Religion Scholar Reza Aslan reacts
While speaking at the 2014 Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver about his book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, religion scholar Reza Aslan decried this interpretation of the Gospel.
"The fastest growing Protestant movement in North America is this movement that is referred to as the prosperity gospel," he said. "This is the gospel preached by people like Joel Osteen T.D. Jakes — and when I say people, I mean charlatans. The argument of the prosperity gospel, if I can put it flippantly, is that Jesus wants you to drive a Bentley. That is basically what the argument is. That what Jesus wants for you is material prosperity, and that if you literally give, you will literally be given tenfold. That's not a metaphor, as it is in most churches. It is literal. You give me $10 and Jesus will give you $100."
"This is as profoundly an unscriptural interpretation of Jesus that exists," said Aslan. "I mean, if there is one thing that is just so clear cut and just not open to interpretation at all of any kind when it comes to Jesus' message, it is his condemnation of wealth."
"And yet, not only does this version of Christianity exist, as I say, it is honestly the fastest growing version of Protestant evangelical Christianity in North America. That's because Jesus can be whatever you want Him to be, and the Christian message can be whatever you want it to be," he said.