Coleman too stresses the Pentecostal agency of ritual action within experiences of marginalisation. Instead of defining hierarchies of dependency or socio-economic causality he accentuates an explanatory 'model of co-constitution' Coleman In this vein, Prosperity Gospel should be seen as 'a specific regime of practice, in and through which particular moral and political subjects are produced' Coleman Whereas the Comaroffs do more or less refrain from examining the peculiar ritual praxis in Prosperity Gospel related Christianity, Coleman insists on ethnographic validity.
He seeks to scrutinise the specific Prosperity Gospel orthopraxis, its articulations of faith and its prosperity concepts, and he looks at how these are theologised by Pentecostal believers. He then singles out the performative character of prosperity-oriented churches revolving around a 'sacrificial economy' of offerings and tithings.
The productive factor of Prosperity Gospel may not be reduced to acts of sacrificing. However, Coleman's categorisation helps to address the critical issues in the debate on Pentecostal prosperity teachings. Some of these critical issues relate to the Pentecostal theology of tithing. Prosperity preaching identifies tithing as a central dimension in Christian faith, and rituals of tithing occupy large and at times spectacular sections of services. One could claim that such investment in 'tithing' binds much of innovative energy in prosperity-oriented churches.
In the specific connection with 'seed-faith' activity, tithing is a form of sacrificial giving. But how to cope with frustrations over delayed gratification? In the argument of the 'law of faith' the 'sowing' demands a multiplied 'reaping' or return in material benefits. The 'sacrificial economy' therefore is not confined to one-way acts of giving; its ritual composition contains a complementary logic to make plausible the absence of immediate blessings in all day life experiences of a faithful believer.
Yvan Droz and Yonatan Gez convincingly apply Marcel Mauss' theory of gift exchange in this connection. Mauss identified gift exchange as a category to balance unequal social relations by reciprocal bindings of giver and receiver of gifts. Droz and Gez perceive gift exchange in the form of 'tithing' in Prosperity Gospel milieus as a ritualised binding of both believer and God. It helps explaining the loyalty of believers to Prosperity Gospel promises even when experiencing loss and failure instead of material wealth. In short: the rationale of Pentecostal 'sacrificial economy' addresses a believer's troubled expectation of material signs of divine blessing overwhelmed by a sense of continued marginality.
One could argue that such analysis of Pentecostal 'sacrificial economy' is limited to the management of internal processes, both within a believer and within a church. But it may engage with the wider society. An example for the 'co-constitutional' drive of prosperity theology is set with experiences in diasporic contexts. Jeanne Rey exemplifies the adaptations in prosperity teachings in Pentecostal African migrant milieus in Europe and North America. Here, the Pentecostal metaphors of 'seed-planting' and 'harvest', materialised in financial blessings and secure status, contrast with constant constraints by immigration realpolitik.
Gods Will Is Prosperity (PDF)
In such precarious circumstances the existential plausibility of a 'sacrificial economy' once again comes under severe pressure. Despite the absence of material outward signs of divine grace the attraction of Prosperity Gospel stays intact due to a larger, moral economy of blessings. Within migrant milieus, subjective behavioural repositories of the self, attitudes and norms of faith such as trust, prayer or patience gain prominence and coexist with equal right alongside the lasting hopes in material blessings.
African Pentecostal 'sacrificial economy' discloses its social productivity in the shaping of pastoral careers. Karen Lauterbach examines the access to hierarchies in small- to medium-sized urban Pentecostal churches in Ghana. She ascribes the making of young, mostly male Pentecostal pastors to material investment in social relations. The aspiring Pentecostal pastors accept relations of apprenticeship and dependency for their clear ambition to ascend the ladder of religious and social status.
They allocate capital in order to accumulate charismatic power, status and social mobility. The substantial personal sacrifice of money marks the beginning of pastoral careers. These religious entrepreneurs invest in a wide range of activities, from investment in their own higher education to self-organised church-planting events or the setting up of own media activities. All these sacrificial material engagements are part of a strategy to secure spiritual legitimacy and a loyal church membership.
