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How the Prosperity Gospel Works

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Author's Note: How the Prosperity Gospel Works

Each of us are looking for answers and inspiration to help us overcome personal struggles and find happiness. I don't fault or judge people that cling to the message of the prosperity gospel. When you listen to actual sermons by folks like Joel Osteen or Joseph Prince, there isn't an explicit focus on getting rich. It's much more about focusing your energy and your faith on making the changes in your life that will bring you joy and fulfillment. The implicit message is that some of that joy and fulfillment will come from being more financially secure. I worry, though, that people around the world are sacrificing their finances and psychological well-being in search of a God-given windfall that will never materialize.

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Sources

  • Bird, Warren. "The World's Largest Churches." Leadership Network (Jan. 3, 2018) http://leadnet.org/world/
  • Bowler, Kate. "Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel." Interview with the Faith Angle Forum. May 2017 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://faithangle.org/wp-content/uploads/Blessed-A-History-of-the-American-Prosperity-Gospel-Dr.-Kate-Bowler-1.pdf
  • Bowler, Kate. "Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me." The New York Times. Feb. 13, 2016 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/opinion/sunday/death-the-prosperity-gospel-and-me.html?_r=1
  • Burton, Tara Isabella. "The prosperity gospel, explained: Why Joel Osteen believes that prayer can make you rich." Vox. Sept. 1, 2017 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/9/1/15951874/prosperity-gospel-explained-why-joel-osteen-believes-prayer-can-make-you-rich-trump
  • Henderson, Rick. "The False Promise of the Prosperity Gospel: While I Called Out Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer." The Huffington Post. Aug. 21, 2013 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/pastor-rick-henderson/osteen-meyer-prosperity-gospel_b_3790384.html
  • Lenora Brown, Ryan. "A top Nigerian export: fervent Christianity." The Christian Science Monitor. Sept. 28, 2015 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2015/0928/A-top-Nigerian-export-fervent-Christianity
  • Philomin, Laura. "Singapore's megachurches look to export lucrative religion." Reuters. March 6, 2014 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-megachurches/singapores-megachurches-move-to-export-lucrative-religion-idUSBREA2509Y20140306
  • Piper, John. "Why I Abominate the Prosperity 'Gospel'." Desiring God. Oct. 27, 2009 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLRue4nwJaA
  • Pulliam Bailey, Sarah. "How the prosperity gospel is sparking a change in the world's most Catholic country." International Reporting Project. Oct. 30, 2017 (Jan. 3, 2018) https://internationalreportingproject.org/stories/view/how-the-prosperity-gospel-is-sparking-a-major-change-in-the-worlds-most-cat
  • Sinitiere, Phillip Luke. Phone interview with author of "Salvation with a Smile: Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, and American Christianity" on Dec. 12, 2017

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