Prosperity Gospel And 419 In The Church – Part 2 By Rev. C. K. Ekeke and Prof. Debra J. Mumford

By Rev. C. K. Ekeke and Prof. Debra J. Mumford

I have deliberately removed Bishop Oyedepo from the title of this article for a couple of reasons: first, to let his followers and supporters understand that the first part of my essay was not about their bishop. Second, I hold nothing against Bishop Oyedepo.  In fact, I admire him as a businessman.  He is a smart and astute industrialist.  I do not however, consider him a spiritual leader. Third, the prosperity gospel being promulgated today is much bigger than Bishop David Oyedepo.  So, those of you who are followers, supporters and protégées of the bishop, please stop making all sorts of hateful comments or even threatening me, because you don’t know who I am.  Do not threaten the voice of a true prophet of God or touch His anointed one.

Usually I try to stay away from reading comments—especially negative ones; but when your hateful emails and negative comments began arriving in my personal inbox and even those phone calls, I then realized how truth hurts the hearers who are in error.  However, I'm not concerned about your empty threats and tantrums but your ignorance and stupidity.  In part 3 and final part of the essay, I will explore the teachings of Jesus Christ on the subject of money, finances and material prosperity, so that some of you who are biblical ignorant can learn from the master teacher.

Let me also make this point.  I do not disagree that your bishop is called of God.  You must understand that the “Call of God” is not always associated with shepherding a church or running a ministry.  If you study the Holy Scriptures very carefully, you will notice that people were called to perform various activities and carry-out different assignments.  Some were called to be leaders, kings, military warriors, missionaries, judges, kingdom builders, revolutionaries and off-course to be  priests, prophets and teachers (study these names:  Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Jonah, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, Esther, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Jesus, Apostles, Paul).  They were all called of God.

If you also study the political, social and economic systems of biblical times, you will notice that none of those called to be priests, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc were rich or wealthy.  In fact, when the priests tried to extort the people, they were rebuked by the true and courageous prophets of God.  Also when food lacked in the homes of the priests, God rebuked the people for failing to tithe their grains into the house of the LORD (Malachi 3).  Today, Malachi 3:10 is abused just like Luke 6:38, John 10:10, 3 John 2, and other Scriptures that are falsely used to teach prosperity gospel, which have nothing whatever to do with money.  In fact the context of Luke 6:38 was about judging others and taking care of the needy and poor.  We will explore those Scriptures and others in part 3 of the essay.

Yes, Abraham was wealthy, but he was not a priest or bishop.  Isaac, his son was also rich, but he was not a priest or prophet.  Jacob was wealthy but, he was not a bishop.  Joseph controlled the riches and wealth of Egypt; he was not a pastor but a prime minister.  Because of his godly lifestyle and wisdom, he was appointed to administer the wealth of Egypt.  Daniel prayed three times daily and refused to bow to the gods of king Nebuchadnezzar.  The King noticed his great faith and godly wisdom, and elevated him to be the wise counselor in the king’s cabinet.

Bishop James pleaded to the churches in Rome and Asia Minor to send their offerings to support the poor stricken church in Jerusalem and to carry out the work of the apostles.  Apostle Paul was supported by the wealthy women and rich merchants of the Corinthian church.  As a missionary and evangelist, he worked as a carpenter to supplement his living expenses.  Jesus Christ, even though had a treasurer in His ministry, who kept the meager donations from the people, He had to borrow a white donkey to ride into Jerusalem.  He didn’t have money to buy one, although He could have commanded money to do whatever He wanted to be done, but he didn’t.  On one occasion, he commanded money out the mouth of the fish to pay His taxes to Caesar.  He borrowed two small fish and five loaves of bread to feed His congregants.  His tomb was a borrowed tomb.

On and on, you will notice that those who were rich and wealthy in biblical times were common folks who simply worked hard to become rich, but also folks who trusted the God that they served to bless them.  And that blessing was not just monetary, but peace, protection and ability to work.

