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American Evangelicals and Prosperity Gospel

by Sim Lee  
1/21/2019 / Christian Living

After reading Rajkumar Richards' excellent article "Joyce Meyer Denounces Prosperity Gospel What About You?", dated 01/18/19, I looked at the latest polling information regarding the thoughts of American evangelicals on the topic, along with some of their demographics. The number of those evangelicals in America actually agreeing with, and supporting a "prosperity" gospel are surprisingly low:

A study by Life Way Research conducted this past August indicated that 40% of evangelicals feel that their churches are preaching elements of a prosperity gospel, while 35% of the respondents disagreed.

While only 20% of the respondents to this poll firmly believe the concepts of a prosperity gospel, another study showed that 28 percent of Baptists, 29 percent of Methodists and 34 percent of Pentecostals believe that "if I give more money to my church and charities, God will bless me in return."*

Among the 20% of Evangelicals who do believe in at least some part of a prosperity gospel, 42% have annual incomes less than $10.000, and less than 1% earned over $150,000 per year.

While most evangelicals will express that they really don't know what the prosperity gospel is, LifeWay Executive Director Scott McConnell said that those who do (and their pastors) have been influenced by the effects of their following televangelists like Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar.

Evangelicals continue to be increasing in number and represent a good picture of Christians across all demographics and, for now, a "prosperity" gospel has only found favor with 20% of them and apparently they feel that 40% of their clergy do as well.

*"4 in 10 Evangelical Churchgoers Say Their Church Teaches Prosperity Gospel", by Samuel Smith, CP Newsletter, August 21, 2018

Sim Lee is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.

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