Examining the Prosperity Gospel #2: The Origins and History of the Prosperity Gospel

The prosperity gospel is syncretistic; it borrows from categories from outside of Christianity and presents them as if they are authentic parts of the Christian faith. When we look closer at the prosperity gospel, we find that it is neither rooted in Scripture nor does it share in any sense a historical Christian background. What is now known as Word of Faith theology, the primary theology behind the prosperity gospel, developed out of a 19th century metaphysical ideology called New Thought. New Thought morphed over time and spawned numerous other offshoots, the most well known of which is Christian Science. It is from this vein of New Thought that the prosperity gospel sprang. While this post will not allow for any in-depth history, I would like to give a brief overview of the development of prosperity theology and the major figures that were influential in its development.

New Thought

New Thought is a metaphysical movement that dates back to the 19th century. The movement promoted elements such as mind-cure, a belief in a dualistic view of the world (material versus spiritual), and changing one’s thoughts to change reality, among other teachings. The ideology draws from many sources, mixing Christian elements with some Eastern mystic elements, in addition to transcendental movements. William James, writing back in 1905 and tracing the development of New Thought, notes several influences: 

One of the doctrinal sources of Mind-cure is the four Gospels; another is Emersonianism or New England transcendentalism; another is Berkeleyan idealism; another is spiritism, with its messages of “law” and “progress” and “development”; another the optimistic popular science evolutionism of which I have recently spoken; and, finally, Hinduism has contributed a strain. But the most characteristic feature of the mind-cure movement is an inspiration much more direct. The leaders in this faith have had an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of healthy-minded attitudes as such, in the conquering efficacy of courage, hope, and trust, and a correlative contempt for doubt, fear, worry, and all nervously precautionary states of mind. [1]

The exact outline of New Thought has never been defined, as the movement has never been dogmatic about specifics and exhibits a diversity of particulars. In that sense, it is difficult to pin down specifics, though some writers have attempted to summarize these beliefs. I will present here D. R. McConnell’s summarization of the Boston Metaphysical Club’s beliefs as representative:

All primary causes are internal forces. . . . Mind is primary and causative. . . . The remedy for all defect and all disorder is metaphysical, beyond the physical, in the realm of causes which are mental and spiritual. . . . God is immanent, indwelling Spirit, All-Wisdom, All-Goodness, ever-present in the universe. Therefore evil can have no place in the world as a permanent reality; it is the absence of good. . . . It [New Thought] would proclaim to man his freedom from the necessity of belief in disease, poverty, and all evil as a part of God’s plan. . . . It stands for the practice of the presence of God reduced to a scientific method; of living a selfless life through union in thought with a power that is Love in action. It robs death of its sting, though not specifically denying its reality; takes the terror out of disease; crowns life with joy and health and abundance that are the rightful inheritance of every child of God.[2]

This movement has exhibited much influence over the American ideological landscape over the years, having foundational a roles in the development of Christian Science, teachings on the Law of Attraction, and the promotion of positive thinking. Of the most interest is its influence on what would eventually become the Word of Faith movement and the importation of its ideas into Christian circles. To trace some of this thought, I will briefly survey several influential proponents of these various movements. While this is by no means even close to an exhaustive presentation of these thinkers’ ideas, these are intended to be samples of the streams of thought they produced.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)

Emanuel Swedenborg was an incredibly brilliant man. A true polymath in every way, he was a scientist and inventor whose accomplishments ranged far and wide across numerous fields. He is considered to have been well ahead of his time in his field, making contributions in the realm of anatomy, physiology, and metallurgy, among others, even sketching out plans for a flying machine. Though he was well regarded and accomplished in the scientific realm, his lasting influence is in his spiritual ideas.

