Beck and Gundersen, “A Gospel of Prosperity?”

Beck, Sedefka V. and Sara J. Gundersen. A Gospel of Prosperity? An Analysis of the Relationship Between Religion and Earned Income in Ghana, the Most Religious Country in the World. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.  Early online publication.

Abstract: This study tests for a relationship between religious affiliation and earned income in Ghana. While microeconomic analyses have studied the relationship between religion and several socioeconomic outcomes in the United States, remarkably few have done so in developing countries, and none has explored the religion-earnings relationship. Using the fifth round of the Ghana Living Standards Survey from 2005 to 2006, we find that, among women, religious denomination correlates with earned income. Specifically, Spiritualists, Pentecostals, and Methodists earn higher income than the Presbyterian base group, while Traditionalists earn less. This article investigates the relationship and posits some of its causes, including the influence of a trend in neo-Pentecostal religious groups that emphasizes wealth accumulation and self-confidence.

Heuser (ed), “Pastures of Plenty”

Heuser, Andreas (ed).  2015. Pastures of Plenty: Tracing Religio-Scapes of Prosperity Gospel in Africa and Beyond.  Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 

Publisher’s Description: Prosperity Gospel, a controversial strand in global Christianity, relates material wealth to divine blessing. Originating in American Pentecostal milieus, it is most successful in Africa. Authors from four continents present interdisciplinary, multi-sited and comparative analyses of Prosperity Gospel in Africa and beyond. Prosperity theologies adapt to varied political contexts and travel outside Pentecostalism into the wider religious arena. Its components trigger discourses within ecumenical Christianity and are transformed in transnational Christian networks of migrants; they turn up in African shrine religion and African Islam. Pastures of Plenty maps the evolving religio-scapes of Prosperity Gospel.

Contents:

Andreas Heuser: Religio-Scapes of Prosperity Gospel: an Introduction

Rainer Tetzlaff: Political Architecture of Poverty: On Changing Patterns of «African Identity»

Jens Kohrsen: Pentecostal Improvement Strategies: A Comparative Reading on African and South American Pentecostalism

Giovanni Maltese: An Activist-Holiness Kenneth Hagin? A Case Study of Prosperity Theology in the Philippines

Paul Gifford: The Prosperity Theology of David Oyedepo, Founder of Winners’ Chapel

Werner Kahl: «Jesus became poor so that we might become rich.» A Critical Review of the Use of Biblical Reference Texts among Prosperity Preachers in Ghana

Rudolf von Sinner: «Struggling with Africa»: Theology of Prosperity in and from Brazil

Michael Biehl: To Prosper and to Be Blessed: Prosperity, Wealth and «Life in Abundance» in Ecumenical Debate

Andreas Heuser: Battling Spirits of Prosperity: The «Pentecostalized» Interreligious Contest over Money Rituals in Ghana

Seebaway Zakaria: Rhetoric and Praxis of Ghanaian Salafi and Sufi Muslims: Analogies with Prosperity Gospel

Katrin Langewiesche: The Ethics of Wealth and Religious Pluralism in Burkina Faso: How Prosperity Gospel is Influencing the Current Religious Field in Africa

Genevieve Nrenzah: Gender Dimensions of Wealth and Health in Ghanaian Indigenous Religious Thinking: Narratives of Female Clients of the Pemsan Shrine

Abraham Nana Opare Kwakye: Encountering «Prosperity» Gospel in Nineteenth Century Gold Coast: Indigenous Perceptions of Western Missionary Societies

Päivi Hasu: Freemasonry, Occult Economies and Prosperity in Tanzanian Pentecostal Discourse

Tomas Sundnes Drønen: «Now I Dress Well. Now I Work Hard» – Pentecostalism, Prosperity, and Economic Development in Cameroon

David D. Daniels III: Prosperity Gospel of Entrepreneurship in Africa and Black America: A Pragmatist Christian Innovation

Chr. Lucas Zapf: Martin Luther, Wealth and Labor: The Market Economy’s Links to Prosperity Gospel

