LifeWay Research Shows Evangelical Churchgoers Views on Prosperity

Pentecostals and Assemblies of God members are more prone to such beliefs

A poll done by Lifeway Research found that 41 percent of evangelical Christians either strongly agreed or simply assented to the prosperity gospel. Prosperity gospel teaches the belief that God will make someone prosperous if that individual donates generously to the church and financially supports its activities. The survey, published during the closing days of July, discovered that approximately four evangelical Americans among 10 attended church where they were taught the fundamental tenets of the prosperity gospel. The survey was conducted over a space of eight days, starting August 22  and ending August 30, 2017. 1,010 churchgoers were interviewed all over the United States.

It was found that churchgoers having allegiance to Assemblies of God and Pentecostal churches are more prone to agree that giving increased amounts of money to churches will lead God to bless them with substantial wealth. The statement was supported by 41 percent of churchgoers with adherence to evangelical Protestantism. 35 percent of the same denomination disagreed. It was also found that churchgoers having evangelical beliefs (75 percent) are much more likely to believe in the prosperity gospel compared to those who do not (63 percent) subscribe to the view. The said evangelical churches promote the concept that God's benevolence is triggered by donations made towards the church.

According to Ryan Burge, political science researcher of Eastern Illinois University and a pastor himself, "Most Americans don't know what the prosperity gospel is and I will go a step farther to say that most evangelicals don't know what the prosperity gospel is.” However, they know a few components of the gospel but cannot connect the strand with the bigger picture. Evangelicals may agree with a specific statement but are incapable of linking the same with a larger theological mindset.

According to Burge, poor people tend to believe more in the prosperity gospel compared to their wealthier counterparts. He found that the mean prosperity score was .42 for people earning less than approximately $10,000 every year. In contrast. The score was 0.12 for individuals earning above $150,000. He said a few wealthy evangelists like Joel Osteen are influencing other evangelical churches. The influence is so much that church pastors tend to change the way they asked for financial support. African-American churches have also come under the spell of several black prosperity preachers like Creflo Dollar. All these pastors have collected and continued to collect for a more ostentatious and consumerist Christianity.

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