Moreover, they are deemed indispensable for ascending church and social hierarchies simultaneously. Religious entrepreneurship and social mobility both draw on local categories of public recognition. Lauterbach , concludes that:. What is remarkable … is that young men and women are able to 'become someone' in society, achieve status and accumulate wealth through the making of pastoral careers in a general context where the possibilities for social rise are constrained. Lauterbach frames the Pentecostal access to ministry as a motivational form of religio-cultural entrepreneurship in Africa.
A much more sceptical intervention on the use and management of Prosperity Gospel social capital comes from Nigerian sociologist, Asonzeh Ukah. In his compact research oeuvre on Nigerian megachurches, he recurrently detects a 'sacred secrecy' Ukah surrounding finances. According to Ukah, Nigerian megachurches have turned into mere business empires led by 'prophets for profit' Ukah , business-minded religious entrepreneurs. The 'prophets for profit' adopt marketing strategies to mobilise and organise funds; they would act as 'economic missionaries' with a prime interest in generating rent instead of supporting spiritual aims Ukah Church hierarchies are dominated by founding leaders or their representatives.
In organisational terms they lack accountability and financial transparency. Relating to incidences of fraud, Ukah deplores the opaque handling of finances and dubious fiscal accountability. He even locates the systemic structure of such a financial 'sacred secrecy' in the global appearance of Nigerian megachurches. As church organisation is highly centralised, it leaves no space for local agency. Therefore, 'locals do not have access to or influence over, how the church finances are managed and expended' Ukah The 'monetary turn' of Nigerian Pentecostal churches results in the thorough commoditisation of church life.
In the final analysis Asonzeh Ukah identifies an instrumental usage of prosperity theology by founders of megachurches in order to 'transform them into economic, financial and entrepreneurial empires which are completely controlled by their families'. What he basically describes is a Pentecostal kleptocracy. Ukah's verdict on Nigerian megachurches falls short of explaining why, then, such churches excel as megaministries, and what obviously would attract so many believers, even on global levels. It soon had an enormous attraction in lusophone Africa and since its arrival in South Africa developed into the most successful region of expansion outside Brazil Freston The mega-church offers an ultimate form of Prosperity Gospel, which reduces prosperity theology to a limited set of spiritual techniques and some canonised theological formulae of meeting individual desires.
The church encourages its members to 'engage in once-off contracts with God through large monetary funds' Van Wyk UCKG theology cultivates a utilitarian attitude to faith, strongly discouraging community and socialising aspects in its ecclesiology. The social cohesion of congregations rests on purely individual contracts with God mediated through mass monetary sacrifices, as it were, in church services.
The dominant action of members is exactly this sacrificial willingness to give money in the church. Van Wyk summarises UCKG Prosperity Gospel consequently as a way of 'believing practically and trusting socially', however in a social anomaly of a mass of monadic individuals. Being a member in this church means to activate individual financial offerings in order to keep one's personal desires alive, and to concentrate such action in a joint service of 'strangers' who remain strangers to each other Van Wyk The church does even negate acts of community building and charity.
All empathic motives of a believer to address existential needs and desires of fellow-believers, or more so of outsiders are branded as strategic satanic weapons in subverting God's kingdom. The antagonistic perception of social outreach programmes negates offerings to poorer church members and strictly denies addressing poverty within society. This is the central perception of prosperity theology offered by Paul Gifford. Since his pioneering reading of Pentecostal prosperity teachings around , Gifford underlines their limited take on societal and structural matters.
Prosperity doctrine would subvert any effort 'to promote self-help, self-reliance, self-esteem, self-determination, responsibility, and autonomy' Gifford In his recent outline of the Pentecostal movement's general role in the socio-economic transformation of African societies Gifford a still remains sceptical.
