“American Gospel: Christ Alone” Is Now On Netflix

For far too many American and global Christians, the “prosperity gospel” is all they know of Christianity. For far too many Christians what the Scriptures actually teach about the law and the gospel is almost entirely unknown. Their leaders and influences are complete charlatans such as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Joel Osteen. As Mike Horton showed years ago, for many Christless Christianity is Christianity. It takes other forms too but the “health and wealth” message is perhaps its most garish form. In this new film Brandon Kimber tackles this topic and related questions. Is Christianity really about “being a good person”? What is salvation? How are people saved and what consequences does this have for their life? What hath Oprah to do with Christianity? For that matter, what hath Norman Vincent Peale to do with Christianity?

This is a full-length film exposing the message of false teachers such as Benny Hinn through video clips and interviews with his nephew Costi Hinn, who grew up in that world and has repented of it and now embraced historic and biblical Christianity. It also features an exposition of the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide), in Christ alone. Brandon interviews some folks from the old, settled and Reformed world, e.g., Mike Horton, Julius Kim, and me along with a number of figures from the Young, Restless, and Reforming world (e.g., Matt Chandler, John Piper).

I was aware of the church growth movement and of course of some of the aspects of the health and wealth movements (which the film connects as part of the “American Gospel”) but I was naïve about some of the features of the so-called prosperity gospel, some of the tricks the so-called “faith healers” use, and just how extravagantly they live. Hearing from Costi about growing up in the movement and amidst its excesses, lies, and abuses was eye-opening. The film traces the history of the health and wealth movement which I found helpful. Listening to the stories of those who were taken in by the movement and have now emerged to embrace the biblical understanding of the good news is encouraging and a sobering warning about how influential and harmful the American Gospel really is.

You can now see this film on Netflix. This is a great opportunity to point your family, friends, and neighbors to this resource since they may already have a Netflix subscription and will be able to see it easily.


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  1. If I remember correctly, Walter Martin host of the radio program The Bible Answer Man, wrote a book on this same subject entitled, “The Kingdom of the Cults.” I got myself a copy after listening to Hank Hanegraaff (who took over the program after Martin died) hawk it repeatedly in the late 90’s. Having grown up in a confessional Lutheran environment (LCMS) the spectacle of things discussed in Martin’s book and by Hank on the radio came as quite a shock. I knew of these “televangelists,” but had no idea of the depth to which some of them had taken Christianity. It was after that when I began to explore just exactly what American protestantism actually was by reading people like Horton, Riddlebarger, Sproule, Hart, and yourself. Interesting how the flow of events changes people’s direction and thinking.

  2. The worst of the Prosperity preachers are truly awful. When there provable deception we should sue. The softer ones are harder to critique. For one thing, they often appeal to people who are coming from the fundamentalist/Calvinist camps which promotes worm theology.

    I just feel sorry for Costi Hinn. He has been led from a disastrous corner of one camp to the G3 conference Calvinists.

    Calvinist Twitter is rampant with discernment ministries that are so to listen and quick to rebuke. Walking amongst that minefield is exhausting as well.

    • Leslie,

      I have expressed serious reservations about the G3 folks. Are they “Calvinists”? Only if that means “predestinarian” but I think that’s a poor definition of Calvinist. Historically, before WWII Calvinist referred to those who hold the Reformed confessions (e.g., the Heidelberg, Belgic, Dort, & Westminster). Now, it is used so broadly that there are relatively few major figures in church history who aren’t, by that broad definition, “Calvinist.”

      I know Costi a little. I’m hoping that he will continue his reformation journey all the way to the Reformed Reformation (as distinct from the G3 folk, whom I regard as a kind of on-ramp to the Reformation).

      Who are the “soft” prosperity preachers?

  3. I just watched it a few days ago and I absolutely loved it! Loved to see Michael Horton, R. Scott Clark, et al, clearly explaining how we are saved by grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE. Watching it felt like drinking a cold glass of lemonade in the middle of the “do more-try harder”/moralistic desert we live in.

  4. I found this movie a bit confusing. I’m familiar with Benny Hinn and Todd White and have always viewed them as people taking advantage of others. I also listen to John Piper and Matt Chandler and find their teaching in line with the Bible, but I’ve also read Joyce Meyers’s book Battle of the mind, and enjoy Rick Warren’s teaching and have never viewed them as heretics. Where is the line between a difference in theology and false teaching?

  5. watched it the other day, I must say I loved it. I used to be vested in the “prosperity gospel” years ago but slowly opened my eyes to it. NOW thanks to shows like these and other true bible believing/living/preaching people, I got away from it. The more I read and studied the bible for myself, the more I saw for myself they had deceived me. And yes, Benny, Kenneth, Joel and many others (can we throw trump in this scary bunch?) has some hard core supporters that will never turn from them or their teachings who are ferociously defending them, which is not the same thing as defending the actual word of G-d. Crazy (yet prophesied) times we live in.

  6. Watched it with my family, loved it!

    It’s hard for me to believe something that explicitly religious would not only be on Netflix, but be branded as a Netflix product.

    • No, they redistribute lots of other platforms’ content, for instance Breaking Bad from AMC, The Good Place from NBC, etc etc. Nowadays they have grown into a massive producer, but in the early days (back when Blockbuster was still alive!) there wasn’t even any streaming, their killer app was renting DVDs by USPS mail.

      Nowadays their branded content is mostly entertainment, a little bit of documentary.

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