Yvan Droz/Yonatan N. Gez: A God Trap: Seed Planting, Gift Logic, and the Prosperity Gospel

Martin Lindhardt: Are Blessings for Sale? Ritual Exchange, Witchcraft Allegations, and the De-alienation of Money in Tanzanian Prosperity Ministries

Drea Frochtling: Between Gutter and Gucci, Boss and Botho: A Relocation of «Prosperity Gospel» by Nigerian Pentecostal Christians in Soweto, South Africa

Jeanne Rey: Missing Prosperity: Economies of Blessings in Ghana and the Diaspora – Daniel Frei: «With Both Feet in the Air»: Prosperity Gospel in African Migrant Churches in Switzerland.

Drønen, “Material Development and Spiritual Empowerment?”

Drønen, Tomas Sundnes.  2015. Material Development and Spiritual Empowerment?  Pentecostalism in Northern Cameroon.  PentecoStudies 14(2): 205-218.

Abstract: This article seeks to shed light on the relationship between material development and spiritual empowerment among Pentecostal churches in Northern Cameroon. Field studies show that several Pentecostal churches recently have been established in the area, and that they are “negotiating space” in order to find places and areas where they can influence the local community. Due to the strong Muslim control over the economy in the region, the new churches have little focus on prosperity, but the material and developmental discourse focus on entrepreneurship through education and hard work. The article concludes that the relative success achieved by the churches is connected to their focus on global mobility, local flexibility, spiritual authority and human dignity.

Coleman, “Only (Dis-)Connect: Pentecostal Global Networking as Revelation and Concealment”

Coleman, SImon. 2013.  Only (Dis-)Connect: Pentecostal Global Networking as Revelation and Concealment. Religions 4(3):367-390.

Abstract: Contemporary forms of Pentecostalism, such as that of the Faith Movement, are often represented as inherently global, constituting a religion ‘made to travel’ and to missionize across the world. I argue that while much attention has been paid to proselytization as a catalyst in encouraging transnational activities among such Christians, more analysis is needed of how Pentecostalists represent each other in the construction of global imaginaries. The imagined and enacted networks that result assert connections between like-minded believers but also valorize the power of distance in the creation of landscapes of religious agency whose power is illustrated through such tropes as ‘number’, ‘mobility’, ‘presence’ and ‘conquest’. I juxtapose two Prosperity-oriented movements, that of the Swedish Word of Life and the Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God, to indicate further how Christians who appear to be conjoined via common forms of worship appear, from another perspective, to be inhabiting and moving across disjunct global landscapes and cartographies as they engage in very different forms of mobility.

Comaroff & Comaroff, “Neo-Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism: Perspectives from the Social Sciences”

Comaroff, Jean & John Comaroff (2012) “Neo-Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism: Perspectives from the Social Sciences” in Elias Kifon Bongmba, ed, The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to African Religions. Wiley & Sons, Malden MA, Pp. 62-78.

Excerpt: “Prolegomenon: Herewithin three glimpses into the new religious world order. The First is from Post-apartheid South Africa. The New Life Church is to be found in Malifkeng, in the North West Province. Founded just before the fall of apartheid, it typifies as brand of upbeat, technically-hyped Pentecostalism that is aspiring to fill the moral void left by a withering of revolutionary ideals and civic norms in the postcolony. While New Life is the creation of a talented pair of pastors, a husband and wife who had reshaped it independently of denominational oversight, their community belongs to the International Federation of Christian Churches; this is a global network of congregations, all of which combine a lively charismatic realism with a frank morality, the latter embodied in a subject not embarrassed by this-worldly desire. . . “

Kim, “The Heavenly Touch Ministry in the Age of Millennial Capitalism”

Kim, Sung-Gun (2012) “The Heavenly Touch Ministry in the Age of Millennial Capitalism” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 15(3):51-64

