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Prosperity Gospel Taught to 4 in 10 Evangelical Churchgoers

Survey finds most Protestants believe God wants them to prosper financially. But views diverge on whether they must tithe to receive it.
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Prosperity Gospel Taught to 4 in 10 Evangelical Churchgoers
Image: carlofranco / iStock / Getty Images Plus

For some Americans, dropping a check into the offering plate at church is a bit like having a Discover Card.

Both offer a cash-back bonus.

About a third of Protestant churchgoers say their congregation teaches that God will bless them if they donate money.

Two-thirds say God wants them to prosper. One in 4 say they have to do something for God to receive material blessings in return.

Those are among the key findings of a new study on “prosperity gospel” beliefs from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, which surveyed 1,010 Americans who attend a Protestant or nondenominational church at least once a month.

Researchers found more than a few churchgoers believe giving to God leads to financial rewards, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“A significant group of churches seem to teach that donations trigger a financial response from God,” said McConnell.

A controversial topic

The belief that God gives financial rewards in exchange for offerings is a ...

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