When you a read the Bible, you will also come across hundreds of stories of men and women—young and old, named and unnamed, sometimes, it is a story of sadness, suffering, pain, poverty, disease, sickness and death.  But many times, it is the story of joy, of power, influence, riches, wealth, love, charity, faith, and wisdom.   Today, especially in our society, such virtues are gone and no where to be seen.  Today’s Christians are obsessed with money and materialism—a mentality of “have it all” in this life, “god-wants-you-rich theology.”  The great virtues of love, charity, faith, humility, courage, character, integrity, and prayer are thrown out of the doors of modern-day churches.  

Many churches today are designed for ecstatic and euphoric worship style where man rather than Jesus Christ is glorified; where the pastors and bishops are flying in private jets, and the majority of their parishioners are wallowing in abject poverty and wretched mindset.  With exception of  corrupt politicians, civil servants, business barons and the 419’ners, most of the people in our churches today are folks  living in abject poverty and yet, those who are suppose to be  educating their minds and empowering them are extorting from the little they have.  Nigerian Christians can’t think anymore on how to create and build wealth but how to manipulate God to rain dollars on them.  Today, the teaching in the church that wealth and material blessings are based on one’s faith   is a travesty.   It is the kind of teaching and preaching that keeps people in bondage and spiritual blindness.  Today’s church is spiritually blind.  To be spiritual is not to be stupid.  Spirituality does not equate to stupidity. And that’s where most Nigeria Christians are currently—in spiritual bondage.

Debra J. Mumford, PhD., MDiv., the Frank H. Caldwell Associate professor of Homiletics at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, in her classic book: “Exploring Prosperity Preaching – Biblical Health, Wealth, and Wisdom,” masterfully explores the core teachings of prosperity gospel and their proponents in the American church and offers constructive criticism of the prosperity message, its contributions to Christianity as well as its consequences.

We reproduce here below the overview of “Exploring Prosperity Preaching” by Professor Debra J. Mumford for your edification.

Although the prosperity gospel is relatively new on the religious landscape, she writes, its worldwide media presence has enabled the dissemination of its message to people of all ages, ethnicities, races, and religious and denominational affiliations. We will closely examine the prosperity gospel to deconstruct its teachings. But first we need to understand how prosperity preaching evolved and learn about the people responsible for its existence.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the history of prosperity preaching, including people and movements that influenced its origins, such as E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth E. Hagin, and Oral Roberts. The book surveys African American preachers of New Thought, including Father Divine, Reverend Ike, and Johnnie Rae Colemon, and introduce contemporary Word of Faith ministers as well. The next ten chapters outline the core teachings of the prosperity gospel. Each chapter bears a title that represents a frequently used phrase by prosperity preachers. The theology that undergirds each phrase is explained, and affirmations and critiques are included in a section titled “Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff” in each chapter. Biblical texts that prosperity preachers use to justify their teachings are included where applicable.

In Chapter 2, “The Word of God Means Exactly What It Says,” explores the biblical assumptions on which the prosperity gospel is based. Word of Faith preachers interpret the Bible using proof texting, typology, and propositional revelation – basically the use of rationale of literal interpretation and rejection of biblical exegesis. In the Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff section, I describe the dangers of interpretation without context. I present an alternative interpretive approach.

Chapter 3 looks at the prosperity gospel’s teaching that declares, “The world’s economy is not your economy.” According to Word of Faith theology, two economies exist in the world—the secular economy and God’s divine economy. In the divine economy, believers become wealthy only by giving away what they have. Adherents are advised to ignore the realities of the world’s economy and to believe that God will supply not only their needs but also the desires of their hearts. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I examine the potential consequences of ignoring secular realities, using prosperity preaching’s role (as reported in some news articles) in the 2008 housing crisis as an example.

Chapter 4, “Poverty Is a Curse, and Jesus Was Not Poor,” explores the Word of Faith contention that poverty is a curse. Since the central figure of the gospel (Jesus) cannot be under a curse, they also argue that Jesus was not poor. I use very familiar Scriptures to support Word of Faith teachings about poverty, including how prosperity preachers offer alternate interpretations of biblical texts that describe Jesus’ socioeconomic status. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I differentiate between the poor people as “cursed of God” and “poverty” as “a curse.” I also offer an African American prophetic preaching perspective on Jesus’ social status.