From a period from 1743 until 1745, Swedenborg endured a spiritual crisis during which he experienced intense visions and dreams. As he came out of this period of crisis, he believed he had been given a new purpose in life by Jesus himself to reform Christianity and present new doctrine to the church. As a result, he left his life of scientific inquiry and dedicated the remainder of his years to theological study, publishing eighteen theological works, the breadth of which are quite astonishing. The writings he produced would prove to be wildly influential in the development of various religious and spiritualist movements, the most enduring of which was New Thought. 

Swedenborg rejected traditional Christian doctrine and instead focused on a spiritualist interpretation of Scripture and the world based on his visionary experiences. David Jones and Russell Woodbridge summarize those teachings of Swedenborg’s that would come to be foundational in New Thought as a “belief in God as a mystical force, the notion that the human mind has the capacity to control the physical world, and the teaching of a works-based self-salvation scheme… At the root of these teachings is the belief that the ultimate nature of reality is rooted in the nonphysical, the spiritual, or simply in the mind.” [3]

He taught about a “law of correspondences”, that is to say, “Everything in the material world depended ultimately on a corresponding cause in the spiritual world.” Because he taught that the human soul was made of “the same substance as the cosmic elements in the universe,” it was capable of interchanging with the human mind through the vibrations of divine influx.[4] Due to the law of correspondences and the supposition that the soul was of the same stuff as the spiritual while the mind is of the material, the mind was capable of affecting the corresponding spiritual realities, thus influencing material reality. New Thought would pick up these elements during its mind-cure phase, teaching that to correct the physical ailment one simply needed to correct the corresponding mental ailment. Though Swedenborg may not have been a proponent of mind-power proper, his metaphysical teachings and view of reality provided the fertile soil that would morph into New Thought a little less than a century later. 

Phinehas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866)

Phinehas Parkhurst Quimby is commonly known as the “Father of New Thought.” Himself greatly influenced by the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg and Anton Mesmer (a proponent of a form of healing hypnosis he called “animal magnetism, but which later was termed “mesmerism”), Quimby can be thought of as the first proper New Thought practitioner. 

While he was involved in mesmerism, Quimby met a man named Lucius Burkmar, whom he believed exhibited powers of clairvoyance while hypnotized. Initially, his work with Burkmar was in the form of demonstrations for entertainment, though eventually he found that Burkmar had some ability to diagnose patients and prescribe cures for them while hypnotized. After some time, Quimby discovered that Burkmar’s cures varied in effectiveness. John Haller writes that after this revelation, “Quimby came up with the novel thesis that his patients were suffering from no disease except their own misguided and erroneous thinking. Quimby felt that he could accomplish the same level of healing by correcting the patient’s error in thinking, and that changes in the mind of the patient would lead the patient to recover his health.”[5]

Based on this new way of thinking, Quimby moved from mesmerism and hypnotism and pursued a type of mind cure. As his thinking matured, he connected his methods to Christianity and determined that Jesus and the apostles used his mind-cure methods in their healings. He said that, “my theory is that disease is the invention of man… that man has been deceived and led away and is unable to get back to health and happiness; that Jesus’ mission was to break the bands that bound the sick and restore them to health and happiness.”[6] He asserted that “all disease is in the mind or belief.”[7] Since illness is not actual, Jesus merely corrected the thinking of those whom he healed, much the same way Quimby did. Based upon his experience with mind-cure, Quimby developed a system where the mind is the ultimate reality. 

Quimby taught an aberrant view of Jesus, considering Jesus to be simplya man who was indwelt by Christ. He extrapolated this out to teach the semi-divinity of man, that man had a “particle of God” in him. Quimby wrote, “the Christ is the God in us all… Christ or God in us is the same that is in Jesus, only in a greater degree in Him.”[8] This semi-divine nature in man would be developed further in New Thought and would even make its way into Word of Faith theology.

