaching and the evolution of its ideas (up to a point) compared to what the scriptures say. Be informed, friends, and be educated, whether your agree or not.