Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Did Jesus wear designer robes?

The Prosperity Gospel from The Global Conversation on Vimeo.

J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu
Part of the Lausanne Global Conversation

The growth of non-Western Christianity across Africa is largely due to the New Pentecostal Churches. Upwardly-mobile youth are drawn to their dynamic worship styles and pursuit of wealth and success. The prosperity gospel has found fertile soil as it resonates with tribal religion. Prosperity promoters raise serious theological concerns. The gospel of Jesus Christ neither glorifies poverty nor prosperity.

For thousands of believers in Ghana, “Jericho Hour” is the place to be on a Thursday morning. Founded in 1998, this prayer meeting—where “giant solutions await your giant problems”—is hosted by Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams in the Prayer Cathedral on Accra’s Spintex Road. Three thousand make their way there to pray for breakthroughs in business, for international travel, for a suitable spouse, and, when experiencing setbacks, for vengeance on those spiritually responsible.

It is part of a wider movement founded by Duncan-Williams in 1979. His African mentor was the late Benson Idahosa of Nigeria, who conferred upon himself the titles of “Professor” and “Archbishop.” Duncan-Williams’s personal transition from “Pastor” through unauthenticated “Rev. Dr.” to “Bishop” and now “Archbishop” is no less intriguing.

Duncan-Williams’s 26-year marriage ended in divorce in 2005 after much-publicized efforts at reconciliation mediated by the American pastor T. D. Jakes. In 2008 he married a wealthy African-American diplomat turned entrepreneur, and lives in Accra in a home which is widely described as palatial. Such lavish displays of wealth are usually the domain of politicians, who are believed to achieve their material success by stealing from the public purse. Rumor about the sources of the couple’s wealth is probably inevitable.

Read on for the rest of the article (plus responses)

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