When Prosperity Theology Meets American Politics
A common misconception is that prosperity theology comes directly from the charismatic movement; however, while it does seem to flourish in certain charismatic circles, it can be found in any Christian denomination. It may not be as explicit or overt, but American suburbia is filled with doctrinally sound but functionally prosperity-driven churches, with a majority of their congregations trying to fulfill an elusive “dream” for themselves or their family. Some of the more obvious examples found on Christian television have obscured prosperity theology’s tendency to creep into any redeemed worldview where comfort is an implicit expectation. The explicit preaching of this gospel is present in many of the churches represented at Trump’s spiritual council, showing that the candidate wanted an audience with a certain kind of spiritual leader. Prosperity theology has a logical connection with a candidate like Trump, who is also rooted in a mutual obsession with personal exceptionalism, a lack of spiritual discernment, and a pragmatic approach to life’s problems.
The perception that God has blessed one individual more than others, that His favor is intrinsically rooted in one group over another, is a signature element of prosperity circles. Yet it is also a key element of Donald Trump’s campaign. These two circles meeting together so prominently and amicably is not accidental.