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What the Prosperity Gospel Lacks

But like many forms of liberal Christianity, the marriage of God and Mammon half-expects somehow to undo the Fall, through the beneficence of Providence and the magic of the free market. In its emphasis on the virtue of prosperity, it risks losing something essential to Christianity—skipping on to Easter, you might say without lingering at the foot of the cross.

It’s there that you find the pieces of Christian tradition that a gospel of prosperity leaves by the wayside. An understanding that there can be strength in weakness and defeat; and appreciation for the idea that there might be greater virtue in poverty and renunciation, suffering and purgation, than there is in abundance and “delight”; a hard-earned wisdom about the seductions and corruptions associated with worldliness, power, and wealth. Shorn of these aspects of faith, Christianity risks becoming an appendage to Americanism…

—from Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat, Ch. 6: Pray and Grow Rich

bad religion


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