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Oct 28, 2008


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Wow. I'd never thought of supporting the prosperity gospel in any way, for any reason. You're hurting my head here! But it's a solid and biblically supportable thought.

I guess I'll have to think it for a while and see what happens.

Michael W. Kruse

Much of Western mission has been paternalistic, offering little hope of personal transformation in the day-to-day matters of economic existence and creating a sense of dependency on Westerners.

What I think the prosperity gospel offers first and foremost is that good cares about me and the practical realities of my life. God is at work in these practical realities. Therefore, through obedience and faith, I can dare to dream and hope for a different reality than the one I live in. I'm every bit as much a child of God as wealthy Westerners.

In this sense the prosperity gospel offers an intimacy (warped or not) with God that more traditional missions have failed to offer.

I'm not suggesting that the prosperity gospel is sound nor do I think the authors in these articles are giving a blanket endorsement. Rather I think what the prosperity gospel does is expose the weakness of the gospel that has traditionally been taught. There are significant dark sides to the prosperity gospel (like believing if you are poor and suffering, then it is because you don't have faith; or if you have wealth, then God must be blessing you.)

The challenge is to discover what it means for people to be redeemed as economic stewards and producers within the context of God's mission in the world.


Excellent points. Thank you, Michael.

Kansas Bob

Codepoke linked me here.. I loved these thoughts..

"There is an appeal to people not as victims but as responsible actors."

"They do not think of themselves as dependent on the compassion of the rich."

..I posted on faith and prosperity today.. the issue I have with the prosperity message is how people are not taught to be content with what they have and are sometimes led into financial slavery because of a focus on money and things.

Blessings, Bob

PS: Are you in the KC area? I am in Leawood.

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Bob. Like I say, this article is not intended as an blanket endorsement of the prosperity gospel.

"...the issue I have with the prosperity message is how people are not taught to be content with what they have and are sometimes led into financial slavery because of a focus on money and things."

No disagreement from me here. But if I'm in a village in central Africa where disease is all around, food is scarce, back breaking labor is need for the basic things of life, and I see now hope of a better life for my children, then the last thing I want to do is to teach people to be "content." If I'm in an American urban core context where a person doesn't have a job, drugs and crime are everywhere around, and the ideas of college, a stable job, and a strong family are like fairy tales, then the last thing I want to teach is contentment.

The trap here is that we project our middle class angst over our own consumerism onto the message of hope we need to share with the poor. We inadvertently communicate hopelessness and perpetuate poverty. The challenge is to assist the poor in making the discovery that their circumstances are not God's best for them and change is possible, without the reductionist nonsense that their personal wealth is some barometer of their standing with God. Context is critical.

Yes I'm in KC. You could call me Missouri Mike. :-) I live two blocks west of Penn Valley Community College. I have a sister who lives in Leawood not far from 129th and Mission.

Glad to find another KC blogger!

Kansas Bob

Thanks for the response Mike.

I agree with you that context is critical.. but maybe a bit differently? I guess it depends what one's definition of contentment is.

If one believes that being content is analogous to giving up on life and not having hope then I would have to agree with your perspective. One should never be content with bad situations and bad behavior.. maybe the word for that though is apathy?

But if being content is about having peace in the midst of bad situations then maybe it is the key to moving forward. Possibly when one acts out of a sense of inner contentment that person will move forward with confidence?

For me, for the most part, the only change that has ever been positive is the kind that comes from within. Whenever my actions have been motivated from without I simply do not have confidence in my actions.

IMO, teaching people who are poor to be content will help them move forward from the inside out.. it will help them escape from a victim mentality.. it will help them move forward.

I have written a few posts on contentment.. you might find them interesting.. here are a few:




PS: I live fairly close to your sister.. of course Leawood is not that big :)

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