He scrutinises the theology of Nigerian David Oyedepo. In Gifford's view Oyedopo 'is prepared to take prosperity to its logical conclusion' Gifford, P. In , Oyedepo founded one of the most prominent new churches on the African continent, Living Faith Church Worldwide, better known as Winners' Chapel. Gifford observed the theological dynamics of Oyedepo's Prosperity Gospel over several decades. In Gifford's long-term analysis, Oyedepo's prosperity theology has kept a perspective strictly limited to individual prospects of success, or internal church-related affairs.
In his final analysis of Oyedepo's theology Gifford b explicates a purist form of prosperity theology that bears no traces of political theology. Neither would Oyedepo in his writings engage in the wider world nor would he be interested in changing social systems or challenging poverty by alternative economies. How can one summarise this debate on the characteristics of Prosperity Gospel religious economy? Actual research on African Prosperity Gospel variants seems unanimously raising doubts over their social capacity.
In the overall picture, the socioeconomics of Prosperity Gospel-related churches ranges somewhere between energising individual believers and the cohesion of single churches, to outright scepticism over and even denial of any church engagement in society. Prosperity theology sometimes excludes social programmes by definition and dismays long-term goals in social change. In empirical perspective, however, these findings deserve some corrections.
Transformational social agency. In empirical terms Prosperity Gospel social profiles are not uniform but diversify according to social milieus and contexts. In his study on Nigerian Pentecostalism, Musa Gaiya categorises this vast spectrum of churches according to their social impact and management of resources. Gaiya offers a dual typology by differentiating centripetal from centrifugal churches. Whereas centripetal Pentecostalism is characterised by an inward-looking ecclesiology, centrifugal churches discover a more outward-looking praxis, employing resources for 'practical social improvement' Gaiya This strand of engaged Pentecostalism is comparatively small but exerts some growing impact in Nigerian society.
Prosperity Gospel does not explicitly feature as a parameter in Gaiya's cataloguing of Pentecostal churches. It is however remarkable to find strong prosperity-oriented churches in both of his centrifugal and centripetal sections. Gaiya's empirical base is restricted to metropolitan Lagos. His local data on centrifugal churches match with an emergent type of socially aware Pentecostalism on global scale.
Members are upwardly mobile and rather well educated. They firmly heed to the image of religious entrepreneur and raise enormous funds. According to Miller and Yamamori a number of these progressive Pentecostal churches are 'addressing the social needs of people in their community'. A quantitative empirical study on South African churches, conducted in , relates such observations to ethical formats. The findings, evaluated by Helga Dickow, are mainly based on churches in Soweto.
They evidence a socially constructive, born-again consciousness of prosperity-oriented Pentecostal churches. Church leaders as well as members claim social responsibility in the new South Africa. They show a high sensitivity on poverty alleviation. Members 'consider the gap between rich and poor to be far wider than any other difference in South African society including racial, religious and ethnic ones' Dickow Even in comparison with other churches the data on attitudes are convincing.
Church representatives and ministers from Grace Bible Church claim to initiate concrete outreach projects. These are mostly neighbourhood and charity-oriented outreach projects ranging from food distribution to the poor to literacy programmes, from the care for the elderly to rehabilitation of ex-prisoners, from HIV-related projects to the pastoral care of abused women and children Mathole The variety of initiatives in centrifugal, progressive Pentecostalism seems remarkable.
The correlation of Pentecostal prosperity theology with an ethics of social responsibility has triggered a key debate guided by 'modernity' assumptions. The urgency to define a certain set of behavioural codes as markers of Pentecostal socio-economic potential and mobilising social ambition revitalises Weberian concepts of the protestant capitalist ethic. Such positioning is strongly advocated by Peter.
Berger's 'simple but far-reaching, proposition' made in a public lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand on 'Faith and Development' in March 'Pentecostalism should be viewed as a positive resource for modern economic development' Berger The confidence in view of the transformational quality of Pentecostal prosperity theology is great. In her influential contribution on 'the Pentecostal ethic and the spirit of development' in Africa Dena Freeman stated that the Pentecostal features of individual transformation of believers would efficiently result in an ethic of sustainable development.
