Should We Preach Prosperity?

Well, there is a new book that helps us understand what the question even means. Many of the most popular preacher in the African American community could be considered “prosperity preachers.” These are preachers who seemingly guarantee financial and other kinds of blessings based on parishioners “sowing seeds” in ministries.

The preachers often use language taken directly from the Bible and this fact can trip up many. Well, Dr. Debra J. Mumford, a homiletics professor from Lousiville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, has written a book that will help all who wish to deal with this phenomenon.

The name of the new book is Exploring Prosperity Preaching: Biblical Health, Wealth, and Wisdom and we are participating in a Blog tour.

In the book, Dr. Mumford looks at the roots of prosperity preachers. It also provides a look at many of the common teachings of these preachers.

In the book, Dr. Mumford zeros in on the use of the Bible in that community. Including looking at the Biblical texts that are often used to promote this theology.

There is undeniably an African American “tint” to the book, but it can be helpful to all preachers in that it identifies and addresses the fundamental theological positions that prosperity preachers present.

On a side note, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr, forward is worth reading in that it provides three questions to ask before attempting to apply scripture to your life situation.

What Do They Teach?

But back to the book, Dr. Mumford provides a look at the hermeneutical principles at work in the use of the Bible by Prosperity Preachers.

Then the book goes into specific teachings used by prosperity preachers. Like the divine economy is not the secular economy. In that position, members of God’s kingdom can ignore the world and live into your wealth by simply following the divine economy.

How many of you have heard this next one, “Jesus wasn’t poor, and poverty is a curse.” What does the Bible actually say on that? These and other theological positions are addressed from an African American prophetic preaching perspective in this book.

You Need To Be Informed

Let me add, that “prosperity preaching” has affected many of us in some way. It has invaded many churches, even those who may not be considered “prosperity churches” they hear aspects of these theological positions. Even here at SoulPreaching.Com I often have to answer in emails and comments why we don’t teach that theology. This book will be one that I suggest as a resource to those of us who have to address such questions.

It ain’t all grim news. There are significant issues, but as Dr. Mumford also attempts to recognize and name the beneficial things that prosperity theology can give to us in the Christian world.


Finally, I want to thank the publisher, Judson Press, for making the book available on the Kindle. The publisher graciously offered me a PDF version of the book for this review, but I think I am going to pony up and buy the Kindle version. But don’t worry if you still want the tired and true paperback, those are available as well.

You can buy the book at this link:

Exploring Prosperity Preaching: Biblical Health, Wealth, & Wisdom

And we will be coming back to this book again in the coming weeks. I encourage all to check it out and let me know what you think.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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