Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Prosperity Gospel-The Tragedy of a Zambian Entrepreneur

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Prophet Bushiri enters his jet

By Sidney Kawimbe

The teaching and doctrine of religion according to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1990) should influence the personality and daily conduct of each believer. Thus, each person’s conduct should normally be a reflection, to a greater or lesser degree, of his/her religious background. It is in this perspective that the author designed to investigate the relationship existing between Christian prosperity doctrine and entrepreneurial development in Zambia.

Entrepreneurial development denotes the establishment of business ventures to stimulate the economy by increasing the level of business activities. A society in which the process of entrepreneurial development is on course is marked by the existence of SMEs, established and controlled by members of the society. Christianity is major religion in the accounting for 87%. In fact, the country is a one of the only two Christian nations in the world, the other being Israel, with Zambia having been proclaimed as such by one conformist Fredrick Tutus Jacob Chiluba popularly known as FTJ on 29th December, 1991

Christian prosperity doctrine maintains that financial prosperity and success in business or personal life is an external evidence of God’s favour on the believer. It is a growing Christian religious idea preached by pastors or ministers of Christian churches in contemporary times. Phiri and Maxwell (2007) explain that prosperity preachers inspire members to aim high, work hard, avoid vices, and improve their standard of living, and that proper teaching about prosperity leads to transformation. It is in this light that in this discourse, I attempt to examine the impact of Christian prosperity doctrine on entrepreneurial development in Zambia.

“Give and you shall receive. Blessed is the hand that giventh than the one that takenth” yelled a young flamboyantly dressed pastor, donning a crazy green suit with dangling sleeves and a shiny velvet designers four Conner senator shoe. This immediately brought to me memories of a scanking Luck Dube from his album “Slave”. Prosperity doctrine is based upon a belief in the unified power of faith and the tongue. Faith is a confession and word spoken in faith come to pass. Consequently, reality is created with the words of our mouths. Thus, the basis of prosperity doctrine is “what I confess, I possess”. In this regard, there exist for Christians supernatural blessings for their complete prosperity. Karjala (2007) also noted Christians’ inward and spiritual transformation will naturally result in an outward working that takes effect in every area of life. Fundamental Bible portions which preachers utilize in support of Christian prosperity theology include:

You say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advised you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself and that the shame of your nakedness may be revealed, and eyes salve. To anoint your eyes, that you may see (Revelation 3: 17-18).

It is expected that as members sow seed in terms of offering in churches, so will they be endowed with riches, wealth and prosperity from Heaven. Another inspiring scripture which is used in support of prosperity doctrine is 3 John 1: 2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth”. Pride (2006) however argued that “prosper” does not mean “wealth”, since the next words says “even as thy soul prospereth”. Souls do not receive material wealth, although they can become spiritually rich in faith. Therefore, this verse as articulated above inferred prosperity to transient material wealth and include all round buoyancy of the human nature and personality.

Critiques of Christian prosperity doctrine maintain that prosperity doctrine (give and take scheme) completely eliminates the selfless, sacrificial aspect of giving associated with the early Christians. No one mentioned in the New Testament that those who made sacrifices to support the work of God inherited any kind of material wealth as a result. Nor the accumulation of wealth the heart desire of early believers. Scholars like Pride (2006) explain that prosperity doctrine exists and thrives by the greedy nature that most people possess and that many people are not content to receive a heavenly reward for their giving. Considering these critical standpoints, this disposition examines the effect of prosperity doctrine on entrepreneurial development in terms of establishment of business ventures, as well as the growth and development of such ventures as parameters for assessing general socio-economic development.

Entrepreneurial Development

Entrepreneurial development involves the establishment of business ventures to stimulate the economy by increasing the level of business activities (Hisrich, Peters and Shepherd, 2007). This is guided by the spread of entrepreneurial consciousness and spirit which refers to the feelings of the desire to pool resources together under personal control and the inner drive for independence as a result of difficulties encountered in working for someone else, and the motive of need for personal achievement. Hisrich, Peters and Shepherd (2007) consider entrepreneurship as the process of creating something new in value, by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic and social risk, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary, personal satisfaction and independence.
In this discussion, emphasis has been put on finding out the effect of Christian prosperity doctrine on entrepreneurial development. The cardinal goal of any church is to lead members to salvation by preparing them for heaven.