The background of her research is Ethiopian rural highland Pentecostalism. Pentecostal churches would be 'more successful in bringing about change that is effective, deep-rooted and long-lasting' than historically established orthodox and western mission derived Christianity or even secular non-govermental organisations NGOs Freeman Its course shows that categorical assumptions on Prosperity Gospel churches as legitimate and effective change agents are implausible.
Paul Gifford voices a hermeneutics of suspicion over and against Pentecostal assertions of discipline and hard work. He suspects them to belong to a rhetorical set of Pentecostal self-designs in globalising African economies Gifford Supported by empirical South African samples, the ethical authenticity of Prosperity Gospel churches remains dubious. Following some data on South African Pentecostal Christianity presented by the Johannesburg-based Centre for Development and Enterprise the dubious management of financial resources is still disputed and even applies to smaller Pentecostal churches as well.
It is precisely this Centre that had invited P. Berger for his lecture in March This sheds doubts on whether the implementation of such social outreach projects mentioned above is effective or not. Generalising statements on Prosperity Gospel churches as modern agents for socioeconomic transformation need to be tested by comparative case-study approaches in different social contexts.
In insecure local environments, for instance, the Pentecostal theology of prosperity bears the contours of a more introverted message. For instance, in impoverished townships or slums the social reach of Prosperity Gospel messages is oriented to meet existential needs. In their social praxis Pentecostal churches are almost copying the profile and characteristic features of small African Instituted Churches AIC that are much older components of township Christianity than prosperity-oriented churches Cross et al.
Like AIC small Pentecostal churches form neighbourhood support groups that are reactive rather than proactive in nature; they might create small networks of solidarity such as funeral societies or bursary funds for the education of their children, however with little structural impact on society at large. Harri Englund rightly observes that it is the 'quest for security rather than for prosperity' that 'animates the Pentecostal imagination'.
In a typology of prosperity-oriented Pentecostalism in Africa the Prosperity Gospel in small-scale, peri-urban and possibly most rural socio-economic milieus articulates a 'silent theology of survival' Heuser a This is far from proclaiming an illustrious religious entrepreneurship in middle-class, urban Pentecostalism, or from coining another 'spirit of capitalism' expressed by metropolitan megachurches.
Furthermore, the social capital expressed by urban, progressive Pentecostalism remains ambiguous. Miller and Yamamori qualify the kind of social praxis of progressive Pentecostals as 'heroic intensity'. Such puzzling phrasing leaves an impression of activism rather than long-term effects in handling social projects. Consequently, Pentecostal social ministries might still lack professionalism.
Their inward-looking social cohesion may still be stronger than social networking. This assumption, at least, can be drawn out from South African surveys researched by Dickow According to her empirical data the design of Pentecostal grassroots projects does 'not show a high level of trust in their social environment'; even Pentecostals qualified 'progressive', 'tend to feel closest to their co-religionists' in the church Dickow The centrifugal evidence of progressive Pentecostal effect on local contexts and social cooperation seems doubtful.
Outlook: Pentecostal business management ecumenism. So far, measurable proof of African Pentecostal agency to improve social life is small. Some initiatives, however, direct towards strategic implementation of entrepreneurial praxis. They are characterised by long-term networking beyond the range of the same church or church family. Such interaction is basically generated between African Progressive Pentecostals and American churches of the evangelical left, that is churches with a stronger socio-political profile.
Back in Paul Freston envisaged such cooperation triggered by an 'increasingly "social" discourse of prosperity teachers' Freston Their common target is to impact society by practical aspects of prosperity theology. For this reason they engage in business education programmes, either in bilateral cooperation between single churches, or in broader 'ecumenical' initiatives. Warren is the author of two bestsellers ' The Purpose Driven Life ' and ' The Purpose Driven Church ' with which he aims at addressing the five 'Global Goliaths', the problems of 'spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, poverty, disease and ignorance' quoted in Gifford East Africa has been selected as a pilot area to conduct a series of, as it were, 'purpose driven' conferences.