Quimby’s greatest influence would come from his disciples and those who expanded on his ideas, rather than directly from the man himself. Warren Felt Evans (1817-1889) was a disciple of Quimby and would go on to develop Quimby’s ideas in his numerous New Thought writings. Probably the most well known direct disciple of Quimby was Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910). Though she would later deny being influenced by Quimby and went so far as to say he learned his doctrines from her,[9] Eddy would adapt his metaphysical teachings and form her own sect, Christian Science. As Swedenborg provided the fertile soil, Quimby planted and brought forth the seedlings that would sprout into New Thought.

Emma Curtis Hopkins (1849-1925)

While Phinehas Parkhurst Quimby may have been the father of New Thought and gave birth to its teachings, Hopkins may be credited with coalescing it into an actual movement. She is known as the “teacher of teachers” due to the large number of her students that would later become New Thought proponents.

Hopkins’s teaching shows development towards giving words power as an extension of the mind. Writing under the pseudonym of Eleve, Hopkins writes that, “Whatever we declare we are sure to have, for God has created all things good, and for us, and it is our office to speak the word that will make them show forth.”[10] She ties this directly to mind-power, asserting further that, “Words are far more potent than we ever dreamed before we studied mind and its mysterious and wonderful ways of procedure.”[11] 

Her teachings about the power of words in connection to the mind resulted in her advocating positive prayers that echo the modern practice of positive declarations. She taught various prayers, for example, to ward off sicknesses that one could repeat until they became a reality. “You know that God is Everywhere,” she wrote for one of her prayers. “The Spirit Is all around you. Its arms are about you, resting and refreshing you. You rest in Spirit and are one with it. You are covered with peace and rest. You are one with strength and health. You are an expression of strength and health. You are whole.”[12] Saying these prayers was the key to correcting the mind and bringing about healing.

Hopkins would go on to assist in the organizing of various institutions associated with New Thought, bringing some semblance of organization to the movement. In addition to this formative influence, Haller notes that, “She is also credited with introducing some of the earliest lectures on what she called ‘The Good’ (as reflected in the phrase ‘There is Good for me and I ought to have it’), which eventually evolved into the prosperity gospel.”[13]

Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958)

Where Emma Curtis Hopkins helped organize New Thought into a more recognizable movement, Ralph Waldo Trine popularized New Thought for the general public. His bestselling and best known book, In Tune With The Infinite: Fullness of Peace, Power and Plenty, was hugely popular, selling over 2 million copies and was translated into 20 languages. 

Among the teachings that Trine presented, a major one would be his development of an emphasis upon prosperity. In keeping with New Thought’s notion of mind power and the Law of Attraction, Trine wrote, “Suggest prosperity to yourself. See yourself in a prosperous condition. Affirm that you will before long be in a prosperous condition…You thus make yourself a magnet to attract the things you desire.”[14] This emphasis upon prosperity would be one of the great enduring facets of New Thought as it morphed into other ideologies. God, or a vague idea of him, was the means to prosperity. Drawing on Swedenborg’s “divine influx,” Trine used this principle to teach that reaching oneness with God would activate the Law of Attraction. As one became more in tune with this universal power, the more able one became to access material prosperity. He wrote, “He who lives in the realization of his oneness with this Infinite Power becomes a magnet to attract to himself a continual supply of whatsoever things he desires.”[15]

The notion of faith was transformed into language that fit within the framework of the Law of Attraction. Trine posited that,“Faith is nothing more nor less than the operation of the thought forces in the form of an earnest desire, coupled with expectation as to its fulfillment. And in the degree that faith, the earnest desire thus sent out, is continually held to and watered by firm expectation, in just that degree does it either draw to itself, or does it change from the unseen into the visible, from the spiritual into the material, that for which it is sent.”[16] One must keep the mind in proper alignment for faith to be efficacious, otherwise it may have the opposite effect: “Let the element of doubt or fear enter in, and what would otherwise be a tremendous force will be so neutralized that it will fail of its realization.”[17] He develops this theme further with an even graver warning: “The moment we fear anything we open the door for the entrance of the actualization of the very thing we fear.”[18]

Lastly, Trine promoted a deified view of man, expanding on Quimby’s semi-divinity: “In essence the life of God and the life of man are identically the same, and so are one. They differ not in essence, in quality; they differ in degree.”[19] This high view of man and making him nearly equivalent with God anticipates prosperity theology’s little gods doctrine and near deification of man.

