*Note: This book review was written elsewhere by the same author and republished here. It was not written on the date that this webpage was published
The Prayer of Jabez was a book written in the year 2000 by Bruce Wilkinson. The book was an instant hit, selling over 9 million copies and topping best seller lists globally. It was an undeniably popular book, but was it a good book? One must read the book to find out for sure, and after reading it I found it to be extremely problematic.
Firstly, the book makes claims of the Prosperity Gospel. On page 31, Wilkinson writes, "When Christian excecutives ask me, "Is it right for me to ask God for more business?' my response is, 'Absolutely!' If you're doing business God's way, it's not only right to ask for more, but He is waiting for you to ask." Similarly, on page 83, he claims, "As you repeat these steps, you will set in motion a cycle of blessing that will keep you multiplying what God is able to do in and through you." While he makes many Osteenist (Or Prosperity Gospel) claims, Wilkinson's only Scriptural support for this is one out of context passage that was intended to record history, not teach (Other than that, his only defense is that it works for him). While Wilkinson makes the case that the prosperity of Jabez is normative for the elect, in the Bible we see many people who are poor yet saved. This includes, but is not limited to, the Prophets Elijah and Elisha, the Apostles, Mary and Joseph, John the Baptist, and even Jesus Himself. At the same time, many wicked men were rich. This includes Herod, King Eglon, Pontius Pilate, and Porcius Festus. So we see, riches don't show God's favor, but merely shows who God chooses to be rich according to His plan.
The Prosperity Gospel is not the only heresy contained within this book. On page 87, he goes into the Positive Thinking heresy, which teaches that our thoughts have the God-like power to create things in our surroundings. He says, "It's only what you believe will happen and therefore do next that will release God's power for you and bring about life change." This elevates man and rings very similar to one of the first heresies ever taught: "You will be like God."
However, one of the worst heresies in the book is one of the most subtle. On page 85 he said, "Sin breaks the flow of God's power. This heresy, limited theism, teaches that God isn't all-powerful. If sin can break God's power, then how can God be all-powerful? Sin breaking the flow of God's power means that sin is more powerful than God's power. On page 87, he again mentions man's belief releasing God's power, as if God needs His power to be released by us. Omnipotence is an essential attribute of God. To deny His omnipotence is to blaspheme the true God and to worship a false god.
This book's popularity is only further proof of its danger. This book needs to avoided and warned against, as it elevstes man blasphemes God, and chases a false god and therefore a false gospel.
For a presentation of the true Gospel, please visit this page
Brandon C. Hines
Brandon is a young writer, theologian, and polemicist. He adheres to the 1689 London Baptist Confession and believes in Calvinism, Covenant Theology, Credobaptism, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the Essentials of the Christian Faith.