The conference programme seeks to familiarise African churches with business management Christianity. These seminars are open to any church. The acronym PEACE stands for 'plant a church or partner with an existing one'; 'equip local leaders'; 'assist the poor'; 'care for the sick'; 'educate the next generation'. This programme advocates ideas of modern management studies and marketing strategies to be implemented in Pentecostal church structures. It promotes techniques of administration and investment, norms of accounting, the handling of debts as elementary aspects of church structures.
Participants are encouraged to transfer entrepreneurial skills into congregational life and use these skills in the management of social projects run by churches Heuser b If this project intends to connect representatives of diverse churches around the idea of business management, other initiatives are geared towards a viable institutional network of churches. This includes the founding of educational institutions with a priority on economics.
Their mission statements stress personal responsibility for acquiring business skills and strategic business behaviour for realising material wealth. In such intentional cooperation between single African-American and West African megaministries, Daniels observes the move from consumption of wealth to entrepreneurship. According to these recent observations the pragmatic revision of Prosperity Gospel takes place when Prosperity Gospel doctrines merge with business education.
This still occupies a smaller section of prosperity theology-oriented African Pentecostalism. In general, the intense scholarly debate on Prosperity Gospel and the connection between African Pentecostalism and socio-economic change defies a generalised view. Prosperity Gospel concepts relate to a diversity of Pentecostal perspectives on society and disclose a varied agency in socio-economic change. A township-based ethics of survival is different from an urban and middle-class 'progressive' Pentecostalism; while business management oriented churches have aspirations to transform society, the socio-economic horizon of churches entertaining a strong sacred secrecy around prosperity rather remains short-term and confined to internal dynamics.
However, the actual impact of Prosperity Gospel messages in the broader landscape of churches is growing. This goes along with a general tendency to explore social outreach programs. At least, as I argued elsewhere, 'poverty alleviation has meanwhile become an integral part of the self-perception of the Pentecostal movement' Heuser a, author's translation.
At this stage, the Pentecostal narrative of social awareness in most cases follows the Prosperity Gospel semantics of success, transformation and visibility in society. Despite all heterogeneity some key elements of African Prosperity Gospel substantiate the Pentecostal ambition to impact socio-economic life.
Prosperity Gospel-oriented churches are usually self-funded and focus on individual transformation. Pentecostal techniques of the self encouraged 'breaking with the past' rather than a post-secular revisit of it. This may lead to transformations of immediate social relationships, like opting out of family networks or substituting expensive feasts and rites of passage funerals, weddings.
I join in the argument pushed by David Maxwell that. Their strong sense of identity formation, at least, has energising effects on a pro-capitalist or entrepreneurial ethos. The Pentecostal spiritual economy of self-discipline cultivates inner-worldly materialism and success orientation. The stress on born-again personal transformation can obviously mobilise social participation. In terms of life attitudes members of Prosperity Gospel churches 'feel less powerless, are less afraid of the future, and are more willing to accept change' Dickow Yet, the Pentecostal prosperity theology impact on structural parameters of society is still in need of closer empirical investigation - so far, it remains visionary.
I am grateful to the sub-editors for inviting me to contribute to this special collection. The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article. Agana, W. Anderson, A. Berger, P. Heuser ed. Bowler, K. Centre for Development and Enterprise, , 'South Africa, under the radar: Pentecostalism in South Africa and its potential social and economic role', in K.
A Meditation For When You're Stressing About Money
Yong eds. Coleman, S. Debating the "Sacrificial Economy"', in L. Wood eds. Comaroff, J. Lindhardt ed. Chidester, A. The Bible is seen as a faith contract between God and believers; God is understood to be faithful and just, so believers must fulfill their end of the contract to receive God's promises. This leads to a belief in positive confession, the doctrine that believers may claim whatever they desire from God, simply by speaking it.
Prosperity theology teaches that the Bible has promised prosperity for believers, so positive confession means that believers are speaking in faith what God has already spoken about them. Positive confession is practiced to bring about what is already believed in; faith itself is a confession, and speaking it brings it into reality. The teaching is often based on non-traditional interpretations of Bible verses,  the Book of Malachi often being given special attention.
