Every day millions of people in the United States, Australia, Kenya, England, Brazil, Canada, Ukraine, and many other countries are able to turn on their televisions, download podcasts on iTunes, and visit popular websites to hear their favorite preachers share the “prosperity gospel.” Prosperity gospel, also known as Word of Faith preaching, is a Christian theology whose signature teaching is that God wants believers to be rich and enjoy good physical health. To realize wealth and good health, believers need only believe in the promises of God and be obedient to God’s word.
Exploring Prosperity Preaching is the culmination of several years of research that began during Mumford’s doctoral studies. While she affirms some of the gifts prosperity preaching offers to Christendom in general, she also highlights concerns such as its doctrine of divine favor; role in the 2008 housing crisis; denial of Jesus’ poverty; refutation of systemic racism; and complete negation of the systemic nature of injustice. As a homiletics professor, Mumford traces the roots of prosperity preaching from its metaphysical origins, through its Methodist and Pentecostal affiliations, to the evolution of the Word of Faith movement and its infiltration of African American preaching traditions.