On the heels of Trine’s success, New Thought firmly had its roots in the American psyche, particularly with its increasing emphasis upon bringing not only health, but wealth as well.

Positive Thinking

As history rolled on into the 20th century, a new secularized offshoot of New Thought developed in the form of Positive Thinking, which came to prominence especially following World War Two. In this newer iteration, Kate Bowler writes that, “Positive thinking was simply a repackaging of earlier metaphysical mind-power, remembered for its psychological cast and emphasis on a cheerful and well-ordered mind.”[20] 

In the wake of these more secular writers, Haller observes that: 

As this intention played out, terms such as capitalism, profit, and rugged individualism replaced the popular and well-used concepts of public virtue and self-reliance. The same was true of the words psychic, magnetism, energy, force, thought waves, mental control, suggestion, imminence, vibrations, attraction, and influence, which had carried authoritative meaning through most of the nineteenth century. They gave way to terms such as determination, perseverance, prosperity, personal well-being, thought power, mental power, financial betterment, ambition, success, happiness, and potential.[21]

Bowler describes positive thinking in the following way:

The term “positive thinking” requires some explanation. Often mistaken simply for optimism, positive thinking stressed the power of the mind over matter. It leaned on monism and philosophical idealism to define how life rewards those with right thinking. Positive thinking was synthetic, mixing the categories of religion, psychology, medicine, and self-help; its prophets were not typically systematizers or intellectuals, but popularizers and doers.[22]

This form of positive thinking was greatly popularized by Dale Carnegie and was later epitomized in Norman Vincent Peale and the publication of his The Power of Positive Thinking

Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993)

Norman Vincent Peale was a Methodist minister who was pastor of Marble Collegiate Church, a Dutch Reformed Church. Peale adapted New Thought in his writings, the most prominent of which was The Power of Positive Thinking. In its day, it was a New York Times bestseller for over three years and sold over a million copies, with millions more sold in subsequent years. Bowler summarizes his teaching, saying, “Peale taught that any person could access God’s power through positive thinking, which directed spiritual energy toward the attainment of health, self-esteem, or business acumen. Much like his New Thought predecessors, Peale promised formulas, patterns of right thought, and the release of power through effective words.”[23] While leaving behind the metaphysical elements, Peale adapted New Thought and forward its basic tenets of the power of the mind and right thought. 

Peale would connect this thinking as an aspect of faith. In order to develop the type of faith he advocates, Peale advises that you find a dozen “faith concepts” from Scripture, memorize them, and then repeat them so that by “spiritual osmosis they will sink from your conscious into your subconscious mind” and reshape your thinking. As a result of this process, “You will have new power to get what God and you decide you really want from life.”[24] People simply need to learn to grow their faith by reshaping their thinking. The more faith one has, the more good things one is able to receive. “Pray a great deal and always let your prayer take the form of thanksgiving on the assumption that God is giving you great and wonderful things; for if you think He is, He surely is. God will not give you any greater blessing than you can believe in. He wants to give you great things, but even He cannot make you take anything greater than you are equipped by faith to receive. ‘According to your faith (that is, in proportion to) be it unto you.'”[25]

Peale advocated finding new methods of prayer. “New and fresh spiritual techniques are being constantly discovered by men and women of spiritual genius,” he wrote.[26] His suggested formula was to prayerize, picturize, and actualize. That is to say, you should pray constantly, hold a picture firmly in mind while “[working] hard and intelligently, thus doing your part to achieve success in the matter,” and actualization of the desire will come to pass.[27] Effective prayer is to be found in finding the correct formula; one could try Peale’s method or another’s, simply find the special method of prayer that works. The power of positive thinking is ever present in prayer: “Never use a negative thought in prayer,” he writes. “Only positive thoughts get results.”[28]

Positive thinking anticipates much of what has become commonplace in the prosperity gospel. In fact, Joel Osteen’s anecdotal writing style very much mirrors that of Peale. With Peale bringing forms of New Thought further into the mainstream of American thinking, the cultural atmosphere was becoming ripe for New Thought influences to become more acceptable in Christianity.

