A missiological evaluation of the contribution of Prosperity Gospel in the socio-economic transformation of Mahikeng
The principal objective of this study was a missiological evaluation of prosperity gospel on the socio-economic transformation of Mahikeng. Prosperity gospel has its roots in the charismatic movement or Pentecostalism. The charismatic movement and Pentecostalism were born as an eschatological movement with the primary aim and objective of ensuring that the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and spread to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:19-20) to save or rescue souls and humanity in general from imminent damnation. Prosperity gospel continues to mark rapid and outstanding growth globally, in South Africa and in Mahikeng in particular. In fact, some pastors in Mahikeng use prosperity gospel to lure people and believers from other denominations to their churches. Souders (2011:97) postulates that in prosperity gospel God is intimately linked with the daily events of every believer. Through His divine favour, God dispenses economic and social justice here and now in material and not metaphoric terms. It is a theology of immediate hope in which blessings are manifested by a windfall of wealth, promotions and relationship success. The proliferation of prosperity gospel and gospellers in South Africa, more particularly in Mahikeng, can be attributed to two main factors. The first is Pentecostalism, which taps into African religio-cultural conditions, and the second, which is equally important, is the promise of material abundance that in itself is a promise of escape from socio-economic hardship. Asamoah-Gyadu (2005a:408) also notes that Pentecostalism and prosperity gospel draw attention to the fact that the gospel is about restoration and as such it is expected that transformation must manifest in spiritual as well as physical abundance (wealth). In agreement, Lioy (2007:47) puts it more profoundly when he says this health and wealth tune plays right into the traditional African value system that tends to link material success and abundance (wealth) to spiritual growth. This study's primary focus and/or spotlight fell on a literature study on the subject of prosperity gospel as well as empirical research. The respondents of the empirical research were church leaders. The researcher also interviewed, until saturation point, ordinary Christians of Mahikeng who have encountered this phenomenon either positively or negatively. The ordinary church members were also required to fill in a questionnaire, which sought to establish their views on prosperity gospel.
- Theology