In our writing on prosperity, Arthur and I have been concerned to give space to Tanzanian thinking about the prosperity gospel. Working within our context, which is urban and educated Tanzania (not the 70% of Tanzanians who live in villages!) we have learned that they mean something different by that term from westerners, and they see a different solution to it.
Below I have reproduced another African critique of the prosperity gospel which is getting some attention at the moment, by Kay Musonda. I haven’t been able to track down who Kay Musonda is, but this view has gained currency among the people we work with in Tanzania. It was shared with TAFES associates through a WhatsApp group. (Musonda refers to ‘pentecostalism’, but we’re seeing it shared by people of all denominations.)
It obviously highlights the prosperity gospel as a problem, but notice that the voice critiquing it and the people sharing it are also African, and in our case, Tanzanian! Some of the language will be jarring to our ears, as will some of the theology, but it nevertheless offers an alternative to the prosperity gospel, one that is very familiar to us in Tanzania: wisdom; recognising the gifts God has already given in the world; hard work. Once again, this is not a rejection of prosperity as a good thing, but rather a desire that this be holistic and godly prosperity.
Take a look.
African Pentecostalism Has Given Birth To A New Breed Of Mentally Lazy Christians Who See God As A Rewarder Of Mediocrity
Africa is currently experiencing another form of slavery through Pentecostalism.
We are now mentally lazy and our ability to reason scientifically has been incapacitated.
The African pastor won’t talk about Usain Bolt or Serena Williams. The African Pastor won’t talk about Steve Jobs or the young people in Silicon Valley reshaping our world.
They won’t talk about young American scientists spending endless hours in search of a cure to a disease that’s predominantly in the Tropical African Region.
The African pastor won’t talk about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Ben Okri. In every corner of the world, there exist young men and women who have defied all odds and become successful through hard work, creativity, and dedication….
The African pastor won’t talk about them, neither will he ask his members to emulate the spirit of these individuals.
He would rather talk about sister Agatha who got a job she *WAS NOT THE MOST QUALIFIED FOR* because she prayed and fasted in line with their church programme or brother John a millionaire because he used all his salary as a seed in the church, or Papa Miracle who he laid his hands on and 3 of his children got admission in the university, or Mama Esther paid her tithe and her business started growing everywhere across the nation with no business plan, just boom, everywhere.
This has led to a new breed of mentally lazy young people who now see God as a rewarder of mediocrity.
To the African pastor, the only way to prosper is by paying your tithe and ‘ seeds in the church. So they will never talk about those, who have through hard work and dedication placed themselves on the world map.
No…..the African God only blesses the first 30 people that rush to the altars to drop $100 as seed.
The African God abhors hard work and creative thinking, he only gives to those who sow seeds and offerings…..and those who shout: “I am a millionaire” every morning and do nothing the rest of the day.
You want the Almighty to come down and help you use the talent He gave you and bless you because you are going to church to shout: “Daddy I receive it”, these are all jokers.
Can someone tell these jokers that irrespective of your creed, faith or religion, blessings, and favors follow you once you start using your talent and become useful to your society?
The Bible tells the story of the Talents.
Use it. A blessing is already bestowed upon us. When we use it positively, we ask the Lord to bless it. The Bible says His Grace is sufficient for us.
The Western world and Asians are excelling and dominating the world.
Let no Imam or Pastor manipulate our minds while they themselves drown in amassing wealth and luxurious splendor, while our people are living in abject poverty.
Be Wise. Worship of God is from the heart. But study, work hard and always watch & pray! May God Almighty bless us all, in Jesus’ name!!
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.