Joyce Meyer’s Prosperity Gospel: A Quick Critique

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What’s the Prosperity Gospel? How is Joyce Meyer involved, and what are her views about the philosophy?

Joyce Meyer is considered to be one of the modern-day leaders of a popular Christian movement referred to as the Prosperity Gospel, which teaches that God wants His followers to be happy, healthy, and wealthy. This philosophy informs some of her other theological views.

Keep reading to learn a bit more about Joyce Meyer’s Prosperity Gospel.

Joyce Meyer’s Prosperity Gospel

In her book Battlefield of the Mind, Meyer argues that it’s our responsibility to take ownership of a positive future. Responsibility means using our talents, skills, and opportunities to serve God to the best of our ability. Satan will try to convince us to pass up opportunities for self-improvement.

Meyer’s discussion of responsibility is informed by her involvement in the Prosperity Gospel movement. According to the Prosperity Gospel, so long as we are faithful (responsible), we can expect success to follow. Indeed, in Battlefield of the Mind Meyer does not address the possibility that we might do all the “right” things and still not achieve success in life.

An article from the Vatican Journal La Civilta Cattolica critiquing Joyce Meyer’s Prosperity Gospel (and the movement in general) helps to explain why this view is problematic:

  • The Prosperity Gospel puts the individual, rather than God, at its center. Rather than needing God’s salvation, in this doctrine, we’re owed something by God and are rewarded for our efforts with health and wealth. As Pope Francis wrote on the subject: “The result is a self-centered and elitist complacency, bereft of true love.”
  • The Prosperity Gospel can make followers less empathetic. If God rewards the faithful with wealth and health, then those who are poor and suffering must, by extension, not be as “worthy” as the rich. The idea that “worthy” people are doing well can make people less inclined to help others.

In 2019, Meyer herself acknowledged that her views on the Bible’s promise of wealth and health “got out of balance,” and conceded that her views on faith and prosperity lacked empathy for the misfortunes of others. Therefore, a revised edition of Battlefield of the Mind might include some discussion of the possibility that our efforts to take responsibility for our lives might not always be successful.

Joyce Meyer’s Prosperity Gospel: A Quick Critique

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Joyce Meyer's "Battlefield of the Mind" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Battlefield of the Mind summary:

  • How the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts
  • How to recognize the signs that Satan is attacking your mind
  • How to thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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