Abilene Campus (Residential)
Date of Award
Theology, Ministry, Missions (GST)
Master of Arts
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Frederick D. Aquino
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
Tony Tian-Ren Lin
In American megachurch Christianity there lies a paradox in the concept of wealth and blessings; many megachurch leaders take deliberate steps to distance themselves from the defamed and heretical label of prosperity gospel, while simultaneously using many of its theological tenets as foundational to their own theology of wealth, money, and success. This thesis examines the nature of this paradox from both a theological and sociological lens. Through content analysis and case study examples, this thesis assesses the theological tenets of American megachurch prosperity theology as well as the sociological reality of stratification and the ideology that buttresses it. This work shows the paralleled nature of the paradox of prosperity and the American society’s belief in a meritocracy. The thesis explains that American megachurch Christianity’s overt and covert prosperity gospel themes are simply a religiously coded form of the American meritocratic ideology. The results call for religious leaders to identify this reality and work to correct the negative ramifications of it, while concurrently calling for more inquiry into the ways in which the American social stratification structure has become embedded in and maintained by religious systems.
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Starman, T.E., "A Theology Built on Meritocracy: A Theological and Sociological Examination of the Prosperity Gospel and the American Dream" (2021). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 352.