While Malachi has generally been celebrated by Christians for its passages about the messiah, teachers of prosperity theology usually draw attention to its descriptions of physical wealth. Prosperity theology casts itself as the reclamation of true doctrine and thus part of a path to Christian dominion over secular society. Peter Wagner , a leader of the New Apostolic Reformation , has argued that if Christians take dominion over aspects of society, the Earth will experience "peace and prosperity". They often view this as a Roman Catholic doctrine that should be discarded and replaced with an emphasis on prosperity.
Prosperity churches place a strong emphasis on the importance of giving. Some services include a teaching time focused on giving and prosperity, including Biblical references to tithing ; and then a sermon on another topic which follows the offering. Prosperity church leaders often claim a specific blessing can be exchanged for the money being donated to their ministry; some have been reported to instruct worshipers to hold their donations above their heads during the prayer. Congregants in prosperity churches are encouraged to speak positive statements about aspects of their lives that they wish to see improved.
These statements, known as positive confessions distinct from confessions of sin , are said to miraculously change aspects of people's lives if spoken with faith.
Jakes , pastor of The Potter's House non-denominational mega-church, has argued in favor of prosperity, rejecting what he sees as the demonization of success. He views poverty as a barrier to living a Christian life, suggesting that it is easier to make a positive impact on society when one is affluent. While some prosperity churches have a reputation for manipulating and alienating the poor,  many are involved in social programs.
Underlying these programs is a theology of empowerment and human flourishing with the goal of releasing people from a "welfare" or "victim" mentality.
Kate Bowler, an academic who studies prosperity theology, has criticized such seminars, arguing that though they contain some sound advice the seminars often emphasize the purchase of expensive possessions. She maintains that home ownership was heavily emphasized in prosperity churches, based on reliance on divine financial intervention that led to unwise choices based on actual financial ability. Most churches in the prosperity movement are non-denominational and independent, though some groups have formed networks.
They argue that leaders attempt to control the lives of adherents by claiming divinely bestowed authority.
- Biofuels, Land Grabbing and Food Security in Africa (Africa Now)?
- Mindshaft Nights.
- Swiss in Wisconsin (People of Wisconsin).
- The Divine Equation for Material & Financial Prosperity on Apple Books.
- Eat My Words!
- Yorba Legends.
In the United States, the movement has drawn many followers from the middle class  and is most popular in commuter towns and urban areas. Tony Lin of the University of Virginia has also compared the teaching to manifest destiny ,  the 19th-century belief that the United States was entitled to the West. Marvin Harris argues that the doctrine's focus on the material world is a symptom of the secularization of American religion.
He sees it as an attempt to fulfill the American Dream by using supernatural power.
Gods Will Is Prosperity (PDF)
Prosperity theology has become popular among poor Americans , particularly those who seek personal and social advancement. Simon Coleman developed a theory based on the doctrine's rhetoric and the feeling of belonging it gave parishioners. In a study of the Swedish Word of Life Church, he noted that members felt part of a complex gift-exchange system, giving to God and then awaiting a gift in return either from God directly or through another church member.
Marion Maddox has argued that this message has drawn a significant number of upwardly mobile Australians. In a interview in Christianity Today , Bong Rin Ro of the Asia Graduate School of Theology suggested that the growth in popularity of prosperity theology in South Korea reflects a strong "shamanistic influence". Bong pointed to parallels between the tradition of paying shamans for healing and the prosperity theology's contractual doctrine about giving and blessings.
Asia's economic problems, he argued, encouraged the growth of the doctrine in South Korea, though he claims it ignores the poor and needy. During the interview, he stated that he saw the problem beginning to be reversed, citing calls for renewed faith and other practices. This criticism has focused on his healing and exorcism ministries and his promise of material blessings. Malaysian Christian writer Hwa Yung has defended Cho's healing and exorcism ministries, arguing that he successfully contextualized the Gospel in a culture where shamanism was still prevalent.
