A Christian couple explores the "prosperity gospel"

The Big Picture, by Shirley Anne and Richard Leonard

The so-called “prosperity gospel,” sometimes called the “health-and-wealth gospel,” is controversial in many evangelical circles. Does it stand on a solid biblical foundation? Is it really true that by exercising our faith, tithing, and giving to further God's kingdom, we can come to enjoy a more prosperous and successful life? The Big Picture is not a heavy theological discussion. It’s a story set in a Christian home, where a couple with differing views on the issue are struggling to come to a common understanding. Read how Brad and Patti, with the help of a seminary professor, come to agree that the “prosperity gospel” isn’t the false teaching many claim it to be.

The Big Picture, by Shirley Anne and Richard Leonard, may be ordered through Laudemont Press. ISBN 1-884454-61-5, retail $7.95.

Excerpt from Chapter 1, “The Mailbox”

The mailbox flag was already up. And there it was, again, waiting for the mail carrier to take. The long white envelope, pre-addressed to “Orval Harker Ministries,” had the return address in his wife’s handwriting.

Brad Malcolm jabbed his outgoing mail—the second installment of their property tax—into the box, slammed the lid closed, and marched back to the front door. By the time he found Patti in the bedroom, sorting laundry on the bed, he had calmed down a bit.

“I see you’re sending another ‘gift’ to Orval Harker. You didn’t tell me about it.”

Patti glanced up, then cast her eye back to the socks she was sorting. “I was afraid to tell you, because I know how you feel about it. But it came from my craft sale money, anyway. It didn’t come out of our household bank account.”

“I appreciate that, honey. That’s your money to do with whatever you like; we agreed about that when you started putting your items into that shop. But I still believe you’re making a mistake.”

Patti sighed. “The crafts haven’t sold that well. I was hoping if I sowed some seed into Orval Harker’s ministry, and have faith, the Lord would bring a harvest—”

“And you believe that ‘prosperity gospel’ stuff, that if you give to a certain preacher, then God will make you rich? . . . Sorry, Patti, I don’t mean to be sarcastic about it, but I really don’t think it works.” Brad swallowed hard, trying to stem the anger rising up in him again. The last thing they needed was another fight, like the one a week ago over how much they should contribute to their church’s building fund drive.