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"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health."
The words from 3 John 1:2 are a familiar refrain in many black churches today, particularly those embracing prosperity theology. What are the seeds of truth in prosperity preaching? Why is it so popular, especially in today's African American church? Homiletics professor Debra Mumford seeks to answer these questions as she:
• Traces the roots of prosperity preaching to its Word of Faith origins• Examines its common teachings• Carefully weighs biblical proof texts against the larger scriptural testimony concerning our health, wealth, and spiritual wisdom
Pastors, professors, and seminary students will benefit from Mumford's thorough analysis and critique as prosperity preaching with its vast media presence influences the theology of hundreds of thousands of Christians.
"Well worth considering for ministers and Christians in general challenged by their own ideas of prosperity." Midwest Book Review, August 2012
"Mumford offers a sympathetic ear to Prosperity preachers, but brings the careful, critical mind of the Academy. The result is an accessible, helpful book that clearly presents the strengths and weaknesses of the core tenants of the Prosperity Gospel." JR Forasteros.com, June 13, 2012
"The book seems to accomplish its worthy objective. This is a helpful text for anyone who wants to understand prosperity preaching." Rhetoric, Race, and Religion
"This book will be one that I suggest as a resource to those of us who have to address such questions [of prosperity theology]." SoulPreaching.com
"The beauty of Exploring Prosperity Preaching is that Mumford is neither condemnatory nor judgmental in her analysis. She researches the origins of the Word of Faith movement, documents its core beliefs, and offers a constructive critique that is worthy of objective consideration....This is the most important book written about prosperity theology in the last thirty years." from the foreword by Rev. Dr.DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Author, dfree Breaking Free from Financial Slavery; Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, New Jersey
"Debra J. Mumford's work helps deepen our understanding of the specific tenets, the hermeutical principles at work, and the broader implications of the contemporary prosperity gospel being propagated by some of our nation's most prominent ministries. In presenting the contributions as well as the problems inherent in today's prosperity preaching, she encourages readers, and believers within these ministries in particular, to not be afraid to think critically when attempting to assess the truth underlying prosperity teachings.
Based on detailed research, Mumford offers an analysis of today's prosperity preaching through close reading of the sermons and writings of some of the most widely recognized figures within this movement, placing them within larger American and Christian historical contexts as well as the particular contexts of the African American experience and prophetic preaching traditions. In the process she demonstrates that all preaching claiming to be based on Scripture is indeed not biblical. Scholars of contemporary American religion, church leaders, believers, and interested members of the general public will find it an insightful contribution to the growing body of work on the contemporary prosperity movement." Milmon F. Harrison, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of California, Davis, Author, Righteous Riches: the Word of Faith Movement and Contemporary African American Religion
"Debra Mumford helps to thoroughly and rigorously expose prosperity theology for the distortion of the gospel it truly is. From Joel Osteen and Rod Parsley to The Secret, there are those who will use the Western consumer lifestyle to justify greed and selfishness. In Exploring Prosperity Preaching, Mumford reasserts the core challenge at the heart of Christ's message: it's not all about you."Christian Piatt, author of PregMANcy, editor of Banned Questions About Jesus
Debra J. Mumford, PhD, MDiv, MABL is the Frank H. Caldwell Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Money Matters for Ministry program at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. She is ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA and holds degrees from Howard University, the American Baptist Seminary of the West, and the Graduate Theological Union.
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