Word of Faith and the Modern Prosperity Gospel

According to Kate Bowler, the prosperity gospel has been borne out of three intersecting streams of pentecostalism, New Thought, and “an American gospel of pragmatism, individualism, and upward mobility.”[29] Out of the intersection of these streams came the Word of Faith movement and its resultant theology. The prosperity gospel is syncretistic, taking many of its categories from New Thought, which is then merged into a charismatic form of Christianity. As an aside, I want to make clear that the prosperity gospel is not synonymous with Charismatic Christianity; while prosperity gospel is found more often in the Charismatic movement due to the mixture of influences, it is not intrinsic to the movement.

This specific type of theology originated with E. W. Kenyon, but was spread and popularized by Kenneth Hagin as the Word of Faith movement. Through the mediums of the printed word, radio, and television, Word of Faith teachings spread far and wide across first America and then eventually to the world. To gain an understanding of how the prosperity gospel gained a foothold in Christian circles, let’s look at Kenyon’s teachings, Hagin’s adaptation of them, and the proliferation of the prosperity gospel through the succeeding years.

E. W. Kenyon (1867-1948)

Essek William Kenyon may be considered the true father of Word of Faith theology. While Kenyon is not related directly to Word of Faith circles, his teachings were picked up and spread by Kenneth Hagin. Much of what Hagin would go on to teach was both plagiarized from and based upon Kenyon’s teachings, thus he must be considered an important person in the development of the prosperity gospel.

Kenyon himself was never a member of any New Thought groups directly, and in fact showed himself able to critique it at times, but his theology bears the marks of New Thought influence. In this regard, McConnell writes, “One of the mysteries of E. W. Kenyon is how to account for the discrepancies between his theology and his ministry. Early in his ministry Kenyon moved in Methodist circles and late in his life in Pentecostal, but his theology reflects neither. In fact, his theology contradicts both Methodism and Pentecostalism.”[30] McConnell considers it quite likely that Kenyon was introduced to New Thought in 1892 while attending the Emerson School of Oratory in Boston, where New Thought was quite prominent. The president of the school at the time was Charles Emerson, who was at the time a Unitarian minister who held to a rather eclectic theological view, mixing Platonism, Swedenborgianism, New England Unitarianism, and Emersonian Transcendentalism, and would later convert to Christian Science.[31] Ralph Waldo Trine was in fact a classmate of Kenyon’s while at Emerson. Kenyon’s later writings would show great influence from New Thought and he became quite conversant in the metaphysical cults, which likely started from his time as a young man at Emerson.

Kenyon would go on to modify New Thought teachings, perhaps unconsciously, and bring them into his ministry. Whether he intentionally created a syncretistic system is besides the point; in reality, his teachings greatly deviated from orthodox Christian doctrine. He would express doctrines that had New Thought roots such as positive confession (the power of words and thoughts to affect reality), an exalted view of man verging on the divine, an aberrant view of Christ’s atonement, and an emphasis upon attaining personal health and wealth.[32] These doctrines all continue into the prosperity gospel today and we will deal with these teachings and more in depth, but for the moment, I want to briefly shine a light on his teaching of positive confession and personal health and wealth.