However, Hwa criticizes Cho's teaching of earthly blessings for not reflecting a trust in God's daily provision and for their heavy focus on earthly wealth. Historian Carter Lindberg of Boston University has drawn parallels between contemporary prosperity theology and the medieval indulgence trade. Coleman has speculated that modern-day prosperity theology borrows heavily from the New Thought movement, though he admits that the connection is sometimes unclear.
Matthew Wilson of Southern Methodist University compares the movement to Black theology owing to its focus on uplifting oppressed groups, though he notes that it differs in its concentration on individual success rather than corporate political change. Mainstream evangelicalism has consistently opposed prosperity theology as heresy  and prosperity ministries have frequently come into conflict with other Christian groups, including those within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.
Kent Hughes notes that some 1st-century rabbis portrayed material blessings as a sign of God's favor. He cites Jesus' statement in Mark that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" KJV as evidence to oppose such thinking. Other critics of the movement assail promises made by its leaders, arguing that the broad freedom from problems they promise is irresponsible. For instance, some theologians believe that the life and writings of Paul the Apostle , who is believed to have experienced significant suffering during his ministry, are particularly in conflict with prosperity theology.
During his earthly tenure, he spoke time and again about the importance of spiritual wealth and health. When he talked about material wealth, it was usually part of a cautionary tale. In their book Health, Wealth and Happiness , theologians David Jones and Russell Woodbridge characterize the doctrine as poor theology. He also argues that the proponents of the doctrine misconstrue the atonement, criticizing their teaching that Jesus' death took away poverty as well as sin.
He believes that this teaching is drawn from a misunderstanding of Jesus' life and criticizes John Avanzini 's teaching that Jesus was wealthy as a misrepresentation,  noting that Paul often taught Christians to give up their material possessions. Although he accepts giving as "praiseworthy",  he questions the motives of prosperity theology and criticizes the "Law of Compensation",  which teaches that when Christians give generously, God will give back more in return.
Rather, Jones cites Jesus' teaching to "give, hoping for nothing in return". But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" KJV. In , the General Council of the Assemblies of God criticized the doctrine of positive confession,  noting examples of negative confessions in the Bible where Biblical figures express fears and doubts that had positive results and contrasting these examples with the focus on positive confessions taught by prosperity theology.
The Council argues that the biblical Greek word often translated as "confess" literally translates as "to speak the same thing", and refers to both positive and negative confessions. Oaks stated that people who believe in "the theology of prosperity" are deceived by riches. He continued by saying that the "possession of wealth or significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor". He also cited how Jesus differentiated the attitudes towards money held by the young rich man in Mark —24, the good Samaritan, and Judas Iscariot in his betrayal.
Oaks concluded this portion of his sermon by highlighting that the "root of all evil is not money but the love of money". A Harper's Magazine article asserted that Mormon beliefs were like the prosperity gospel and Protestant work ethic "on steroids. In a lengthy segment, Oliver focused on what he characterized as the predatory conduct of televangelists who appeal for repeated gifts from people in financial distress or personal crises, and he criticized the very loose requirements for entities to obtain tax exempt status as churches under U.
Oliver said that he would ultimately donate any money collected by the church to Doctors Without Borders. The authors distinguished the prosperity gospel from Max Weber 's Protestant ethic , noting that the protestant ethic related prosperity to religiously inspired austerity while the prosperity gospel saw prosperity as the simple result of personal faith. They criticized many aspects of the prosperity gospel, noting particularly the tendency of believers to lack compassion for the poor, since their poverty was seen as a sign that they had not followed the rules and therefore are not loved by God.
Notable works that advocate prosperity theology include:   . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Belief by certain Christians. Not to be confused with The Gospel of Wealth. Main article: Healing Revival. Main article: Word of Faith. See also: Social Gospel. Christianity portal. Retrieved December 4, The Atlantic. Retrieved August 2, The Guardian. Retrieved February 13, The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 29, Retrieved December 29, Retrieved February 5, Peter November 1, Retrieved December 21, Christianity Today.
Retrieved January 19, The Christian Post. Retrieved November 21, The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press.