Christians are prepared through teachings from the scripture which include prosperity doctrine. In Luke 12: 31, Christians are advised to “seek first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added unto them,” including prosperity. The interest in entrepreneurial development was occasioned by government policy on enterprises development, industrialization and socio-economic development.

Conclusions and Recommendations
From the discourse above, it is arduous to trace aspects that reveal a significant correlation between Christian prosperity doctrine and entrepreneurial development. The practice of Christian prosperity doctrine by church members has motivated them to be business conscious and to engage in various entrepreneurial activities whose success has however been tied to some supernatural forces. The discourse recommends the following:

  1. Government should improve infrastructure in areas of good roads, communication, transportation and power supply to ensure favourable environment for business development.
  2. The Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs should be proactively monitor activities of churches to bring them in line with general developmental goal of the government.
  3. To avoid exploitation of the utility of prosperity doctrine by fraudsters in Christendom, any church not duly registered must be compelled to do so and those registered must be monitored in terms of external audit requirement.
  4. Finally, clergymen must be regulated to declare their assets to prevent the misappropriation of excess church fund for personal use at the expense of the church organization and generality of members.

References

Hisrich R., Peters M. and Shepherd, D. (2007) Entrepreneurship, New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill
Karjala, K. (1953) Foundations of Christianity. New York: Russell Books
Noah, M. (1980) Old Calabar: The City State and the Europeans, Calabar: Scholars Press
Phiri, M. and Maxwell, F. (2007) Keys to Financial Excellence. New York: Collins
Pride, L. (2006) Quotes by teachers of the prosperity doctrine, Lagos: Essek Publishers
Ulmer, F. (2007) The Bible and Prosperity Lifestyle of Televangelist. New York: Games Press
Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society (1990) Mankind’s search for God. Brooklyn: International Bible Students Association

The author is a Business Consultant and Lecturer

38 COMMENTS

    • Zambians are the most gullible people in the whole wide world. They are so easily led by foreigners and analytical thinking is almost non existent. Everyone does what everyone else is doing. There’s no individuality, it’s sad. The trend now is pastors and prophets and pyramid schemes…..Lord have mercy!

    • What rubbish!

      LT, why are you publishing demented ravings like this? Is this news?

      Sounds more like an escaped China a patient!

  1. …I seem to find no real effective connection between Christianity and entrepreneurship in this article…maybe it requires to be summarised further….
    …prophets who are richer than all his church members put together…do not motivate me…

  2. Kiki we were declared a christian nation and ended up been one of the poorest countries in the world.. with continued failures taking up office. Is this not a sign enough that political governance is not entwined with religion. Religion my brothers is a static theory that by its nature was made not to change with changing times. However, governance on the other hand demands that leadership doctrines and processess change with changing times. Please now can some one relay what I have said to the PF cadres in lay man’s terms. #lungumustgo

  3. Fact check. There are more than two christian nations in the world. For example there is england and denmark. Also Israel is NOT a christian nation.

    • Ati England and Denmark kikiki uli chisushi iwe. I am guessing you have never been to these countries that is why you are misinformed. I have been to both and they are far from Christian nations. Those are one of the most multi cultural nations which respect people’s beliefs be it satanism. There the rule of law applies unlike fake Christianity under lungu

  4. Wrong! Israel is not a Christian country! Or a Christian Nation! It is mostly Jewish and Islam but very small number of Christians. Zambia is only Christian country and we need to remove it from being a Christian Country or acclaim any religion to a country!

  5. Do not cheat the masses, Israel is NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION, JEWS DON’T EVEN BELIEVE IN CHRIST BECAUSE THEY ARE STILL AWAITING THE RETURN OF A MESSIAH. TO THE CONTRARY, ISRAEL IS A JEWISH NATION AND AS SUCH JEWS DO NOT PRACTICE CHRISTIANITY BUT JUDAISM. Please note that Christianization of Zambia has nothing to do with salvation, it is more for political expedience. This explains why sins in this country are committed with impunity.

  6. Breaking news kambwili survives assassination attempt in road accident master minded by pf secret intelligence. #Lungumustgo d

  7. It’s wrong for modern church to project the idea that God is not for the poor. It’s time government moved in to tax prosperity churches

  8. The are Christian Democratic Parties in Germany, SA, USA and Italy. I don’t see anything wrong with the declaration of Zambian as a Christian Nation. They are a lot of Islamic states in the world for that matter.

  9. It’s poorly written, but I got one point that hoping for the supernatural to make one wealthy is just a pipe dream. England is not declared a “Christian Nation ” although the Queen is the Head of the Church of England.

