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Amid the strife of the Culture Wars and the heated partisan divides between Red and Blue states, one thing seems to bring together a great many Americans across both sides of the nation's secular/sacred divide: a deep, abiding sense of amusement ...

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Kieran Lingard

October 11, 2013  8:30am

Jim Ricker- Its 'ironic' cos those that have plenty appear to be dismissive and critical of others who want what they've got.

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Jim Ricker

September 18, 2013  8:12pm

KL - what is so "ironic" about 'well-off' folks not being 'name it & claim it' folks?

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Kieran Lingard

September 18, 2013  2:23am

Whilst there are aspects of the PG that I like and dislike I find it ironic that most of the PG haters that I come across often happen to be well off.

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Terry Spencer

September 16, 2013  7:55am

I will have to get Ms Bowler's book. Her work provides some interesting evaluations. I've watched the movement for the span of my life time and ministry. The promoters and adherents of prosperity preaching share one thing in common, self-centered greed. That may sound dismissive, but it's meant to compel the church to point out sin when we see it.

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still learning

September 15, 2013  8:20pm

How can every (or the majority of Christians) be wealthy rich? The Bible says there will be poor people. But why does almost EVERY Christian refuses to believe it's them. Even Jesus says the poor you will always have. Do Christians really think that the only poor people are non-Christian? Jesus spoke on hell and money more than any other topic in the New Testament. And he said you can not worship both God and Mammon.

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Hal SANDERS

September 14, 2013  6:36pm

It's really sad to see "Christianity Today" give its stamp of approval to this misuse of the gospel message. And it is a very strange review. Eskridge is practically a booster of this aberration until one reaches the penultimate paragraph and finds minor criticism of the book.

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Derek C

September 14, 2013  8:57am

and ben Yair, how many Japanese-Americans were deprived of their constitutional rights when they were thrown into internment camps? what about the loss of their land and wealth? who was the President then? you are foolish to spout off about someone being being anti-American and ignoring history.

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Thomas Gary

September 14, 2013  3:32am

To Elazar ben Yair: have you been drinking Glenn Beck's kool-aid? Obama has nothing to do with the PG crowd. Your type says he's a socialist, I think. He was a community organizer working with poor organizations in Chicago. As far as anti-Semitic presidents, the last one we had was Richard Nixon, to go by his own private White House tapes. By "anti-Jew" do you mean anti-Israel? There are many American Jews who have trouble with certain Israeli policies. Israel is a nation, not an ethnicity nor religion. I'm pro-Israel but that doesn't mean they are perfect in their policies. Peace.

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Thomas Gary

September 14, 2013  3:15am

Ms. Bowler doesn't seem to have such a high regard for the PG megachurch crowd in her Huffingtonpost article "Sexual Misconduct and the American Prosperity Gospel" posted on 10-8-2012. I suggest all read it. And Eskridge, what a wimpy review. After discussing PG and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the book there is one final question to answer - is it anything like the historical Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth? I think the answer would be no. Eskridge - watch Creflo Dollar on TV and tell us that you don't cringe with his faux spirituality. No offense, but I think some of the tolerance shown by Eskridge and Bowler may have more to do with refusing to knock the outlandish PG world of two opposite types: Religious Right phonies who pander to the top 3% and the Black Churches who embrace this stuff with an emotional style that pumps up its followers to believe that the "streets of gold" will happen to them without any change in our culture. Jesus didn't preach money magic. Peace.

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KEVIN W ANDERSON

September 14, 2013  12:41am

Jim Ricker: Kenneth Hagin & Kenneth Copeland, Oral Robers, Joel Scott Osteen, Tommy Lee Osborn - are/were all White. In fact, the fountainhead of the whole movement are probably E. W. Kenyon, Norman Vincent Peale, etc. There are also connections to Christian Zionism and the End-Times Prophecy crowd. To be brutally honest, I remember Hagin's rise to prominence correlated with the onset of Jerry Fallwell's Moral Majority – the whole attitude that as a Christian, one had the “right” to prosper and spend exorbitant amounts on Defense. Because ethnic groups that have been ministered to worldwide by these so-called “Teachers,” have picked up on the vibe, you conclude it's not a White American Republican problem? I think you need to look closer at the roots.

