Wealth And Poverty In The Gospel Of Luke And In The Prosperity Preaching In Ghana

ABSTRACT

The spread of the theology of the Prosperity Gospel, which characterized contemporary Ghanaian Christianity, has created an intense scholarly debate among those who consid-ered the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ as ‘non-Christian’ and those who perceive it as a way to con-textualize Christianity in the Ghanaian context. The study entered the debate from a differ-ent perspective by focusing on the relationship between the prosperity theology and pov-erty and wealth. To reach this aim, the research engaged the Lukan teaching on wealth and poverty with the teachings of prominent Ghanaian prosperity preachers: Archbishop Dun-can Williams (Action Chapel International), Dug Heward Mills (Lighthouse Chapel Inter-national) and Dr Mensah Otabil (International Central Gospel Church).

The communicative approach proposed by Ossom-Batsa was employed as the theoretical framework. The approach consists of three steps ─ the analysis of the reality, the analysis of the text and the engagement between the reality and the text. Recorded sermons and books written by the selected prosperity preachers were the tools utilized for the analysis of reality. The narrative criticism proposed by Marguerat and Bourquin was employed to exegete chapter 16 of the Gospel according to Luke, the text that has the higher concentra-tion of the terminology of ‘poverty and wealth’ in the Lukan narrative.

The research discovered that the message of the Prosperity Gospel is pivoted on good health, materialism, wealth and success. Preachers of the prosperity theology often adopt the fundamentalist reading of texts such as Gen 13:2, Deut 8:18, Mk 10:29-31, 2 Cor 8:9 and 3 John 2 to classify wealth and possessions as the hallmark of God’s blessing and poverty as a curse, an ‘infectious’ disease and the result of sin. It is noted from the study that the view of the Prosperity Gospel preachers contradicts the theology of Luke which

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considers the poor as ‘blessed by God’ (Lk 6:20), indicates solidarity with the poor as a condition of discipleship (Lk 6:20; 5:26:30, 7:39, 19:1-18) and proclaims the eschatologi-cal reversal as instrument of divine justice (Lk 16:19-31). However, the Lukan teaching does not simply condemn ‘riches’ but the modality of acquisition and the relationship with riches. In other words, the Gospel of Luke warned against greed, selfishness, unbridled consumerism, and enslavement to material and worldly materials to the forgetfulness of God and one’s neighbour (Lk 16:9-12).

The study recognized the theological and biblical ‘weaknesses’ of the prosperity theology but recognized the just desire of building a society free from poverty. If prosperity adherers are wrong in considering wealth as proof of faith, critics of the prosperity may also be wrong to ‘canonize’ poverty and to present a God who does not desire the prosperity of his faithful and provide solution to the problem of poverty.

The research proposed a holistic theological education for Pentecostal/ Charismatic leaders in order to positively contribute to the development of the Ghanaian society through a cor-rect interpretation of the Bible. Furthermore, churches need to recognize the social cause of poverty, to advocate for social justice and constructive solidarity towards the poor.

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APA

OFOE, A (2021). Wealth And Poverty In The Gospel Of Luke And In The Prosperity Preaching In Ghana. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/wealth-and-poverty-in-the-gospel-of-luke-and-in-the-prosperity-preaching-in-ghana

MLA 8th

OFOE, AGBENU "Wealth And Poverty In The Gospel Of Luke And In The Prosperity Preaching In Ghana" Afribary. Afribary, 14 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/wealth-and-poverty-in-the-gospel-of-luke-and-in-the-prosperity-preaching-in-ghana. Accessed 12 Jul. 2024.

MLA7

OFOE, AGBENU . "Wealth And Poverty In The Gospel Of Luke And In The Prosperity Preaching In Ghana". Afribary, Afribary, 14 Apr. 2021. Web. 12 Jul. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/wealth-and-poverty-in-the-gospel-of-luke-and-in-the-prosperity-preaching-in-ghana >.

Chicago

OFOE, AGBENU . "Wealth And Poverty In The Gospel Of Luke And In The Prosperity Preaching In Ghana" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 12, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/wealth-and-poverty-in-the-gospel-of-luke-and-in-the-prosperity-preaching-in-ghana