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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 21:40:48 +1300

The early Pentecostal Movement did not embrace prosperity
theology. A recognizable form of the doctrine began to take shape 
within the movement during the 1940s and 1950s, through the 
teachings of Pentecostal deliverance and healing evangelists. 
Combining prosperity teaching with revivalism and faith healing, 
these evangelists taught "the laws of faith ('ask and ye shall 
receive') and the laws of divine reciprocity ('give and it will be given 
back unto you')".

One prominent early figure in prosperity theology was E. W. 
Kenyon, educated in the 1890s at Emerson College of Oratory, 
where he was exposed to the New Thought movement. Kenyon 
later became connected with well-known Pentecostal leaders and 
wrote about supernatural revelation and positive declarations. His 
writing influenced leaders of the nascent prosperity movement 
during the post-war American healing revival.

Oral Roberts began teaching prosperity theology in 1947. He 
explained the laws of faith as a "blessing pact" in which God would 
return donations "seven fold", promising that donors would receive 
back from unexpected sources the money they donated to him. 
Roberts offered to return any donation that did not lead to an 
equivalent unexpected payment. In the 1970s, Roberts 
characterized his blessing pact teaching as the "seed faith" 
doctrine: donations were a form of "seed" which would grow in 
value and be returned to the donor. Roberts began recruiting 
"partners", wealthy donors who received exclusive conference 
invitations and ministry access in exchange for support.

In 1953, faith healer A. A. Allen published The Secret to Scriptural 
Financial Success and promoted merchandise such as prayer 
cloths, anointed with "miracle oil" and "miracle tent shavings". In 
the late 1950s, Allen increasingly focused on prosperity. He taught 
that faith could miraculously solve financial problems and claimed 
to have had a miraculous experience in which God supernaturally 
changed one-dollar bills into twenty-dollar bills to allow him to pay 
his debts. Allen taught the "word of faith", or the power to speak 
something into being.

In the 1960s, prosperity became a primary focus in healing revivals. 
T. L. Osborn began emphasizing prosperity in the 1960s and 
became known for his often ostentatious displays of personal 
wealth. During that decade, Roberts and William Branham 
criticized other prosperity ministries, arguing that their fund-raising 
tactics unfairly pressured attendees. These tactics were prompted 
in part by the expense of developing nationwide radio networks and 
campaign schedules. At the same time, leaders of the Pentecostal 
Assemblies of God denomination often criticized the focus on 
prosperity taken by independent healing evangelists.


During the 1960s, prosperity gospel teachers embraced 
televangelism and came to dominate religious programming in the 
United States. Oral Roberts led the way, developing a syndicated 
weekly program that became the most watched religious show in 
the United States. By 1968, television had supplanted the tent 
meeting in his ministry.

In the 1980s, public attention in the United States was drawn to 
prosperity theology through the influence of prominent 
televangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. Their influence 
waned, however, after they were implicated in high-profile scandals. 
In the aftermath, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) emerged as 
the dominant force in prosperity televangelism, having brought 
Robert Tilton and Benny Hinn to prominence.

Word of Faith

Although nearly all of the healing evangelists of the 1940s and '50s 
taught that faith could bring financial rewards, a new 
prosperity-oriented teaching developed in the 1970s that differed 
from the one taught by Pentecostal evangelists of the 1950s. This 
"Positive Confession" or "Word of Faith" movement taught that a 
Christian with faith can speak into existence anything consistent 
with the will of God.

Kenneth Hagin has been credited with a key role in the expansion 
of prosperity theology. He founded the RHEMA Bible Training 
Center in 1974, and over the next 20 years, the school trained 
more than 10,000 students in his theology. As is true of other 
prosperity movements, there is no theological governing body, and 
well-known ministries differ on some theological issues. The 
teachings of Kenneth Hagin have been described by Candy 
Gunther Brown of Indiana University as the most "orthodox" form 
of Word of Faith prosperity teaching.

Recent U.S. history

The Neo-Pentecostal movement has been characterized in part by 
an emphasis on prosperity theology, which gained greater 
acceptance within charismatic Christianity during the late 1990s. 
By 2006, three of the four largest congregations in the United 
States were teaching prosperity theology, and Joel Osteen has 
been credited with spreading it outside of the Pentecostal and 
Charismatic movement through his books, which have sold over 4 
million copies. Bruce Wilkinson's The Prayer of Jabez also sold 
millions of copies and invited readers to seek prosperity.

By the 2000s, adherents of prosperity theology in the United 
States were most common in the Sun Belt.[10] In the late 2000s, 
proponents claimed that tens of millions of Christians had 
accepted prosperity theology. A 2006 poll by Time reported that 17 
percent of Christians in America said they identified with the movement.

International growth

In the 2000s, churches teaching prosperity theology saw significant 
growth in the Third World. According to Philip Jenkins of 
Pennsylvania State University, poor citizens of impoverished 
countries often find the doctrine appealing because of their 
economic powerlessness and the doctrine's emphasis on miracles. 
One region seeing explosive growth is Western Africa, particularly 
Nigeria. In the Philippines, the El Shaddai movement, part of the 
Catholic Charismatic Renewal, has spread prosperity theology 
outside Protestant Christianity...

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