Poverty, Illiteracy cum Prosperity Theology: A Quantitative Study

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Benin, Nigeria


Prosperity Theology is the teaching that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the “sowing of seeds” through the faithful payment of tithes and offerings. However, the literature reveals that most adherents to the prosperity gospel are not prospering financially and prosperity preachers have been accused of feeding fat from the donations of church members. Even at that, millions of persons still cling to the prosperity gospel. Employing Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, a survey of 300 respondents was carried out aimed at examining the proposition that poverty and illiteracy are factors encouraging continuous adherence to the theology of prosperity. It also examined the accusation that prosperity preachers’ wealth is largely dependent on their congregants’ donations. The study reveals that poverty and illiteracy are associated with continuous adherence to the prosperity gospel. It also indicates that prosperity preachers usually enrich themselves largely from the donations of their congregants. Practical recommendations were thereafter submitted on how the problems gleaned from the study could be ameliorated.