Prosperity Gospel unmasked: 11-25-09
November 25, 2009
The foolish "Prosperity Gospel" is nothing new. Various Christian journalists and analysts have been complaining about it for years. But in the past few weeks, it has emerged again not just in the Christian press but also in the secular media.
Christianity Today, generally seen as an evangelical voice, has written this piece about the emergence of the Prosperity Gospel in Africa. It properly sets off alarms about how this misuse of the gospel is affecting poor areas of the world.
Then, in the current (December) issue of The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin writes about whether the Prosperity Gospel can be blamed, at least in part, for the current economic recession in which the U.S. finds itself.
So what is the gospel of health and wealth on demand? Just that. It's the message that God wants you to be prosperous and, indeed, that God gives prosperity to favored people. It's a radical perversion of the traditional gospel but because it has within it a kernel of truth, it has been used by all kinds of unscrupulous preachers to line their own pockets.
People sometimes seem desperate to think that God approves their lusts, whether physical or material, and the Prosperity Gospel preachers are only too happy to accommodate them.
I'm glad a good part of the Christian press continues to warn people against this perverted gospel, and it's also nice to see the secular media bringing the matter to the attention of a wider audience. Will people still fall for it? Of course. But at least they can't say they haven't been warned.
(The art here today is from https://zone.artizans.com/images/previews/KOZ107.300.jpg.)
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THE FAITHFULNESS OF SCIENTISTS
Scientists, it turns out, are no less religious -- and perhaps more so -- than they were a century ago, it's reported. It's further evidence that it's quite possible to be committed to the scientific method all the while making room for metaphysical questions that science can never answer. I've never imagined that a commitment to science and a commitment to faith are mutually exclusive.
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P.S.: My latest column for The Presbyterian Outlook now is online. To read it, click here. To read previous Outlook columns, look for a link to them under the "Check this out" headline on the right side of this page.
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NOTE: The online catalog containing information about the writing class I'll teach next July at Ghost Ranch now is available. For the page about my class in that catalog, click here. For more information about the class, look for the Ghost Ranch link under the "Check this out" headline on the ride side of this page.