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Derek Vreeland

This paper was written by Derek Vreeland.

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Derek Vreeland holds an M.Div degree from Oral Roberts University. He is the assistant pastor of Cornerstone Church in Americus, Georgia.

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Articles > Charismatic Theology > P.G. Vargis and the Indian Prosperity Gospel

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Footnotes

The Rise of an Indian Prosperity Gospel

No matter the degree of effort in putting on the blinders of pure objectivity, our theology is shaped by our experience. This postmodern reality is exemplified in the development of Vargis’ understanding of prosperity. It grew out of his own personal experience. In the infancy of his faith, Vargis did not incorporate prosperity into his faith.  He confessed that he believed that suffering from poverty was God’s will for the believer and wealth and prosperity were evil.[14] This was the accepted theological position on the issue for most Indian Christians.  He writes, “In Indian assemblies, believers shy away from testimonies of success and material prosperity.  We prefer to list our sufferings and losses after we accept Jesus as Lord.”[15] According to Vargis, the tendency to highlight suffering over prosperity in Indian Christianity is culturally driven. Indians who convert to the Christian faith often lose their jobs and are cut off from their families.  Out of their suffering they look to the Scripture to find verses that validate their experience.[16]


Early in his ministry, Vargis accepted poverty as the will of God for Christians. In 1981, a paradigm shift occurred. Vargis and his family were living in a one-room house in Pathankot.  In the middle of the night, he was awakened by his nine-year old son, Aby who needed to use the bathroom. The family of seven slept together on the floor and there was no toilet connected to the house. Vargis escorted his son outside into the fields.  While standing outside in the cool night, Vargis began to ask himself, “Why should my house not have a toilet.  Why shouldn’t I have a house with two rooms if God is my Father?” This experience caused Vargis to re-examine the Scripture.  Whereas before he searched the Scriptures concerning suffering and poverty to justify his poverty as the will of God, he now searched the Scripture for verses on God’s goodness, blessing, and prosperity. From this revelatory experience, Vargis came to understand and teach six principles concerning the gospel of prosperity.[17]  (1) God is a good God who wants good things for his children. (2) Prosperity is a part of salvation. (3) Poverty is evil. (4) Prosperity comes as a result of active faith in God. (5) Prosperity is more than “basic” needs. (6) Prosperity is not an opportunity for greed, but for simplicity in lifestyle. These he developed without any major influence from the West.  John Osteen, a well-known prosperity preacher in his own right, confirmed the paradigm-shift.  Osteen’s guiding influence was more conformational than foundational. And Vargis claims no significant influence from any Western faith preachers.[18]


Examining Vargis’ Theology of Prosperity                                                                                                     

(1) The foundation upon which Vargis builds his theology of prosperity is the transcendent goodness of God. Prosperity is a part of the will of God, because it is a reflection of his nature. Commenting on the prayer of Jabez, Vargis writes,

You need to have the right view of God – that He is a good God, He is a God who blesses, He is a God who wants you to be free from pain. If you assign to Him attributes that He does not have – a punishing God, a God who wants you to be sick and poor, a God who does not care – then your prayers will be limited.[19]

God does not choose to act in accordance with goodness in an arbitrary manner.  Rather God extends his hands of goodness and blessing, because it is who he is. The Pslamist declares, “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NIV). While Vargis accepted this as a theological given, he made the connection between God’s goodness and the fulfillment of physical needs such as food, housing, transportation, education, etc. God’s goodness is realized by meeting the needs of his children.


For Vargis, this goodness is motivated by God’s love to act benevolent towards his children, just as any loving father would act.  In The Keys to Miracles, He writes, “God desires that we should be in good health and prosper. This is your Father’s will for you.  Will any of you desire that your son must go hungry or be in need or be sick? Not even a wicked father desires that.”[20] It is inconceivable that God would allow the sufferings of poverty to continue in the homes of his children to whom his goodness has been extended. Vargis observes that any good parent would not allow his children to go hungry or remain in need.  Therefore, how can a Christian envision a heavenly Father who would do less?

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Footnotes

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User Contributed Comments

sony abraham
Friday 19th of August 2005

i full agree with bro p g vargis and have had personal experiences of god blessing his people when they put their trust in him to bless them

Wednesday 07th of September 2005


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