This is the scripture that Min. Oral Roberts read which "enlightened" him to the idea that God desires for His people to be wealthy. This verse, and the influence of a popular self-help book called "Think and Grow Rich", eventually birthed the prosperity gospel.
An example of Mr. Hill's type of thinking is the following quote from his book: “There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief.” In other words, from him, we get the idea that if we can imagine something, we can achieve it.
Although Mr. Hill was adamant that this line of thought could apply to a wide variety of business ventures, the idea that it could apply to the Christian life was Min. Roberts' alone. By the time I was in college in the early 1980s, catch-phrases such as "Name It and Claim It" and "Expect A Miracle" had spread throughout the Christian community. The primary sources of these teachings by then were Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Frederick K. Price, all of whom were heavily influenced by Oral Roberts.
How did Oral Roberts make such an error? Up until 1978 the most common Bible translation in U.S. churches and homes was the King James Version. Initially published in 1611, it was already over 350 years old when it was determined a more modern translation was needed for common use. The form of everyday English used in the KJV had become archaic for a generation where "cool" had changed meaning and "groovy" entered our vocabulary.
By Oral Roberts' time that language shift was already becoming evident. Since his root verse for his teachings was 3 John 2, I wondered if the common meaning of "prosper" had shifted, too. Looking at a dictionary I noticed that while the current definition means "to be successful or fortunate, especially in financial respects," there is also an archaic definition. It once meant "to make fortunate" and was more along the lines of "to make happy."
The legacy of Min. Roberts continues to this day with a number of today's preachers convinced that material wealth is part of God's plan for us. And while I now understand how this came about, it is time we returned to the true gospel.
Paul says strongly in Gal. 1:8-9 - But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Strong words! The true gospel is this:
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures;… 1 Cor. 15:3-4 (KJV)
There is no other gospel.