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Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

by | Feb 26, 2016 | Uncategorized


Click on the Image for a Direct Amazon Link

Click on the Image for a Direct Amazon Link

If you are interested in some of the factors that have influenced and directed the American (and world) culture, this is a must-read book. I just finished reading it through the Kindle app. All along the way, I was nodding my head in agreement along with making theological links to the confusion that makes up the modern American religious and non-religious culture. You will find its roots in the mid-1800’s. Each chapter takes up one of the four themes indicated in the quote below.

“Third, the following chapters seek to familiarize readers with the unifying themes of the prosperity gospel and the diverse people who speak its language. The prosperity gospel, I argue, centers on four themes: faith, wealth, health, and victory. (1) It conceives of faith as an activator, a power that unleashes spiritual forces and turns the spoken word into reality. (2) The movement depicts faith as palpably demonstrated in wealth and (3) health. It can be measured in both the wallet (one’s personal wealth) and in the body (one’s personal health), making material reality the measure of the success of immaterial faith. (4) The movement expects faith to be marked by victory. Believers trust that culture holds no political, social, or economic impediment to faith, and no circumstance can stop believers from living in total victory here on earth. All four hallmarks emphasize demonstrable results, a faith that may be calculated by the outcome of a successful life, no matter whether they express this belief through what I call “hard prosperity” or “soft prosperity.” Hard prosperity judges people’s faith by their immediate circumstances, while soft prosperity appraises believers with a gentler, more roundabout, assessment. … Though believers argue that Christian prosperity differs from worldly acquisitiveness, these Christians recognize that their message inscribes materiality with spiritual meaning. Inverting the well-worn American mantra that things must be seen to be believed, their gospel rewards those who believe in order to see. In their confidence that they are promised faith, wealth, health, and victory, they count themselves blessed.” (pp. 7-8)

 

Frank Jones

Pastor, Exhorter, Cyclist

Frank Jones is presently pastor at Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Chesterfield, Virginia.