Posts Tagged ‘prosperity gospel’

Was Jesus Rich?

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 by JEL

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the “prosperity gospel” and how it fits (or doesn’t) with the gospel teachings of Jesus. Now, one minister, Rev. C. Thomas Anderson, senior pastor of the Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona, is claiming that the Jesus we all thought was poor was, in fact, wealthy.

Rev. Anderson points to three pieces of evidence for his claim: (1) the expensive gifts baby Jesus received from the three wise men; (2) the fact that Mary and Joseph rode a donkey (“Cadillac”) to Bethlehem; and (3) that Roman soldiers gambled for Jesus’ undergarments.

Others disagree. Bruce W. Longenecker, a Baylor University religion professor says, “The only way you can make Jesus into a rich man is by advocating torturous interpretations and by being wholly naive historically.” You can read more about the debate here.

“Did Christianity Cause the Crash?”

Friday, December 4th, 2009 by JEL

The title of this post is taken from the title of Hanna Rosin’s fascinating article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic. It covers the ever-growing “prosperity gospel”: the belief that God will provide material wealth for those of great faith. Rosin describes the movement and documents cases of believers (like many non-believers) buying houses they could never afford in the first place because they felt God would provide for them.

The prosperity gospel is much larger than you might think:

  • 50 of the largest 260 churches in the US preach the prosperity gospel.
  • A Pew Research study found that 66% of Pentecostals and 43% of “other Christians” (half of the total respondents) believe that “wealth will be granted to the faithful.”
  • The same survey shows that 73% of religious Latinos agreed with the statement, “God will grant financial success to all believers who have enough faith.”

It’s weird. When I read what Jesus said (made much easier by What He Said), all I see are commands to give until it hurts. And then give some more.