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«Succeed Here and in Eternity»

The Prosperity Gospel in Ghana


Wilfred Asampambila Agana

This book presents a qualitative study of the «Gospel of Prosperity» preached by the Charismatic and Neo-Pentecostal churches in Ghana, with a particular focus on its soteriological significance. The author explores the concept of the Gospel of Prosperity from a number of different angles, surveying its historical and ideological background, analysing its specific context in a Ghanaian environment and, finally, looking at its theological and soteriological relevance, compared with classical Christian teaching and especially Catholic systematic teaching. The theological investigation carried out here reveals both divergences and convergences, demonstrating areas where the Catholic tradition is challenged by the Gospel of Prosperity as well as vice versa. This analysis of the strengths and weaknesses within both traditions constitutes a springboard for a possible dialogue and access to common ground. Such a dialogue should be of great interest not only because of its significance for theological scholarship, but also because of the practical influence it could have on the lives of Christians, both in Ghana and elsewhere in the West African subregion.
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Foreword by Allan H. Anderson


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I am delighted to write a foreword to this comprehensive study on the Prosperity Gospel in Ghana, and much of what Wilfred Agana has written in this fine book applies to the whole of the African continent. To look for the origins of this doctrine one need look no further than to Pentecostalism, out of which it grew and where its most prominent African exponents are found. The expansion of Pentecostalism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in Africa can be attributed, at least partially, to cultural as well as religious factors. German sociologist Max Weber, as Agana points out in his opening chapter, thought that religion on the whole, and Protestantism in particular, indirectly enforced and justified existing wealth and power structures in society. His thesis was that Protestantism encourages thrift, strict morality and hard work, and therefore results in economic improvement and supports social stratification, although this result was unintentional. The question here is to what extent Pentecostalism has engendered this “Protestant ethic” in Africa, especially through the widespread Prosperity Gospel by which a success ethic of new entrepreneurial activity and voluntary association are intentionally promoted, and consumerism and materialism are seen as spiritual virtues. As Amos Yong argues, the rise of “prosperity Pentecostalism” in the Majority World has brought about an embrace of the global market economy and its hedonistic consumption, and “successful and victorious Christian living is now measured by Western economic standards”.1

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