Prosperity Gospel in New York

New York Times ran an article on how prosperity gospel is gaining popularity in New York City. What is prosperity gospel? It is a teaching in churches that God will bless everyone with wealth and health if you are faithful, that you are not doing the right thing if you are poor or sick.

It is a theology that is excoriated in many Christian circles but is becoming increasingly visible in this country, according to religious scholars. Now, it is beginning to establish a foothold in New York City, where capitalism has long been religion. 

The theology taps into the country’s self-help culture, said William C. Martin, a professor emeritus of religion and public policy at Rice University in Houston. “One of the goals of America is for you to become prosperous,” he said. “For the church to put a blessing on that and say, ‘God wants you to be rich,’ is quite appealing.”

Prosperity is indeed prominent in the Old Testament, but the hardship experienced by Jesus’ followers is prominent in the New Testament, said Professor John Jefferson Davis Jr., who teaches systematic theology and Christian ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an evangelical institution outside Boston. “Part of the problem is things are out of focus here, and what Jesus makes very clear and central, self-denial and bearing your cross, is somehow left on the cutting-room floor.” 

I can’t imagine our Straits Times daring to post anything that presents a negative view to any religion, no matter how objective. Then again, it is hard to get such quotes in Singapore that clearly condemns a teaching. Except those that have been banned by law.

Wall Watchers, an evangelical organization that monitors the finances of Christian ministries, gave Mr. Dollar’s organization an “F” grade for financial transparency in its yearly report and urged donors not to give to it and similar groups. World Changers officials say members can inspect audited financial statements on the church’s finances if they desire, but they declined to release them to The New York Times.

Sounds like NKF? Even sadded, because this involves religion.

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