The phrase, “What I confess, I possess,” though later appropriated by Hagin, originated with Kenyon.[33] As New Thought had done before, Kenyon grounds positive thinking and positive words as the basis for one’s faith; positive thoughts and words bring more positive results, while negative thoughts and words bring negative results.  In applying positive confession to healing, Kenyon says, “You must recognize this fact. All is yours by confession, or all is lost by a negative confession. You get God’s best by the confession that you have it… Faith declares you are healed while the pain is still racking your body. Let me state it again, possession comes with confession. Possession stays with continual confession.”[34] Confess your healing and continue confessing it until it became a reality; if the healing did not stick, the problem was with your confession. These doctrines of positive confession are very much present in the modern prosperity movement.

While Kenyon’s emphasis on monetary prosperity surely does not equal that of a Kenneth Copeland or a Benny Hinn, it certainly helped shape this aspect of the prosperity gospel. “God never planned that we should live in poverty, physical, mental or spiritual,” Kenyon wrote. “He made Israel go to the head of the nations financially. When we go into partnership with Him, and we learn His ways of doing business, we cannot be failures. Failures are not God-made. God never made a weakling or an inefficient man… All you need to do is to study the Word of God and get the knowledge that is imparted to you there. Then He will give you the ability to make your life a success.”[35] 

Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003)

Kenneth Hagin is commonly known as the “father” of the Word of Faith movement due to his influence. Despite this title, D. R. McConnell makes the case that that title in reality belongs to E. W. Kenyon, as noted above. Hagin was greatly influenced by Kenyon’s writings, so much so to the extent that he plagiarized large parts of Keynon’s work, repeating them nearly verbatim in his own books. McConnell makes the charge that, “Whereas Hagin appears to have copied only occasionally from sources other than Kenyon, he has plagiarized Kenyon both repeatedly and extensively. Actually, it would not be overstated to say that the very doctrines that have made Kenneth Hagin and the Faith movement such a distinctive and powerful force within the independent charismatic movement are all plagiarized from E. W. Kenyon.”[36] In support of this charge, McConnell provides a large number of excerpts from Hagin’s writings in comparison with Keynon’s clearly demonstrating the plagiarism, the whole of which he says is but a sampling of the plagiarism with many more capable of being cited.[37]

The errors of Hagin are quite apparent. Claiming he was directly commissioned by and received a special anointing from Jesus,[38] Hagin adapted Kenyon’s errors and amplified them. His doctrinal errors are numerous, to include a denial of the full efficacy of the atonement, promoting positive confession, advocating man as near deity, and a host of others. Many of his theological positions have become part and parcel of the prosperity gospel, which we will examine in more detail in the coming posts.

With the advent of greater communications technology, Hagin’s reach was greatly amplified beyond what had previously been possible. Hagin published books and pamphlets, distributed magazines, sold recordings of his sermons, broadcast regularly over the radio, and even established his own RHEMA Bible Training College. Through these outlets, Hagin spread Word of Faith theology spread far and wide to the point that he is now known as the father of the Word of Faith movement.

From Hard to Soft Prosperity

The earlier phases in the prosperity gospel during the time of Hagin and his immediate successors tended to fall under the category of “hard prosperity.” Teachers such as Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, and Fred Price shamelessly presented the gospel as a means to attain wealth and prosperity. This bold teaching is probably best epitomized in the “hundred fold return” teaching put forth by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland: “You give $1 for the Gospel’s sake and $100 belongs to you; give $10 and receive $1000; give $1000 and receive $100,000… Give one house and receive one hundred houses or one house worth one hundred times as much. Give one airplane and receive one hundred times the value of the airplane. Give one car and the return would furnish you a lifetime of cars. In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.”[39] While this form of the prosperity gospel still exists, it has certainly become less fashionable, in part due to the number of scandals that took place amongst the hard prosperity preachers during the 1980s.  

