A HISTORICAL STUDY OF PROSPERITY GOSPEL PREACHING IN NIGERIA, 1970-2014


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE
APPROVAL PAGE
CERTIFICATION
DEDICATION
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABSTRACT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Aim of the Study
1.4       Significance of the Study
1.5       Scope of the Study
1.6       Research Methodology
1.7       Definition of Terms

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1Biblical or Theological Perspective of Prosperity
2.2       Pre Pentecostal Understanding of Prosperity
2.3       Pentecostal Interpretation of Prosperity
2.4       Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE: HISTORICAL EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF PROSPERITY GOSPEL PREACHING IN NIGERIA
3.1       Origin of Prosperity Preaching Worldwide
3.2       Nigerian Historical Roots of Prosperity Preaching
3.3       Development of Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria
3.4 Dimension of Prosperity Preaching in the World
3.5 Factors Responsible for Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria
3.5.1 African Worldview on Prosperity and Materialism
3.5.2 Competition for Possession of Worldly Resources
3.5.3 The 1980s Socio-economic Condition of Nigeria

CHAPTER FOUR: IDEOLOGY OF PROSPERITY PREACHERS IN NIGERIA
4.1 Distinctiveness of Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria
4.1.1Foundational Affirmations
4.1.2 Faith as Positive Confession
4.1.3 Giving and Receiving
4.1.4 Poverty and Sickness
4.2 Principles/Laws of Prosperity
4.2.1 Be a Faithful Tither
4.2.2 Giving Willingly and Generously
4.2.3 Be a Covenant Builder
4.2.4 Investing in the Gospel
4.2.5 Giving to the Poor
4.2.6 Having High Regard for Spiritual Leaders and Partnering With them
4.2.7 Making Absolute and Solid Commitment to the Local Assembly
4.2.8 Confession Brings Possession
4.3 Purpose of Prosperity Preaching
4.3.1 Prosperity is Proof for God’s Covenant and for Building His Church
4.3.2 Blessed to be a Blessing to Humanity
4.3.3 Enjoyment of God’s Children on Earth
4.4   Wrong Interpretation of Scriptures
4.4.1 Biblical Interpretation Principles
4.4.2 Illustrations of Hermeneutical Blunders in the Prosperity Gospel
4.4.2.1 The Interpretation of the Promise of “Everything”,  “All Thing ”    
            and “Anything” in Some Bible passages
4.4.2.2 The Threefold Prosperity promise in 3 John2
4.4.2.3 The Seed Faith Principle in Luke 6:38
4.4.2.4 The Hundredfold Return Principle in Mark10:29-30
4.4.2.5 Prosperity-Bound Mentality in Luke 16:22
4.5       Wrong Understanding of People about Prosperity

CHAPTER FIVE: RESPONSE TO PROSPERITY GOSPEL PREACHING IN NIGERIA
5.1       Responses to Prosperity Preaching
5.2       Women and Prosperity Preaching
5.3       The Youth and Prosperity Preaching
5.4       Antagonists of Prosperity preaching (Holiness Preachers)
5.5 Mainline Churches Response
5.6       Social Critic

CHAPTER SIX: IMPACT OF PROSPERITY PREACHING GOSPEL IN NIGERIA
6.1  Social Positive Significance of Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria
6.1.1 Prosperity Preaching as Vehicle for All-round Empowerment
6.1.2 Rehabilitation of Social Outcasts and Poverty Alleviation
6.1.3 Improvement of Human Capacity for Self-Development
6.1.4 Entrepreneurial Development and Employment Opportunities
6.1.5   Numerical Explosion of Christian Population
6.1.6   Rapid National Development
6.1.7  Educational Development and Human Capital Development
6.1.8 Leadership Development, Good Governance and National Transformation
6.2 Negative Impact of Prosperity Preaching
6.2.1 Prosperity Gospel Promotes Materialism
6.2.2 Prosperity Gospel Inspires Syncretism
6.2.3 Prosperity Gospel Leads to Declining Spiritual Commitment and Character
6.2.4 Prosperity Gospel Fuels Greed and Impoverishes People
6.2.5 Prosperity Gospel Nurtures Fraud, Rivalry and Competition
6.2.6 Prosperity Gospel Keeps People in Poverty
6.2.7 Prosperity Gospel enslaves people
6.2.8 Prosperity Gospel Feeds Pride