In chapter 5, I consider the “God is your source” teaching. While all preachers of Word of Faith theology contend that God is the source of all blessings, including finances, some preachers are more specific about the sources of wealth available for Christians. For example, some teach that “the wealth of sinners is laid up for the righteous.” In order for the righteous to receive stored money, they literally need to cry out for it. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I offer an African American prophetic preaching perspective. I also offer a basic approach to biblical exegesis.

Chapter 6, “The Anointing Produces Victory,” examines how the teachings of Kenneth E. Hagin, who believed in the power of the Holy Spirit (the anointing) to empower believers for ministry, have been adopted by Word of Faith preachers to teach that the anointing also empowers believers to prosper financially. I investigate interpretations of Joel 2:18–4:17, including the teachings of the Latter Rain movement. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I examine the concept of anointing in the Old Testament and present an African American prophetic preaching alternative.

In chapter 7, she explored the Word of Faith teaching in the refrain “There is authority in the name of Jesus.” Word of Faith preachers proclaim that believers should use that authority to create their own life realities. Essentially, adherents are taught that their lives are direct reflections of their verbal confessions. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I look into the dangers of misusing the concept of “authority” and offer an African American prophetic preaching perspective.

In chapter 8, “Claim Your Healing,” I probe the Word of Faith assertion that believers need never be sick. Good physical health is a right of all Christians, and so believers have only to claim their good health in order to receive it. She highlights the Word of Faith interpretation of Isaiah 53:4-5 as it relates to God’s promise of healing. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I offer an alternative interpretation of the Isaiah text and examine other healing texts. Using the testimony of Betty Price, wife of prosperity preacher Fred Price, I encourage readers to broaden their thinking about healing beyond the miraculous.

In chapter 9, “You Are the Righteousness of God,” we will test the Word of Faith teaching that asserts that believers have been declared righteous in God’s sight and therefore have at work in them the same unlimited ability and wisdom of God as Christ had. She contrasts Word of Faith theology of the righteousness of God and the favor of God of prosperity preachers with that of Swiss reformer John Calvin. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I dissuade readers from conceiving of God as their personal valet.

In chapter 10, “Race Doesn’t Matter,” Prof. Debra Mumford examines the teachings of Word of Faith teacher Creflo Dollar Jr. on race. Building on the promise of the elusive American Dream, his teaching asserts that people no longer need to identify with their natural heritage (race) once they are born again, because they have a new spiritual heritage with which to identify. Identifying with a particular ethnic or racial group creates division in the church. I contrast Word of Faith’s theology of race with the teachings of evangelical and prophetic traditions. In Sifting the Wheat from the Chaff, I argue that racism is not a personal problem but a systemic issue.

Chapter 11 examines Word of Faith’s belief that “living by the word of God eliminates social ills.” Adherents say that all of society’s issues of social injustice would be resolved if all people would convert to Christianity. Word of Faith’s focus on individual conversion is indicative of the individualistic nature of prosperity theology. Believers are taught to make confessions (verbal claims to the promises of God) to God on behalf of themselves and their families rather than on behalf of others. I highlight the entitlement issues that result and compare and contrast these claims with those of black prophetic preaching.

In chapter 12, “Affirmations, Denouncements, and Reconstruction of Faith,” I delineate the gifts that prosperity theology brings to Christendom, along with its shortcomings. She offers observations and insights about the primary beneficiaries of prosperity theology, draw conclusions about the value of and need for critical biblical interpretation and holistic theological education, and suggest approaches to reconstructing faith after rejecting the prosperity gospel. Finally, I appeal to all people of God to work for the resurgence of the African American prophetic preaching tradition.

