Skip to comments.Prosperity Gospel Is Latching Onto Evangelical Rise in Brazil Amid Economic Hardship
Posted on 11/03/2017 9:24:23 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Prosperity gospel preaching, where charismatic leaders are offering people solutions to their economic troubles, is latching ionto the growing evangelical movement in Brazil, a nation which observers say is undergoing significant spiritual shifts.
Pastor Bob Robbins of the evangelical English-speaking Sampa Church in Sao Paulo responded to a recent article in The Washington Post documenting such shifts by telling The Christian Post that Brazilians face many different spiritual influences.
"I think the biggest thing influencing the prosperity gospel in Brazil is the lack of hope and the struggling economy," Robbins, who alongside his wife, Martha, has been involved in church planting in the U.S. since 1999, told CP in an email Thursday.
"If a charismatic person can say that they have a solution for people's struggles they can get an audience. I am not sure that I can say the prosperity gospel is on the rise, but it is present and has a pretty large influence," he added.
The Washington Post article published Tuesday positioned that Brazil is going through a "modern-day version of the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago," and said that the world's largest Roman Catholic country is undergoing religious debates involving "church riches and corruption, political power, and the proper way to read the Bible."
It added that the belief that faith can bring economic riches, also known as the prosperity gospel, has spread among some Pentecostals, who account for about 70 percent of the country's Protestants.
Paul Freston, a sociologist and an expert in Pentecostalism in Latin America, explained that the prosperity gospel has moved through poorer neighborhoods, taking advantage of the record 13 percent unemployment rate that has plagued the country.
He said that promises for a better material life through giving and prayer, alongside strict social guidelines, such as banning ills like drinking and smoking, have given believers structure and agency over their lives.
Studying the appeal that Pentecostalism has on a growing number of Brazilians, some Catholic priests there have reportedly been mixing charismatic components into their services, such as catchier music.
Odilo Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, explained that people follow their personal subjective tastes and experiences when it comes to church choices.
"In our Brazilian context, religion is presented as a product in a marketplace which seeks to please the customer and present a product that is appetizing," Scherer said.
Catholics are projected to become a minority in Brazil by 2030.
Robbins, who has lived in Brazil for one-and-a-half years now, said that the country's highly spiritual culture cultivates an environment for people to be influenced by those who seem to offer an easy way out of troubles.
"As a whole, most Brazilians are not very high on their country, and they are looking for something to hope in. The prosperity gospel is something that is easy for many people to hope in," he noted.
Some of Brazil's most prominent pastors have been accused of being involved in prosperity gospel preaching, such as Edir Macedo, founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, who has found great commercial success, launching several Bible-based prime-time soap opera hits.
Macedo spent 11 days in jail on charges of charlatanism back in 1992, and in 2011 he was charged with fraud and money laundering, accused of using billions of dollars in donations from his followers to buy jewelry, real estate and cars.
The Washington Post listed a number of the other major scandals involving prosperity gospel-accused preachers in Brazil, and included statements by some Presbyterian ministers, such as Augustus Nicodemus Lopes, who called such movements "cults" who take people's money while promoting supposed healing cloths anointed with oil.
Others, such as Silas Malafaia, a preacher who The Washington Post said wields "enormous political clout on behalf of the evangelical population," have said that there is nothing wrong with ministers acquiring wealth through side projects, such as books.
Malafaia insisted that pastors deserve to be compensated if their ministries are growing large.
"God wants me to be mediocre? The devil would give riches to everyone else?" he positioned.
Speaking about the role of money, Robbins told The Christian Post that it does play a big part in society, and in the church as well.
"In my opinion the role of the church is to help people learn how to be good managers of their money. As a pastor I don't want something 'from' people but I want something 'for' people," the Sampa Church pastor said.
"What I want is for people to live their life by Godly principles and that does include how they spend their money. It's not just giving to the church, but how they spend their money in all areas of their life."
The Gospel Coalition, a network of Reformed evangelical churches, has in the past warned about the prosperity gospel movement in Brazil.
