Even if you’ve never heard of a Christian movement scholars call “the prosperity gospel,” chances are you know some of its most famous proponents, like Joel Osteen or Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. “The prosperity gospel” is not officially associated with any particular denomination. It’s more a style of Christianity, one that emphasizes God’s desire to bless people—particularly and literally when it comes to wealth and health. Through your faith, you can become healthy and rich.
When historian Kate Bowler set out to write the book Blessed: A History of the Prosperity Gospel Movement she found herself being pulled into the book’s narrative in surprising ways. Bowler recently published a powerful follow-up column to Blessed in the New York Times called “Death, the Prosperity Gospel, and Me.” She’s here to help us understand the frequently lampooned and incredibly influential prosperity gospel movement.
About Kate Bowler
Kate Bowler is assistant professor of American Religion at Duke Divinity School. She is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel.
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