Churches in Africa have become a hub of a new gospel. Most of our churches are no longer preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ but a new gospel that has no cross in it but that which emphasizes health, wealth and happiness. In almost every city, this gospel has already taken root and is spreading like bush-fire to the villages.
The effect of the gospel has come as a result of new technology that has exposed many unsuspecting followers to western false preachers who are propagators of this teaching. Every day, there are hundreds of trending messages of this gospel in every social media that contains some grain of biblical truth, and that is appealing to the natural human desire. Most of us follow them for we have little knowledge of biblical doctrine and thus we are ‘ripe for accepting the distorted teachings.’
The new gospel is frustrating the work of the early faithful missionaries to Africa who preached the gospel simply and uncomplicated, yet powerful. These missionaries put the Cross of Christ at the center of their preaching, calling Africans to deny their barbaric cultures which were not saving at all and to put their faith in Christ Jesus, our only Savior. Our forefathers heard the gospel and accepted it, but we are slowly drifting away from this truth. We now believe a softer gospel that is comforting, satisfying and appealing to our immediate appetites.
In his book, Preachers of a Different Gospel, Femi Adeleye calls Prosperity Gospel a ‘gospel of greed that has no room for the cross and suffering.’ He continues to say that this gospel is silent on pain and suffering because it has no theology for it. It is sad to see people gathering every Sunday to get a user-friendly gospel that has no room for the real Jesus of the Cross. Many prosperity preachers as Femi notes ‘has created a new Jesus whose aim to come to the world was to make people comfortable and to guarantee their security.’
Western prosperity preachers have had large impact on propagating this new gospel in Africa. In their book Health, Wealth and Happiness, Jones and Woodbridge notes that many African believers equate Christian faith with wealth noting that this influence comes from Americans’ affluence and prosperity, hence making many native preachers to take up the prosperity message.
Sadly, the many followers of prosperity gospel get realities of life but remain lost in their sins since this gospel has lost the emphasis of repentance in believer’s life. The new gospel has replaced the gospel that emphasized contrition and repentance with ‘self-esteem.’ As an effect, there is a new breed of strange Christians who have lost awe in the presence of God. Everyone can preach, and no emphasis on character and conduct. Many live in sin from Monday to Saturday and yet lead others in worship on Sunday. It is OK to lead in worship and continue in sin.
Prosperity gospel is a short cut to good things of life and contradicts the essence of biblical faith. There is no better way to recover lost ground than rejecting all falsehood and returning to Biblical truth. May this be the commitment of every preacher, and of course of every member of any church!
(This is the first post in a series on Prosperity Gospel)