Deception within the church. The prosperity gospel and New Thought. Pt.1
First of all what is “New Thought”? According to Horatio Dresser, New Thought is a religious movement which developed in the United States in the 19th century. It is considered by many New Though followers to have been derived from the unpublished writings of Phineas Quimby. Quimby, an American, lived from 1802 to 1866 and was the student of Franz Anton Mesmer.
Based on the dates of Quimby’s life it is plain to see that “New Thought” isn’t all that new today. Also, we can ascertain from one of the movements favorite quotes the movement has been around for thousands of years. Using a partial verse, cherry picked from Proverbs, this group centers their philosophy on “as a man thinketh, so shall he be”. Proverbs 23:7(a)
New Thought attracts individuals who share a set of beliefs concerning metaphysics, positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power. The chief tenets of New Thought are rooted in the idea that infinite intelligence is God. Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos cookies, is one such adherent to the New Thought Movement.
“God is not a physical being, he is an energy, he is a force, he is present in all of us.” ~ Wally “Famous Amos”
Here is where the “famous” television talk show host would say “we have determined this to be a lie!” God has the ability and has used his abilities to manifest Himself in the physical form. We can see this many places throughout scripture. Here is an example.
Genesis 18:1-4 “And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.”
If God did not have the ability to exist in a physical form, how then pray tell, could he manifest the actions of sitting, bathing, eating, drinking and conversing with Abram?
The rather fitting part of the whole concept? When you pull the verse of scripture, in context, you will need to start with verse one. Starting in verse one we see that this is a warning to the people of YHVH (God) about people who live the “I am my own god” and “prosperity gospel” ways of life.
Proverbs 23:1-7 “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
Specifically looking at verses six and seven we can see the condemnation of the individual that teaches this self-help philosophy.
Proverbs 23:6-7 “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
There is a very strong warning to the people of God here in this verse. The people of the “New Thought” movement have twisted it to their benefit. This is a typical ploy of the Deceiver (Satan). Let’s break this down in the Hebrew origins. The numbers beside each word represent the Strong’s Concordance to the original words used and their definition.
Prov 23:6 Eat H3898 thou not the bread H3899 of him that hath an evil H7451 eye H5869, neither desire H183 thou his dainty meats H4303:
- H3898 לָחַם lacham (law-cham’) v. to feed on. (figuratively) to consume.
- H3899 לֶחֶם lechem (lech’-em) n-m. food, sustenance (for man or beast).
- H7451 רַע ra` (rah) adj. evil, wicked, ill favored, mischievous
- H5869 עַיִן `ayin (ah’-yin) n-e. eye, resemblance, presence, source
- H183 אָוָה ‘avah (aw-vaw’) v. to wish for.
- H4303 מַטעַם mat`am (mat-am’) n-m. from the root H2938 טָעַם ta`am (taw-am’) v. to perceive
Prov 23:7 For as he thinketh H8176 in his heart H5315, so is he: Eat H398 and drink H8354, saith H559 he to thee; but his heart H3820 is not with thee.
- H8176 שָׁעַר sha`ar (shaw-ar’) v. to estimate, act as gatekeeper
- H5315 נֶפֶשׁ nephesh (neh’-fesh) n-f. a breathing creature, i.e. animal.
- H398 אָכַל ‘akal (aw-kal’) v. to eat, consume, act in deed
- H8354 שָׁתָה shathah (shaw-thaw’) v. to imbibe.
- H559 אָמַר ‘amar (aw-mar’) v. to utter (with the mouth).
- H3820 לֵב leb (laɓe) n-m. the heart, the feelings, the will, and even the intellect.
Defining the word sustenance we find its meaning to be ‘source of strength’ according to Webster’s Dictionary. Now we need to put this all together.
“Do not consume the claimed source of strength of the evil man. His perception and the things he wishes for are evil. In this man’s actions are the lies of his wicked heart.”
God is telling us that the self-help, “name it and claim it” crowd are only doing so to feed their desires for money fame and fortune. Not satisfied with this thought process? Let’s check to see what Yeshua said about the same topic.
Matthew 6:24 (HCSB) “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.”
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
This is the prevailing thought of Satan, that he is self-sustaining and powerful enough to control life. This is a combative thought towards God and all that He wants for our lives. God wants to be our source, our provision and our rescuer. Denying God of his design for mankind is living in opposition to His nature and therefore sinful.