Prosperity Gospel

Why a ‘Health and Wealth’ Approach to Scripture Leaves Us More Depressed

"Our analyses suggest that reading scripture for insights into attaining health and healing exacerbated the adverse effects of poor self-rated health on depressive symptoms, a finding consistent with an emergent literature on the ‘dark side’ of religious and spiritual coping...” - CToday

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The Bee Explains: What Is The Prosperity Gospel?

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Review - Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

Image of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel
by Kate Bowler
Oxford University Press 2013
Hardcover 352

I’d had this book on my wishlist for a while; it seemed like the prosperity gospel was as popular as it was egregiously wrong—and it was increasing in both respects. It seemed so impossible to take it all seriously; I was hoping someone could help me understand its origins and teachings.

Then the author of this book, Kate Bowler, who is my age, wrote a beautifully profound article on her own terminal cancer in the New York Times, and before I finished reading the piece I bought her book.

I listened to an audio version, read well by Bowler herself. I apparently missed out on the appendices (though I skimmed what I could on Amazon), so my review may be slightly skewed.

I’ll start with the (apparent) criticism and end with the praise: Bowler doesn’t manage to create much of a narrative. Her chapter titles—Faith, Wealth, Health, and Victory—do develop themes within prosperity teaching, but throughout much of the book, the word “concatenation” kept coming to my mind. I felt like I was being introduced to preacher after preacher, ministry after ministry, with very little coherence to hang all the details on.

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