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Jim Ricker

September 13, 2013  9:12pm

And now we have the political polemicists making silly and false statements.... 1. The prosperity gospel is WORLDWIDE. 2. The prosperity gospel is far more prevalent in the 'black churches' (although the 'white churches' certainly are not anywhere near immune to it) and 'black churches' are mainly politically aligned with Democrats. So RP, your comment is completely false and based on politics instead of truth. Never thought I'd have to defend Republicans......

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robert puharic

September 13, 2013  8:50pm

Yes, there is a group of US Christians who think God wants us all to be rich and it's your fault if you're not. They're called "Repubilcans'

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BRENDA B COLIJN

September 13, 2013  7:28pm

As a longtime Columbus, Ohio resident, I think you've mixed up Leroy Jenkins' ministry (which seems to have moved to Arizona) with a comedy skit. This is perhaps a natural confusion. I seem to remember Jenkins' Columbus church being called the Holy Hill Cathedral and later the Healing Hill Cathedral. The Church of What's Happening Now was a fictitious ministry of the "Reverend Leroy," a character performed by Flip Wilson in the 70s. Where Wilson got his inspiration from, I don't know. A Google search I did suggested that another comedian has taken up the church name more recently.

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Philip True

September 13, 2013  6:01pm

Not having read Bowler's book, I can comment on the review. Agreed, that many people have been helped by prosperity gospel preachers from Norman Vincent Peale to more recent ones. One would hope, however, that there would be a division between the truly greedy, those asking and repeatedly asking for a "blessing" for a 200 dollar contribution, as I noted on a Rod Parsley Harvest church. These TV preacher-poachers prey on the TV viewers. Those who actually belong to these churches would, I guess, not necessarily follow "planting a seed..." meaning money, and be helped though mislead by some of interpretations presented. I hope Bowler indicates how many of these prosperity preachers have prospered very well with multiple homes, private planes, and other benefits.

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Dean Merrill

September 13, 2013  5:03pm

One small edit: the reviewer's mention of "T. A. Osborne" should read T. L. OSBORN, I assume. He passed away earlier this year. See www.osborn.org.

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John pierce

September 13, 2013  5:01pm

Jesus commended the widow for putting in her "mite," all she had. One needn't be wealthy in order to do good for the Kingdom. Nonetheless, those believers who DO prosper should give even more. If God blesses us materially, then we should be an even greater blessing to others, in His name.

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Jim Ricker

September 11, 2013  8:11pm

What is so surprising about a belief of people that has lasted for thousands of years? Just switch the name(s) of the god(s) involved and we find prosperity, health, vitality, bountiful crops and sexual prowess has been believed to the gift from on high for thousands of years.

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Elazar ben Yair

September 11, 2013  5:04pm

Gay friendly churches, hip-hop worship, emergent pastor and prosperity charlatans. Is it any wonder that the majority of so called Christians in America voted into office the most anti-american, anti-family, anti-jew president this nation has ever known?

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GeekMOMMA Rants

September 11, 2013  2:20pm

If there was one event that could destroy the church it would be the santa claus like Prosperity Gospel. Name it and claim it have many walking away when this gospel does not and cannot work. Capitalism and Christianity do not mix.

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Steve Skeete

September 11, 2013  7:26am

'...two-thirds of all Christian believers are convinced that God, ultimately, wants them to prosper'. Take out the word 'ultimately' and I am sure that, even in the USA, that number would drop dramatically. The plain truth is that not everyone prospers. There are millions of desperately poor and deprived people doing their best to serve Jesus Christ in every corner of the earth. Nowhere in the Bible, of which I am aware, are any of them promised a 'mansion' on a hilltop. Those edifices are reserved for those who dupe them into believing such. These 'bringers of blessings' seem somehow only to know the secret of how to acquire dubious personal wealth and it trappings. To teach that wealth is for all is scripturally untrue, it is a falsehood, and those who teach it are masquerading as 'angels of light' despite what Bowler says. Ours is a Bible illiterate Church, simply because people just will not 'search the scriptures', but prefer to have charlatans scratch their 'itching ears.'

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