A shift in the prosperity gospel began around the mid-1990s. The language took on more secular tones and a more therapeutic nature. The outright greed that hard prosperity preachers offered was softened, giving way to a greater emphasis on general well-being, success, and health. The term “prosperity” may still be used, though if it is, it is recast in general terms of well-being. Bowler finds the epitomization of this shift in the success of Joel Osteen: “Teachers like Joel Osteen, John Osteen’s son and successor at Houston’s Lakewood Church, softened the hard causality between the spoken word and reality. Prophets of soft prosperity tied psychological to fiscal success, believing that a rightly ordered mind led to rightly ordered finances. Osteen chose mainstream language over Christian jargon, changing the term ‘positive confession’ to ‘positive declarations.’ Yet the principle remained the same: change your words, change your life.”[40] Nowadays, the soft prosperity messages are those that find their ways into the bestsellers lists and line the Christian bookstores. This is the new mainstream.

Conclusion

The prosperity gospel does not stand in any line of historic Christian thought; it descends from a line of metaphysical cults. While it may be dressed up in Christian language and categories, the roots are not Christian or scriptural by any means. It is a syncretistic system that has synthesized New Thought. While not all aspects of the prosperity gospel originated in New Thought, its most prominent teachings such as its view of faith as essentially a force, finding power in faith-filled words, and attracting health and wealth through positive thinking and words, are all directly related to New Thought. 

What are we to make of this theological pedigree? From my vantage point, these elements point all the more to the heretical nature of the prosperity gospel. Not only is it a distortion of the testimony of Scripture, it is actually a syncretistic system that has imported its main tenets from outside of Christianity. It cannot be true Christian teaching because much of it has nothing to do with Christianity. As I dig more specifically into the theology of the prosperity gospel, I hope to show its absolute lack of any true gospel.


[1] Wiliam James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1905), 95.

[2] D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1988), 40.

[3] David W. Jones, and Russell S. Woodbridge, Health, Wealth & Happiness : Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2011), 29.

[4] John S. Haller, The History of New Thought: From Mind Cure to Positive Thinking and the Prosperity Gospel (West Chester: Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2012), 33.

[5] Ibid. 48.

[6] Horatio Dresser, editor, The Quimby Manuscripts (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company Publishers, 1921), 302.

[7] Ibid. 186.

[8] Ibid. 303. Emphasis original.

[9] Haller, History of New Thought, 81.

[10] Eleve, Spiritual Law in the Natural World (Chicago: Purdy Publishing Co., 1894), 60.

[11] Ibid. 61.

[12] Ibid. 175.

[13] Haller, History of New Thought, 102.

[14] Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune with the Infinite (New York: Dodd,  Mead and Company, 1897), 181.

[15] Ibid. 176.

[16] Ibid. 34-35.

[17][17] Ibid. 35.

[18] Ibid. 137-138.

[19] Ibid. 13. Emphasis original.

[20] Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 55.

[21] Haller, History of New Thought, 217-218.

[22] Bowler, Blessed, 31.

[23] Ibid. 57.

[24] Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking (New York: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1956), 88.

[25] Ibid. 176.

[26] Ibid. 43.

[27] Ibid. 45-46.

[28] Ibid. 56.

[29] Bowler, Blessed, 11.

[30] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 34.

[31] Ibid. 36-37.

[32] For a greater overview of the breadth of Kenyon’s error, see McConnell, A Different Gospel, chapters 1-3.

[33] The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Unconscious Mind, 13th ed. (Lynwood, WA: Kenyon Publishing Society, 1970), 98..

[34] Ibid. 102.

[35] E. W. Kenyon, Advanced Bible Course, ch. 8.

[36] McConnell, A Different Gospel, 7.

[37] Ibid. 7-12.

[38] See for example Kenneth Hagin, I Believe in Visions: The Fascinating Personal Story of a Man Whose Life and Ministry Were Dramatically Influenced by Visions of Jesus (Faith Library Publications, 1984), 41-54.

[39] Gloria Copeland, God’s Will is Prosperity (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1978), 54.

[40] Bowler, Blessed, 125.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s