Prosperity Gospel Blamed for Subprime Hell

Belief that God bestows riches may have duped faithful into dodgy mortgages
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2008 8:14 AM CDT
The congregation at the Pentecostal Centro Palabra de Fe Church prays during a service in Compton, Calif. on Sunday July 27,2008.    (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
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(Newser) – A fast-growing strain of Pentecostalism may have made its followers victims of the credit crisis by preaching that God's hand was behind dubious mortgages, Time reports. "Prosperity Gospel" preaches that God will "make way" for the poor to gain wealth, making believers easy prey for greedy mortgage brokers, says a scholar writing a book on black televangelism.

Followers of the branch of Pentacostalism are told that donations to the church will be repaid by an assist from the divine. Critics charge that the gospel appears to be set up for the prosperity of preachers, while others say the belief has a genuinely empowering message. The faithful are thought to have been hit especially hard by the mortgage crisis—although one Florida believer says he managed to pray the foreclosure away.