Abstract: Neo-liberal globalization (also known as “millennial capitalism”) and the neo-Pentecostal-charismatic movement seem to be converging and spreading in the same areas of the globe. Against a backdrop of Pentecostal growth from its coalescence with indigenous shamanism in modern Korea, Presbyterian Elder and scientist Ki-Cheol Son, famous for his charismatic preaching and healing ministry, founded the Heavenly Touch Ministry (HTM) in Seoul in 2004. Unlike most Reformed Charismatics, he promotes the idea that God wants Christians to be successful, with special attention to financial prosperity. The success of HTM’s doctrines stressing deliverance/healing and blessings hinges on two interrelated sets of factors: first, HTM’s teachings, representing a collective aspiration within the contemporary Korean religious market, are effectively marketed by Elder Son, who has a keen perception of people’s need for miracles; and second, the teachings work in idioms (such as “Name-it-and-claim-it!”) that are familiar and accessible to a wide range of shamanistic middle-class believers struggling for financial success in the new economic climate. It seems to me that these sets of factors make identical claims, stated differently. HTM is a product of neo-liberal globalization, and its followers represent the neo-Pentecostal middle class in the global village. This paper elaborates this thesis with reference to observations at HTM’s deliverance meetings and newspaper interviews with Son.

Haynes, “Pentecostalism and the morality of money: prosperity, inequality, and religious sociality on the Zambian Copperbelt”

Haynes, Naomi (2012) “Pentecostalism and the morality of money: prosperity, inequality, and religious sociality on the Zambian Copperbelt” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(1): 123-139.

Abstract

As part of a growing body of work focused on the social implications of Pentecostal Christianity, this article explores one of the ways that this religion is shaping relational life on the Zambian Copperbelt. Through a discussion of the changing nature of the prosperity gospel, I show how Pentecostalism embeds believers in social relationships that often extend beyond their religious cohort. In the absence of the lavish wealth promised by prosperity gospel preachers, Pentecostals have had to alter their understanding of divinely authored economic success. Specifically, local definitions of prosperity are characterized not by uniform, individualized wealth, but rather by progress along a gradient of material achievement through relationships that span differences in economic status. This retooled version of the prosperity gospel serves to integrate believers into the wider social world by emphasizing material inequality and promoting displays of wealth. Each of these aspects of Copperbelt Pentecostalism embeds its adherents in networks of exchange that are a central component of urban Zambian sociality. This analysis of Pentecostalism expands on studies of this religion that focus only on formal ritual life, while at the same time challenging interpretations of Pentecostalism that have given its social potential short shrift.

Résumé

Le présent article s’inscrit dans un corpus de plus en plus important de travaux consacrés aux implications sociales du christianisme pentecôtiste. Il explore l’une des manières dont cette religion façonne la vie relationnelle dans la province du Copperbelt, en Zambie. Par la discussion de la nature changeante de la théologie de la prospérité, l’auteure montre comment le pentecôtisme intègre ses fidèles dans des relations sociales qui s’étendent souvent au-delà des limites de leur communauté religieuse. Ne voyant pas venir l’abondance promise par les prédicateurs de la doctrine de la prospérité, les pentecôtistes ont dû revoir leur interprétation d’une réussite économique sanctionnée par Dieu. Plus précisément, les définitions locales de la prospérité sont caractérisées non pas par une possession de biens uniforme et individualisée mais plutôt par une progression suivant un gradient de réussite matérielle, par le biais de relations franchissant les différences de situation économique. Cette version remaniée de la théologie de la prospérité sert à intégrer les croyants dans le monde social qui les entoure, en mettant l’accent sur les inégalités matérielles et en encourageant les signes extérieurs de richesse. Chacun de ces aspects du pentecôtisme dans le Copperbelt intègre les fidèles dans des réseaux d’échange qui sont une composante essentielle de la société zambienne urbaine. L’analyse du pentecôtisme réalisée ici commente les études de cette religion axées uniquement sur le rituel, tout en remettant en question les interprétations faisant peu de cas du potentiel social du pentecôtisme.