Prosperity gospel gaining ground in the US

(Photo: Unsplash/Live Richer)

The prosperity gospel is growing in popularity among American Protestant churchgoers, according to new research

In a study by Lifeway Research, conducted last September and published this week, over half of churchgoers (52%) reported that their church teaches God will bless them if they donate more money. 

This marks a steep increase from the 38% who said the same in 2017. 

African American churchgoers were the most likely to say that their church teaches that they will receive more blessings if they give more money (71%).

Younger churchgoers — those aged 18 to 34 (63%) and 35 to 49 (66%) - were more likely than older churchgoers—those 50-64 (53%) and over 65 (31%) - to say that their church teaches this.

The proportion of churchgoers who believe God wants them to be financially prosperous has also risen in the last six years from 69% to over three quarters (76%) today.

The survey of 1,002 US adults found that among different denominations and faith traditions, Methodists are most likely to believe God wants them to prosper financially (93%) but the belief was also common among those identifying as evangelical (80%). 

Commenting on the results of the study, Lifeway Research's executive director, Scott McConnell, said that financial difficulties triggered by inflation and the pandemic may be a factor in the growing popularity of the prosperity gospel.

"In the last five years, far more churchgoers are reflecting prosperity gospel teachings, including the heretical belief that material blessings are earned from God," said McConnell.