  10. Maybe has a point but makes a mistake by quoting articles from Jehovah’s Witness generally always critical of other Christians and regard themselves as the only Christians. Secondly all registered Churches submit annual returns. The state is not the instrument to monitor Christians in any case they are more than 30,000 registered groups in Zambia. Its the church members who must demand accountability and demand constitutional yearly meetings.

  11. Forgot to mention that the Ministry of Religious Affairs is a total waste of public resources. Its actually to ‘prosper’ the minister and its directors for doing nothing. They are actually interfering with the Registrar of Societies mandated under the law to monitor Societies,which includes churches.

  12. Another point is Israel is not a Christian nation. Only Christian nation is Zambia but this is just in proclamation because there’s freedom of association and its leaders are anything but Christian.
    Zambia is the only country selling strong alcohol on the markets and streets in the whole of East and Central Africa.

  13. Am wondering what kind of consultancy and lecturing you offer Bwana. Your paper seem to be academic but so incoherent and disjointed. I think you need to go back to school…

  14. But Jews are not Christians. Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. So its not true to say that Israel is a Christian Nation. In fact right where Solomon’s temple was, now stands the biggest Mosque and is the 2nd Islam’s holiest sites. The declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation was a wonderful thing because in the spirit it is indeed God’s property next to Israel, if not the first one. The problem is the Christians themselves. They are weak and failed to put it into Practice. Moslems do not separate business and politics from their religion. Islam is in politics, laws (shariah laws) and all politicians are devout moslems. we have a long well to go

  15. Give me one day in office as Presdo… first thing i would do is scarp off this Zambia as a christian nation hypo-critic bull crap pronunciation and send all foreign clergy fraudsters back to their countries. All churches should then be strictly monitored and return tax to the government… Am tired of seeing my people tumbling in madness of laziness and expecting miracles while these foo1s are getting richer and richer! … But to start with you Zambians wake up for one second! Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Whether Zambia is a Christian Nation or Not, for those who are true Christians, it’s not even anything to worry about. Scrap the name CHRISTIAN NATION from Zambia, Christianity continues. It has been there for so long. Believers in Christ will continue to be believers. Everyone in this world believe in something else. Some believe in Buddha. Some believe in Hare Krishna. Some believe in Confucius, Karl Max, Nietzsche, etc. Why people become so worked up by Christianity, is really a great surprise. Talk about poverty in Zambia. It did not come in 1991 when Zambia was declared a Christian Nation. It has been there long before. The problem has got nothing to do with Christianity. The problem is the quality of Leaders we have and the mentality of most of us Zambians. Look at the person who…

  17. Remember that its not everyone and everything that has the label, CHRISTIAN that is Christian at all. Jesus Himself said, NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME LORD, LORD WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD. As a true follower of Jesus Christ, I do not blame those that get angry at Christianity. The problem is with false Christians for we cannot say its a problem of Christianity. I am a Christian but I do not support THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL. We can not call this a Gospel at all. Its the deception from the dark pit of hell. Anything that teaches wrong things is deception. God is not like a big magician sitting up there with a magic wand which He waves into the creation of somebody’s demand of whatever they want. The Bible encourages people to wake with their hands. If someone preaches things that encourage…

  18. My dear lecturer,

    Please you must go back to school as your article is so disjointed and has no any connection. Its like you were just writing without thinking. Please you can do better than this. Further , your conclusion is false given that only one person gets rich through stealing money from church members while the rest remain poor. Is this what you call entrepreneurship in churches is good and must be encouraged? My foot….encouraging stealing from poor people by manipulating them? …

  19. While I do not agree with everything the author has said e.g. Israel being a Christian nation and I am not a fan of the entire Jehovah’s Witness brand, I think we Christians and non-christians can learn something from his observations. Failure of the so-called prophets and “men of God” (or is it men of gold) to self-regulate has caused a lot of embarrassment to the true followers of Christ. They have the doctrine of Balaam who used his spiritual gift to enrich himself. You find them brandishing expensive cars and their poverty-stricken followers hold them in adoration, therefore they dare not check whether their teaching is Bible-based. The inability to objectively and critically analyze issues is a huge problem to most of us Zambians. I will never forget what an Israeli government…

  20. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society publications are not AUTHORITIES on Christian doctrine…You JWs think you are more holier than others….

    • The only reason evangelicals want their members to reek money, is so they can Jet set first class around the world!

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