And what is prosperity in the Christian sense? Much of it boils down to semantics. I heard one preacher put it this way: “Prosperity is having enough of God’s provisions to complete his mission for your life.” Assuming this is true, then it doesn’t mean one necessarily needs a mansion or a fancy car. Having food, health, and a home is prosperity. Or prosperity could mean affluence in the 21st century American sense of the word.
The other big question is one of motive. Do you believe that prosperity will be a natural byproduct of a deep abiding faith (based on the promises of the aforementioned scripture) — or do you “worship” God just to get the stuff? The former is perfectly defensible, while the latter is a sin to be avoided.
It’s not as if the people criticizing the Osteens are living a life of asceticism. Many probably live in nice houses and drive nice cars. And money is not the root of all evil. The operative word is “love” — as in the love of money is the root of all evil. So yeah, if you love God to get money, that’s a real problem. But if you love God no matter what, but also believe that loving God might somehow naturally lead you to attain a more prosperous life — what’s wrong with that?