The Gospel I Knew

I was taught that I deserved a good life.

In Nigeria there are Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals and Roman Catholics. But the prosperity gospel has achieved the colossal task of uniting these different traditions. The greatest ecumenical force has been prosperity theology. Our differences do not really matter when we come before the God who wants us all to prosper.

 

The prosperity gospel has reshaped Christianity in Nigeria. It rode off the back of Pentecostalism and was introduced largely through the ministry of the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, who many (rightly) describe as the father of the prosperity gospel in Africa. Idahosa laid the framework for what Conrad Mbewe calls the “Nigerian religious junk” that is now exported from Nigeria to the rest of Africa. Conservative evangelical churches are now a shadow of their former selves, and the prosperity gospel is now the distinctive feature of Christianity in Nigeria.

In Nigeria there are Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals and Roman Catholics. But the prosperity gospel has achieved the colossal task of uniting these different traditions. The greatest ecumenical force has been prosperity theology. Our differences do not really matter when we come before the God who wants us all to prosper.

I grew up in Pentecostal churches and never heard my pastors talk about material wealth directly. Instead I was taught the importance of prayers and its necessity for life. I was taught that anything was possible through prayer. But I was also taught that I deserved a good life. I was never meant to fail because God never failed. I was as an extension of God on earth, one who was able to speak the things that were not as though they were. And that was the only form of Christianity I knew.

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