CHAPTER SEVEN: DISSECTION OF PROSPERITY GOSPEL PREACHING IN NIGERIA
7.1 An Authentic Gospel
7.2 A Different Gospel (From Asceticism to Materialism)
7.3 Omissions of Prosperity Preaching
7.4  The Future of Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria
7.4.1 Factors that sustain Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria
7.4.1.1 Astronomical Expansion of prosperity ideology
7.4.1.2 The overwhelming Popularity of Prosperity Gospel
7.4.1.3 Deeply Entrenched Poverty in Africa
7.4.1.4 The Desire and Search to get better
7.4.1.5 Prosperity promises/Allurement as Bait
7.4.1.6 A Simple-Easy-Going Theology of Sweatless Prosperity
7.4.1.7 Evangelistic Campaigns and Churches’ Proliferation as Factor
7.4.1.8 Numerical Growth of the Pentecostals/Charismatics Solidify Prosperity Gospel
7.4.1.9 The Nature of Pentecostalism
7.4.1.10 Unchanging Global Trends Sustain Prosperity Theology
7.4.1.11 Prosperity Gospel as Immunity against Witchcraft and Problems
7.4.1 12 Prosperity Gospel as Socially Relevant to All Societies of the World
7.5       The Probable End of Prosperity Gospel

CHAPTER EIGHT: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
8.1       Summary of Findings
8.2       Contribution to Knowledge
8.3       Recommendations
8.4       Suggestions for Further Study
8.5       Conclusion
References





ABSTRACT

Prosperity gospel preaching is a double-barrelled socio-religious phenomenon which is fast becoming one of the most significant expressions of Christianity and is remarkably wielding a pervasive influence within the Nigerian religious space. As a dominant strain of popular spirituality, prosperity gospel has remained a major socio-cultural force in Nigeria. The study generally attempts a comprehensive study of prosperity gospel in Nigeria and specifically, it examines the impacts and conflicting views on the reasons for the shift in emphasis of prosperity preachers from asceticism to materialism. The study is crafted using phenomenological approach for its richness and objectivity. The results show that prosperity preaching is currently the major preoccupation of the Pentecostals and has challenged endemic poverty in Nigeria through its emphasis on spiritual and economic empowerment programmes of the prosperity purveyors which is engendering remarkable social, economic and spiritual transformation in the Nigerian society. But the Pentecostals’ undue emphasis on giving as an investment for future prosperity occasioned by wrong interpretation of Scriptures by prosperity preachers resulting to misinformation and misapprehension of people about prosperity has negatively impacted on a broad spectrum of the Nigerian Christians and churches financially, socially and spiritually. At the moment, there seems to be a gradual paradigm shift in the orientation of people from hard labour to idleness and from holiness to worldliness in Nigeria. In view of the foregoing, the work, in recognition of some positivism of prosperity gospel draws its conclusion that the impacts of prosperity gospel are more damaging than beneficial in Nigeria.





CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1              Background to the Study

The emergence of prosperity gospel preaching dates back to the 19th and 20th

centuries. It is currently a universal phenomenon that is frequently preached in urban areas especially in churches and on the electronic media. It has commanded scholarly attention, debates and literature on the subject. Historical records abound that prosperity preaching began in the United States of America (USA). This was precipitated through the formative role played by Essek William Kenyon who lived from 1867-1948, and who is said to have initially put in place the cardinal principles for prosperity gospel preaching (Young, 2005; Mumford, 2012). The principles Kenyon develop was probably cultic in origin (McConnell, 2007). However, Kenneth Erwin Hagin (1917-2003) seems to have borrowed heavily from Kenyon’s ideology and developed his own prosperity theology. It is established that Kenyon’s ideologies were also adopted, propagated and popularized by television and faith preachers in the 1950s like William Branham, Oral Roberts and Gordon Lindsay among several others (Okwori, 1995). Prosperity preaching was handed down to posterity under different nomenclatures such as “word faith” or “word of fait h movement”, “positive

confession”, “faith formula”, or “faith message”, “
hyper-faith”, “health and wealth
theology”, “name it and claim it gospel”, “blab it
and grab it gospel”, “gospel of
success”, and “prosperity gospel” as it advanced do
wn through the ages (Jones, 2006;

Achunike, 2007; MacArthur, 1992). For the purpose of this study, prosperity preaching, prosperity gospel or prosperity gospel preaching will be used interchangeably. McConnell (1990) informs that right from its source in the USA,.......



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