The prosperity teaching, a phenomenon that has cut across the country, is spreading fast among churches, large and small, denominational and independent.
However, the widespread preaching and teaching of ‘prosperity gospel’ in many denominations in the country has raised significant concerns.
The question today that has dominated Christian discourse is whether there is a doctrine shift in the Christianity realm or the new doctrine is a fortune-seeking agenda being propelled by greedy individuals under the guise of Christianity.
The whole idea in the gospel of prosperity is “sow a seed” of faith by spending money often in the form of a donation to their ministries in order to reap prosperity in the future.
Are the lures of riches, greed, power and dominion over individuals the pull factors to the gospel of prosperity in churches? What has happened to the conventional churches, have they failed to give the bona fide word hence their decline and the popularity of the new denominations?
A visit to a local Pentecostal church last week, monitoring all the church proceedings that are the preaching and believers’ testimonies, persuaded me that the gospel of prosperity is now the new trend in most churches.
“I see God wants to bless somebody right now, the blessing is here but the spirit of God is telling you to give all that you have into the house of the lord,” said the Pastor evoking his flock to empty their wallets and give money.
As the Pastor was saying this, an ecstatic believer, Kgomotso Rramidi, stood up and said, “Almighty can shower spiritual and physically blessings; I have a lot of money in the bank and fixed assets through giving.”
When the time of testimonies came, another excited believer confessed: “Before I came to this church, my life was jumbled up and I was jobless, but now I have been blessed with a good husband and several cars, houses and viable businesses all over the country.”
However a critic of this gospel in the same church had this to say, “Since I came to this church every Sunday its money, money, give in the house of God to be blessed materially, very little is said about saving our souls.”
What is surprising is that a number of traditional churches, like the Roman Catholic, Baptist, Anglican and Methodist, have lost a significant number of their flock to the emergent Pentecostal churches. It is clear that there is now an ideological shift from the original church ideology in these new places of worship. While the new churches have been attracting huge numbers, some people have questioned their line of teaching.
In addition it also appears that most of the senior clergymen in these budding churches are now living lavish lives. Across the world, the ‘gospel of prosperity’ has not only brought riches to the believers; it has also brought a considerable amount of wealth to some of Africa’s leading clergymen.
Nevertheless, most pastors have disagreed with these accusations, saying churches still preach Jesus and prosperity is part and parcel of the word.
A pastor with the Forward in Faith ministries, Pastor Bonetsi Entel, said they have heard of those accusations that they have drifted from the message of salvation but denied that his church is focusing on prosperity.
“We still preach Jesus; prosperity comes as a package every believer has to embrace,” he said.
Associate Pastor Benjamin Keloneilwe said, “Every pastor has a right to drink milk from the cow; actually, it’s not wrong it’s very scriptural”. Reinforcing his point, he quoted 1Corinthians 9 verses 1-11.
He added that critics of this gospel of sowing a seed are merely stingy; they don’t want to take care of the servants of God.
However the big question is if these pastors do not sheep in wolves’ skins or it’s scriptural that believers should sow the seed and reap prosperity in the future.