In Part 3, the concluding part of this essay, we will examine the teachings of Jesus Christ on the topic of prosperity—money, finances and material blessings and explore the teachings, the truths and secrets of money, riches and wealth.  We will also learn the secret and requirement for obtaining true prosperity as found in the book of Joshua 1:6-9 and then conclude with the six (6) basic kinds of prosperity and blessing taught in the Bible. To be spiritual does not equate stupidity and that is where many Nigerian Christians are currently—in spiritual bondage. The church’s teaching nowadays has become syncretistic and frankly leading people to stupidity, wretched mindsets and death.

Rev. C. K. Ekeke, M.Div., Ph.D., is a theologian, author, consultant and leadership scholar; he is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute, USA
Prof. Debra J. Mumford, PhD., MDiv., is the Frank H. Caldwell Associate professor of Homiletics and Associate Dean of Students Academic Affairs at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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See ur foolish reasoning?

If the jews cud not kill Jesus when his time had not yet come, do u think assasins and bombers today wud have been able to kill Him today if His time had not yet come. When his life was threatened and he cud excape without having bullet proof vests, bullet proof cars and mansions and not being gaurded by the then roman army, what makes ur empty skull think he wud need such physical protection, when he cud still call on the Angels of GOD to destroy his enemies more than atomic bombs of today can? The scriptures says woe on him that trusts in his or her physical might. Cos even in the grave, death which u cant avoid with bullet proof vests and d roman armies cud not stop HIM from resurrection. Go figure dud.

I don't think you are born

I don't think you are born again or else you would have given a righteous judgement. examine yourself, test yourself if you are in the faith lkest you are reprobate for i perceive an evil heart and wickedness in your comment. the bible say "woe unto him that justify the wicked" "woe unto him that call evil good and evil good"
therefore repent ye and be converted so that you may see and understand the perfect will of God.
for you to understand my msg read Jeremiah23:9-17 and meditate wisely.
behind a successful and righteous nation there is always spiritual personality playing the major role.

My dear, i totally disagree

My dear, i totally disagree with u dt Jesus would be cruising in a bullet-proof cars. No no way, bcos Jesus knew where he came from, what he was called 2 do and where he's going. He knows very well dt nobody has d power 2 kill him excer when he's time has come. Bcos when u hord ur life, u lose it but when u give it away bcos of him, u will gain it. Also, if Jesus has come in our time, no doubt, prominent pple would still flock around him like Nicodemus but quess what? D same reply he gave Nicodemus awaits them also. Jesus is 2 intellegent 2 be used by us. Tx

King David

U are an idiot!

Ignorance is a disease

I agreed with most of the writer's comment. I used to follow Bishop Oyedepo's message. He is a good preacher, but i think He need to return to the true calling he had from God. Acquiring fleets of jets and building schools which commom member of congregation cannot afford to send their kids is not the best.
The name of the ministry was Living faith, but lately they changed to David Oyedepo Ministries. Church should'nt be a personal property. even though he got the vision from God, but what is going on now is not of God. I pray he would retrace his steps back to God and pray that he finish strong and he will not loose his reward.


Do u take time to read books from those u are judging or even listen to their tape .if u do this u will present a better arguement. Moreso encounter with Jesus is what we need not theology. PAUL had theology but he became a different person when he me Jesus.

Lack of Discernment in this Age

Indeed I agree with the writer that Oyedepo is certainly not a spiritual leader, neither is any other money-hungry prosperity preacher. They preach another gospel which is no gospel at all, according to the book of Galatians, and they are accursed by Heaven. It is a tragedy that any liar can pick up the Bible and claim to be a man or woman of God and people start following and worshipping them on account of their false promises. Another book I would recommend reading on the subject is called Fleece My Sheep? These false ministers lead the people into idolatry, a violation of God's first commandment!

@Part 2 By Rev. C. K. Ekeke and Prof. Debra J. Mumford

Prosperity Gospel And 419 In The Church is not the cause of our abject poverty and national infrastructural decay. I have not heard were a man of God asked or forced his congregation to give/donate by pointing GUNS at members. Giving in churches is not by force but freely and should not be done under duress.

Both of you gentlement will do us more service by educating forumites on "Wealth Creation". . . We have enough human development but how do we create wealth for the people which can in turn reduce arm robbers and kidnappers. How can we make Nigeria a better place for our future generations to come?

