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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

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(5) Prosperity is more than just receiving “basic” needs.  The difficulty with the prosperity gospel is defining what basic human needs are.  How does anyone define basic human needs? Cultural norms normally set the parameters for basic needs, but most would identify food, clothing and shelter as primary human needs. Vargis explains that God’s prosperity is more than that.  He writes,

Some people think that ‘daily bread’ is only chappati and daal (bread and butter).  I do not think so.  I strongly believe that it means that you can ask for everything you need on that day – from toothpaste in the morning, to breakfast, transportation, good health, education for your children, the various needs of your children, the marriage of your daughter, the admission of your son into the university, moving from a rented building to your own house, to be with your family, healing the pain in your leg, and finally for a good sleep.[27]

This expands prosperity in an Indian context to include simple luxuries that are true blessings. This is an example of the God who can “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).


(6) Prosperity does not promote greed, but must be balanced with a simple lifestyle. Vargis is quick not to embrace the crass materialism of some in the West who have taken the prosperity gospel to an ungodly extreme. Vargis writes, “I do not believe in (an) extreme prosperity gospel stretched beyond what God said and misused by people to raise money to live a Sultan’s life.”[28]  He is balanced in his understanding of prosperity.  Vargis wants to avoid any kind of prosperity teaching that breaks the boundaries of selflessness.  His motivation is to relieve suffering under the mandate to proclaim the gospel in its “whole person” fullness.  


Furthermore, while he preaches a strong prosperity message, he also encourages

others to live a life of simplicity.  This is his testimony.  He writes,

I live a simple life. Do not misunderstand me – I am not preaching (a) poverty gospel, neither do I practice it….I spend money if it is really necessary. I have not saved any thing [sic], money, land or (a) house for me or my children. Whatever I get for the ministry is put into the ministry…Live a simple life and give all the rest to the mission – that is my policy.[29]

Vargis’ unselfishness and sacrificial giving to the ministry of the gospel gives him a holy platform to declare his message of prosperity.  When Vargis stands to proclaim to his fellow Indians, “Come to Jesus. He will give you a house.  If you are sick, come to my Jesus.  He will heal you.  If you are poor, come to my Jesus.  He will take care of you” – he does so with nothing more than a heart of compassion.


Summary and Remarks

The prosperity gospel, which is prolific in independent charismatic ministries, is not an American gospel.  It is not a baptized version of the American dream.  It is not a case of cultural conformity.  Prosperity is a physical manifestation of the coming of the kingdom of God to counter sin and its destructive force upon creation.  Vargis’ contribution to the prosperity message is ample evidence that the prosperity gospel is not a “made in the USA” product that has been exported to the world.  Vargis began preaching a prosperity gospel by his own study of Scripture illuminated by the Holy Spirit.  Vargis brings a need balance to the prosperity gospel.  His exhortation to lead a simple life can hold the prosperity gospel in a biblical balance.  Charismatic ministries in the West can avoid much of the prosperity extremes if they would adopt Vargis’ attitude.


© 2001 Derek E. Vreeland

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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