Global Consultation on Prosperity Theology, Poverty, and the Gospel

30 Mar - 3 Apr 2014 Atibaia, Brazil

The Global Consultation on Prosperity Theology, Poverty, and the Gospel was held near São Paulo, Brazil, from 30 March – 2 April, 2014. It focused on Section IIE of The Cape Town Commitment, called ‘Calling the Church of Christ back to humility, integrity and simplicity’.

The consultation brought together 40 men and women, representing all continents. Participants and speakers were selected in recognition of their evangelical stance, sharp thinking, and the public contribution they have already made to the issue under discussion.

Why a consultation on prosperity theology, poverty, and the gospel?

The ‘prosperity gospel’ has for several decades severely undermined a true theology of work, of wealth and poverty, and of sickness and health.

Our purpose was to understand and evaluate, from a biblical and evangelical perspective, the prosperity theology movement and to build an informed picture of how it is affecting the life and growth of the church around the world. A proponent of this theology was invited to the consultation as a participant observer and to serve as an expert witness.

Our goal was to engage and persuade influencers at academic and popular levels of the true nature of biblical discipleship, its costs and its blessings, and of a biblical response to poverty. Discussions engaged, for example, matters of economics, politics, and power; stewardship of resources in light of the generosity of God; the church’s engagement with the poor; etc. (Please see below for more topics.)

Some topics addressed

  • What is the prosperity gospel? (Presentation by a proponent of the prosperity gospel specially invited to the consultation.)
  • How is prosperity theology developing in Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America?
  • Economics, politics, and power
  • Theology of work in relation to prosperity teaching
  • A critique of the way the Bible is used by proponents of prosperity theology
  • The search for a biblical balance: texts that point to prosperity and texts that point to the practice of poverty
  • What are the different types of the prosperity gospel (well-being gospel, therapeutic theology, etc)?
  • Ethical dimensions:
    Does the prosperity gospel address the social issues of injustice?
    Does it emphasize greater Christ-likeness?
    Do the teachings of prosperity theology lead people to greater holiness?
    To what extent is the prosperity gospel infiltrated by idolatry?
    What are the false idols?
  • Calling the church back to humility, integrity, and simplicity

Read the news release about this consultation.

Read the Consultation Statement.