Men of God are not the palava

Prosperity Gospel is not the issue killing us... The people Representing us in NASS and Aso Rock are HURTING us more than Adeboye, Oyedepo, Oritsajafor, Oyakhilome e.t.c put together


1 Corinthians 2:14
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" Ordination as Rev and being a Professor of divinity does not make one an authority in bible translation. The interpretation does not flow from common sense and human wisdom. The ignorance of our Reverend gentleman Okeke is legendary if you understand what I mean. Being religious and laying claim to self righteousness does not make you a Christain. Have you encountered Jesus as Lord and saviour? Then and only then will you be able to understand the scriptures.

RE: prof and revd, honestly you

So you think poverty is a curse um? start your own church business. you are a big fool.
God bless you Rev'd

Poverty is a systemic issue, greed, laziness, behavioral, etc.

Anonymous, poverty is not just a crime but a systemic issue as well as behavioral, greed, laziness, etc. God has put everything in the universe for mankind to prosper but improper management leads to poverty. Poverty is not a curse, if it is so, as you said, 90% of Nigerians would be considered cursed or 75% world's population. Jesus was not poor, he was just teaching the virtue of being content. Greed has destroyed our society.

the truth

C k ekeke,thanks for your write up ....I hope many nigerians will be able to c the truth in your Article.....its high time nigerians start thinking outside the box,,look at issues critically and objectively.....

you mentioned that prophets

you mentioned that prophets of old were poor, for your valuable info, power (whether spiritual or otherwise) is directly proportional to wealth, that was why Elijah could make the widow's oil to never run dry, which is wealth, imagine if he was poor and had nothing to offer but prophesies, the widow would've told him to "find his level"! jesus was rich beyond human comprehension, he could command money from the mouth of a fish and also had a treasurer, now tell me, have you ever seen a poor man employing a treasurer? if jesus had come in this generation, what do you think would've happen? let me give you a picture; he would be cruising around in bullet-proof cars with full security, heads of state, presidents, prime ministers, etc would visit him like nicodemus did in those days, he would live in a well secured mansion..pls stop fooling yourselves, God never created man to suffer, read genesis and dont judge because the LORD said not to judge. thank you.

Be fearless as you declare

Be fearless as you declare the truth and attempt to enlighten the majority who are ignorant in Nigeria. The abuse of the Gospel has gone on too long in Nigeria! At least in the west the Government acts as a check. Those who have ears will hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the church...Bless you.

u will neva understand

Jesus chose not to be wealthy materially becos he is spiritually and dat is the best becos of too much prosperity message we have lots of road side churches. Truely. Some of all dis pastors have their kids outside d country schooling while their members suffer. Even christ warned us against false teachers becos by their fruit we shall know them. The bible told me dat God choose to bless anyone he wishes to bless not by anyone's power. Open ur eyes to the scripture and not pastors my friend

Really, I bet you're one of

Really, I bet you're one of those so-called 'Prosperity' preachers. Show me where in the bible it was stated that Jesus lived an opulent life and was brainwashing followers into transferring the meagre mainstay they had to him? If you had a conscience, you will know that asking the poor to contribute to your affluence amounts to robbery whichever way you look at it.

I wonder what bible you

I wonder what bible you read??? Jesus lived a simple life. He wasn't rich by any standard. Christianity does not promise riches or an absence of problems. No!!! It is only an assurance that God will bring us peace in whatever situation we find ourselves. "By suffering he was made perfect..."

Rev. C. K. Ekeke I like you

Rev. C. K. Ekeke I like you theological write up. You said somewhere in your first paragraph " Do not threaten the voice of a true prophet of God or touch His anointed one" you also forgot to add "THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE" which you just did by judging others without knowing there calling. You ought to know that those that serve GOD do not suffer or lack anything. If unbelievers have private jets and all the good things of life; what about those serving the true GOD. Sir, my believe which you cannot change is that those who serve GOD do not suffer or lack anything. Any Pastor that is not rich has a hidden sin like jealousy and back biting. I for one will never allow any poor pastor to touch my head because if I don't see the goodness of the LORD in your life, then you have nothing to offer me. JESUS died so that we can be saved; and was poor so that we can be rich.

