American Gospel?

American Gospel: Christ Alone
Directed by Brandon Kimber
Transition Studios, 2018, 139 minutes

5 Stars

The documentary, “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” was first released in October 2018, and I’ve been meaning to see it ever since. I was recently made aware that the film is available on Netflix and watched it with my wife over the course of two evenings.

First off, the documentary establishes what the genuine Gospel is: salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The film does an EXCELLENT job of contrasting the genuine Gospel with Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Grateful kudos to Kimber and all involved for their uncompromising stand.

The documentary continues to establish what the Gospel isn’t as it turns its attention to the increasingly popular word of faith, health and wealth, prosperity false gospel. Pentecostalism, with its claims of restoring the apostolic gifts of the Holy Spirit (tongues, healing, prophecy), had its beginnings in 1901 at the Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas. Pentecostalism spread and its practices eventually entered mainline Protestant denominations via the charismatic movement beginning in 1960. Pentecostals/charismatics emphasized subjective religious experiences. Key teachings that grew out of this movement are that God will heal all sicknesses (health) and that God will provide abundant material blessings (wealth) IF the suppliant has enough faith AND contributes sacrificially to the minister or church.

Prosperity gospel pastors, evangelists, and faith healers exploit people’s desire to be healthy and wealthy. This documentary exposes some of the biggest charlatans in the prosperity “industry” including Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Bill Johnson, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Todd White. The film also points out that the prosperity gospelers have sought rapprochement and unity with Roman Catholicism via the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The defenders of the genuine Gospel of grace featured in this film include Paul Washer, Costi Hinn, Ray Comfort, Steven Lawson, Mike Gendron, Justin Peters, and John MacArthur.

This is a vitally important and masterful exposé of the word of faith, health and wealth, prosperity gospel sham and I highly recommend it to every believer. As I mentioned, it’s readily available on Netflix.

Postscript #1: The title of this documentary, “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” is confusing in its incongruity. The “American Gospel” portion alludes to the fact that the prosperity gospel has its roots in American Pentecostalism and is now being exported to all corners the world. The subtitle, “Christ Alone,” refers to the contrasting genuine Gospel. In general usage, a subtitle complements/clarifies the main title rather than contradicts it.

Postscript #2: Discerning viewers will note a couple of subtle dichotomies in this documentary. (1) Well known pastor, John Piper, is featured as one of the critics of the prosperity gospel, yet he embraces Pentecostal/charismatic practices; the wellspring of “health and wealth” theology. (2) Some of the featured defenders of the genuine Gospel include individuals identified as employees of RZIM – Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. In contrast to the warnings against ecumenism with Rome presented in this film, apologist, Ravi Zacharias (d. May 19, 2020), championed ecumenism with Roman Catholicism! I’ll be discussing more about Zacharias in an upcoming post.

My blogging friend, Bruce, had a concern about this post and I thought it would be helpful to post our exchange from his blog’s comments section. Thanks, Bruce!

Bruce: I noticed that you lumped all Pentecostals with the NAR and that is not necessarily true, this link refers:

Tom: Thanks, Bruce. I get it. As a cessationist, I am more apt to overlook/dismiss distinctions that a continuationist would not. I have read criticisms of this documentary from pro-prosperity, Arminian continuationists who note that all of the well-known spokespersons for the genuine Gospel in this documentary are Reformed. That’s fine with me as I lean towards Calvinism. The argument of the pro-prosperity Arminian continuationists is that the spokespersons in the documentary attack their views while harboring their own “heresies,” i.e., predestination. Glad you brought this up so we could present various views. As an ex-Catholic and a cessationist, I believe continuationists are in a bit of pickle when it comes to ecumenism with Rome. Catholic Charismatics (including tens of thousands of priests) who still hold to Rome’s false gospel and are not born-again according to the genuine Gospel manifest the requisite “gifts of the spirit.” Anti-ecumenical continuationists argue that the Catholic charismatics are manifesting counterfeit gifts, but you can see this is problematic.

29 thoughts on “American Gospel?

  1. When I saw the trailer 2 weeks ago in itunes, Tom, I hunt for it and I’m still hoping it will be available in other steaming services. No, not in this region of Netflix, only the Old Guard that I just watched prior reading this. I’m hoping Netflix will make this and the CHRIST crucified sequel be made available here in Asia. Thank you for this review, Tom. GOD bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kent. I hope you’re able to view it in the future. My wife really benefited from watching this documentary because she wasn’t well-versed in the prosperity gospel shenanigans. God bless you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. GOD willing, Tom, because I’m excited to watch it especially now that it passed your radar. I’m happy that your wife benefitted from it. GOD is good that there are still those who produces documentaries and movies like that despite this hedonistic world we are in. The second installment is also intetrsting as it shows the views of those (atheists etc) who really need to experience transformation of the heart from GOD.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tom, I watched this whole thing last night, wow! I have been very outspoken against the Prosperity Gospel/Word of Faith movement. I thought of you when the documentary discussed the RCC gospel and their charts they used really helped this visual learner!! On two occasions when I was in an airport I witnessed a man who asked if anyone in my group had back pain and then proceeded to do the leg length discrepancy test/healing. I also witnessed this being done to a random person as well. I am thankful to have learned the origin of this! Like you, I hope all believers tune in and watch this documentary.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I just finished “The Plot Against America” and I need to write a review. It will be a short one. I’ve accumulated about 15 “ideas” that aren’t “post worthy” by themselves. Need to put together another “Odds & Ends” post.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I actually started drafting a post about “managing” my blog. As part of that, I kept track of all of my WordPress-associated minutes for each day this past week. Quite surprising.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s definitely nerdy stuff. The only problem was I often forgot to start the stopwatch again when I interacted with comments. Oh well, the total time will still be surprising.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I watched a video of charlatan Todd White’s reaction, claiming the doc was “demonic.”
      Right out of the gate, Kimber did a thorough job distinguishing between the genuine Gospel and Rome’s false gospel. I wasn’t expecting that and was quite pleased.

      Liked by 1 person

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