Lopes, who was a plenary speaker at the Gospel Coalition's 2015 National Conference, said in an August 2016 article that many churches in the nation are affected by such teaching.
"On one hand, there's a growing interest on the part of both Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals for the Reformed faith and expository preaching. Unfortunately, this growth has provoked counter-measures from various Assemblies of God and Arminian Baptist leaders," Lopes said at the time.
"They're concerned with the large number of young people becoming sympathetic to the doctrines of grace. On the other hand, a great majority of the so-called 'evangelical' churches in Brazil are plagued with prosperity theology and rampant syncretistic practices," he added.
The so-called Prosperity Gospel is no gospel at all. It is a path that leads to shipwrecked faith.
> The so-called Prosperity Gospel is no gospel at all <
Very, very true. Its appearance in Brazil - or anywhere else - is not a good thing.
let’s see the so called ‘prosperity gospel’ turn venezuala around- then maybe- just maybe- they will get to claim they are legit
The “prosperity gospel” is not a Christian gospel and the same “sell” can be found in religious groups that are not even self-identified as Christian. It’s a selling of what G-d will do for you - in a very material sense - if you just do “X”. It’s religious snake oil rewritten and dressed up for modern times and modern tastes.
[The prosperity gospel is not a Christian gospel]
The LORD blesses Whom He want to bless.
A pastor in my area lived in a “bad” neighborhood for years and was blessed by a congregation member who gave him a furnished home (not small) Another gave him a vehicle (not a junker). He is obedient to the WORD and in faith trusts in GOD to provide for his needs.
Fools and their money ...
If you put your hands on the TV and pray with the evangelist, does it matter if it’s live or a recording?
If not, is an analog recording more salvific than digital?
What you say is very true. On the other hand, our Lord Jesus didn’t even have a place to lay His head and died naked, hanging on a cross. Yet God raised Him above all.
Blessings can come either on this side or the other. But it’s a mistake to think they’ll come during this life.
Prosperity is needed to further the GOSPEL. Plus GOD delights in giving gifts to His children. It all comes down to the heart and motives, which GOD judges.
I don’t wish to be mistaken. A “prosperity gospel”, one that states if you give monetarily to God you will received more monetarily back, is NOT the gospel. It is a false religion. The gospel of Christ is repent, turn to Christ and you will be saved. That’s it. God promise spiritual blessings. If He so chooses to give us monetary blessings then that is because of His divine will and plan-not because of what we do for Him. He doesn’t need any help.
Christians have this terrible attitude today that it’s all about them. It’s not.
What you say is true.
But it has nothing to do with how the “prosperity gospel” is sold.
The prosperity gospel is sold as “blessings will come to you” if you “give to the lord” - which means give to the ministry selling that to you. It’s snake oil.
Nonsense. God furthers the kingdom. He doesn't always do it by prosperity. I would suggest a careful study of Amos 4.
Plus GOD delights in giving gifts to His children.
God delights in giving SPIRITUAL gifts to His children. All those of His who want to lead a godly life will face persecution. Not what one would associate with prosperity. Prosperity may or may not follow according to God's will. Just because one is not prosperous does not mean they are not holy. The scriptures are full of people who gave up everything for God.
I would suggest a more careful reading of the scriptures and what our faithful apostles gave up for us.
[I would suggest a more careful reading of the scriptures and what our faithful apostles gave up for us.]
I am not a “prosperity” proponent, but GOD never intended believers to live in poverty. What we do with what GOD gives us is a heart issue. We are to be thankful for the good times and the bad times. His grace is sufficient.
And GOD DOES further the kingdom by blessing people with prosperity. It is one of ways He uses to let people shine their light for Him.
So are you saying that those believers who are living in poverty do not have enough faith?
-—but GOD never intended believers to live in poverty.-—
Please cite chapter and verse...
You can live an abundant life being in poverty...
What a meant to say is GOD will sustain us.
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
I am not going to argue with you. You know where I was coming from my previous posts. God bless you.
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