The past few years haven’t been too kind to the Black church. Once an integral part of the struggle for equality and the cornerstone of the African-American community, several scandals have rocked prominent Black churches causing many to eschew religion in favor of spirituality. While many have pinned the decay of the venerable institution on ministers who trumpet a “prosperity gospel,” African-Americans remain one of the most religious groups in the nation.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Princeton professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. asserts too many Christians now follow a “gospel of greed.”

“Inequality is deepening in our country. People are working harder for less, and unemployment is high,” he writes. “The result has been the privatization of social misery and a cultural mean-spiritedness that sanctions selfishness and greed.”

Though Christianity has traditionally advocated for caring about “the least of these,” Glaude argues the modern church is not speaking out against rampant inequality, but rather championing unfettered capitalism and equating being “blessed” with being wealthy.

Glaude writes:

One would think that this state of affairs contradicts a Christian vision of who we should be as children of God. But today we see throughout American Christendom, including in the black Christian community, a growing embrace of what has been called “prosperity gospel.” This view holds that God wills that those who are “born again” be materially wealthy and free of disease. Known also as the “Health and Wealth Gospel” or “Faith Message,” the theology connects a wide range of non-denominational and charismatic ministries based in what is known as the “Word of Faith Movement.

We see its influence spreading, nationally and internationally, as televangelists and celebrity ministers with their megachurches preach its basic tenets. In black America, this theology overtakes calls for economic empowerment. Freedom dreams are supplanted by the aspiration to wealth, a theology that suits a vision of capitalism that is devastating our communities and country.

This gospel of wealth blunts criticism of durable inequality, precisely because wealth and the aspiration for upward mobility are tied to individual spiritual considerations. Wealth and poverty constitute evidence of God’s blessings or punishment. Conspicuous consumption becomes a critical part of the work of faith. Here Christians are “blessed entrepreneurs and consumers.”

Glaude warns that if churches continue down its current path it will trap parishioners in a “gilded cage,” where their lives will be “rooted in competition, selfishness, and greed,” and the Black church will cease to exist.

What do you think? Does the modern Black church encourage its parishioners to be greedy?

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  • Brad Baylis

    Tia,I got this “d**n near true” statistic by observing these swindling scumbags over what Sunday,July 6,will be 61 years of being a pinup boy handsome black lad with a 150-160 (GENIUS LEVEL,FOLKS!!!!!)IQ!!!(AND NOT KISSING BLACK “MIS-LEADERS’ A**ES!!!!!!!)

  • Brad Baylis

    RIGHT ON,MS. VEE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brad Baylis


  • pasteeler

    The gospel of Grace is to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all things will be added to you”. It is not teaching “prosperity”, the Grace gospel is rightly stating that if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, and be Led by Jesus, you will be prosperous, in every area of your life. It’s not preaching greed or anything like it.
    Also, true believers of Jesus, knows that God’s son died so we will not have to sufffer ANY sickness or disease. I can testify that this is absolutely the TRUTH.

  • Barbara

    “Let the Church of Jesus Christ Say “Amen” –Others Say: “Oh My”!”

    Current protests some people are making about a Black Jesus show is for lots of people disingenuous. To many protesters the issue is regard is for personal esteem and social seals of approval for what their religion bestows on them before peers, business circles, and social arenas. It is not about love for God and His glory. And shame on even the (jail house?) ‘preachers’ who formerly were inmates, are not bothering to scratch the surface as far as what can be done regarding INCARCERATION and their families. Moreover, it’s despicable what’s going on with all federal $$$$$ for “Let’s Make A Deal” preachers who pretend helping people via federal and state funding, but actually becoming immensely enriched.
    For some members, these can be their prisons: sexual confusion; insurmountable debt; suicide, homicide thoughts; medical conditions; jailed loved-ones; incest, molestation; domestic violence; BULLIED AT WORKPLACES; gambling; pharmaceutical, substance addiction; loneliness; AIDS –and some people’s troubles are linked to disconnect they feel at churches (unless they’re “prominent” in society!). Ironically, fame seeking pulpit celebrities who climb social ladders by means of their –not God’s– pulpit pretty much are saying to their flock who can’t surmount their troubles: ‘good luck with ALL that’, and leave your money here!!!

    To non-clergy people who hasten to interject that people are in their predicaments because of their poor choices –the “GO ALONG, TO GET ALONG FOLK” who are selfishly “at ease in Zion”! Much of the issue with people who assert the “poor choices” mantra, are those who make a practice of “passing by on the other side,”(-Luke 10:31-32) while looking away from hurting people with disdain. (And even worse: Or, are you among the shocking, shameless people who formed a nonprofit, and then obtained a skilled grant writer so you can tap in to those overflowing federal and state dollars –after all since people make poor choices; you should enrich yourself and your family with those funds by means of your favorite politician and courtroom judges!?).

    Moreover, those who –without knowing all the details– blame people for their circumstances must be proud of your wonderful selves for all your good choices –and possibly social connections or whatever you were blessed with that enabled your “respectability” –until your dirty laundry becomes exposed. Regarding poor choices –even if peoples’ choices caused their predicament, should someone’s grandmother or auntie be involved in an auto accident because someone was so overwhelmed with his or her sorrows he / she drank alcohol? Also, should people who can’t find employment that includes DIGNITY so they won’t feel so oppressed they won’t resort to getting drunk or high or gamble or ultimately his / her disoriented thinking, result in their concluding the only CHOICE is home invasion? And would you please furnish your address for their next home for them to enter?! Alternately, would you offer your wisdom to your comrades about the value of dignity –even for “have nots”?

    Regarding the person who’s mentally distressed because life is too challenging, he / she should “get back with you when he gets himself together,” –right? And he should be avoided like an outcast -correct? As school shootings occur –society should be surprised; or blame “choices” after kids have lost their lives. Right?

    I also wish to convey the following statements to whoever is being labeled, “first lady”, and to married or unmarried women, and fits any of the following characteristics:
    •When you show up at your husband’s church or office, dressed in what you think looks good (and may / may not stand out above others), and as far as you’re concerned, people with problems could go see Jerry Springer, or enquire to “Madea,” you are a last lady!