Sir, I read with some interest your cry against 'cults' such as those preaching the prosperity gospel. Although I agree that they mis-quote the Bible, I am still struck by your own self-reflection. As a Protestant you most likely preach that the Bible should be read and understood by the individual. Therefore many people will interpret the Bible in many different ways; thus a Seventh Day Adventist (who claims to be Bible-based) will not eat pork, whereas a Lutheran might. An Anglican might take part in the Eucharist, but a Presbyterian might partake in bread. You all claim to believe in the Bible. Who then is right? How do you know that your interpretation is correct, and your neighbor's is not? Who actually put the Bible together anyway? I ask this because there is another underlying question; why is your Bible correct, and not a collection that might include (for instance) "The Gospel according to Peter"?
The real issue is, does a person have a saving faith in Jesus Christ, or not? Has a person really put their faith in Jesus as very God, the Son of God, come into the world in true human form to die for our sins, or not? And does that person rely exclusively on his/her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, or not? We are saved by grace through faith (Eph.2:8-9), and for all who truly are disciples of Jesus Christ, following Him faithfully in this life, growing through the milk of the Word, growing in love, and reflecting His love to the world in what they think and say and do (and helping others to do likewise), for those, that is, for whom living is Christ, and dying is gain (Phil.1:21), our relationship with Jesus Christ, now and forever, is what counts.
Without the Bible, we would not know Christ. We would not know who He is or what He has done for us, or what He would have us do. The Bible is about Him from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, and it is only through diligent study of the scriptures that we draw closer to Him. For without the truth, and the Bible is the only place we can find God's truth, there would be no way to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (Jn.4:21-24).
The Bible breaths forth the very Person of God on every page, in every verse. The gospel of Peter? I don't think you could find me five true believers in Jesus Christ anywhere on the planet who think it is part of the Bible. If you do, we'll have them read it, and they will know instantly that it could not be. Because the true scriptures are filled with the power of God's Spirit and smash all humanly contrived substitutes to dust in any comparison – for those who have the Spirit of God, for those who are truly believers in Jesus, for those who have been reading the Bible.
It is definitely not the case (as many who have not dedicated themselves to Bible study often assume) that more study and more familiarity with scripture results in an explosion of false interpretation – that is a fallacy which all groups who wish to hold authority close to the vest and so be able to dictate to their adherents what is true and what is not independent of the Bible often like to claim. Quite the contrary, what happens when a person truly sets himself to seek God through His Word is an implosion of truth reinforcing and illuminating truth, until every scripture agrees with every other, and it becomes clear at the end of the day that the message of the Bible is one – salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, painted in an electrifying, kaleidoscopic and dazzling pallet of truth upon truth in the power of the Holy Spirit.
No one can prove this to you rationally (it is supernatural). And no one can put God's fire into you – you have to choose. But if it is your endeavor to seek God no matter what the consequences may be, then I commend the scriptures to you. They will lead you to the same place. Instead of a confused jumble of paths, all scripture leads to the one road, the One way, Jesus Christ. If you persevere on this path, you will find salvation, peace, power, glory, and joy indescribable – and the Bible itself will help you to find the right place to go for teaching and steer you away from the wrong places (q.e.d. re: prosperity gospel). First have faith that God has given you the truth in His Word and set yourself to reading and studying that Word – and God will definitely not fail to provide for you the teaching you need to grow from His Word.
For more information, please see the link: Read your Bible: Protection against Cults.
The choice is yours – may God grant you the grace to want Him as much as He wants you.
In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,