Keep on keeping on!

Rev. Ekeke, don't be disturbed by the various threats you have mentioned at the beginning of this article. The permanent thing in life is change; unfortunately, many people do not want such a change. I refer you to the Biblical account of the conspiracy of the High Priests and Pharisees who saw Jesus and His teachings as a threat to their spurious way of life. And their reaction culminated in Jesus' arrest and death. However, Jesus brought a change that has transformed the entire world. If anybody does not want to follow the teachings of Christ, that is up to that person. Jesus, that author of this universe, could have wallowed in riches but He did not. In fact he condemned riches that took man away from God. People, listen!

Thanks for this essay Rev. C.

Thanks for this essay Rev. C. Ekeke. The church must indeed awake to her true responsibility as the pillar of Truth again, because the enemy we fight is a dangerous and cunning schemer. With only 3 scriptures in their bible, satan was still able to deceive Adam & Eve in Edens garden, sending mankind into spiritual much more now, eternal death being at stake? Mathew 23:37-39 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, YE SHALL NOT SEE ME HENCEFORTH TILL YE SAY, BLESSED IS HE THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!"  (Read more on: www.facebook/

If the church fails to seek out "TRUTH PROPHETS", they will not see the real Jesus.

Mazino Egbuwoku wrote on Facebook.


Rev and Prof. The people we are talking about here are our own brothers in the faith and we have all been given birth to by the same Word and Spirit. I hope you have also taken the time to read through the history of these preachers who keep telling us that they did not get these things by magic but by the revelation of the Word of God.

On the other hand, your claim about Jesus may need some review. Jesus was never poor. In fact He never needed money because He was sufficient in God. He did not borrow a donkey, God provided it. Every time He needed anything, it was available so why did He have to carry money around. He'd rather give everything out. When he needed a boat, He got one. When he needed food, He got it. Even when He needed a cross, He got it. He even fed 5000 men without a single kobo!

RELIGIOUS leaders and members

RELIGIOUS leaders and members please try to understand what JESUS whom we follow said about earthly riches. let me ask you a question, can a Carmel pass through the eyes of a needle? i have never seen nor heard of that happening, so it is with a rich person and the kingdom of GOD.


I appreciate what you are doing and I have been sharing your essays with friends who still believe in this business men and their business centres in the name of churches. Please add to your part three the origin and proper use of titles because this is one of the things these deceivers use to scare their victims. No one dare question a reverend or father or G.O. Or Arch Bishop. . . ''Just stay the victim that you are, don't think, I'll tell you what God says cos I'm closer to Him''.

Commend your article!

I just want to let you know that I commend your courage to always speak out the truth. Nigerians has been plagued with virtually corruption to the highest level. Sometimes it is sad to see your Country that you loved has been diminished to the level where you do not even recognized that this is the Nation where you were born. The more you speak the truth the more you would be attack! Do not let their attacks mean anything to you. Continue to expressed issues as you see fit. Remain bless!

prof and revd, honestly you

prof and revd, honestly you guys dont make any sense. To be brief, poverty is a crime not just a curse, i guess u chaps wont understand cos u're living in a land of prosperity, u're not poor, 90% of our problems in nigeria is directly caused by poverty, u think if Jesus was poor anyone would've followed him? Capital NO

RELIGIOUS leaders and members

RELIGIOUS leaders and members of the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NORCEF) have criticised Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, over his comments that a revolution would consume religious leaders in the country, just as he condemned the acquisition of jets by renowned Christian leaders in Nigeria.

Reacting to Bakare’s comments, the chairman of the Northern Christian Elders Forum, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, said Bakare’s comments should be ignored.

In a similar reaction, Apostle Isa El-Buba, General Overseer of Evangelical Bible Outreach Ministries International, Jos, Plateau State, defended preachers who own jets, concluding that Bakare’s condemnation of these men of God was blasphemous.