Sunday, July 08, 2007

The American Prosperity Gospel Invades Africa

There is an excellent article at Christianity Today on the invasion of the American prosperity gospel in the African continent. Read it and be both informed and concerned.

It's fairly balanced. For example:

"David Oginde, senior pastor of the 10,000-member Nairobi Pentecostal Church, believes he could triple his membership by promising wealth. "But if that is all I am teaching, then I have lost the message," he says. "The kingdom of God is built on the Cross, not on bread and butter."

Oginde sometimes counsels Christians burned by health-and-wealth preachers. One student "planted" his school money as a seed offering, then was thrown out of college for not paying tuition. "I gave my money to God, but it has not come back," the student said. Oginde replied, gently, "You did not give your money to God."

Oginde warns that unethical preachers turn God's provision into "a sweepstakes," "distorting a good thing."

Still, both he and Ojo admit that many prosperity teachers do much good. Ojo says such pastors often inspire members to aim high, work hard, and avoid vices—and he sees Nigerians' standard of living improving. "God has been gracious to this country," he says. Oginde credits prosperity ministries for humanitarian work such as building schools and colleges, supplying food and medicine to the poor, and supporting HIV/AIDS prevention programs."