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Description

Millions of Americans have fallen in love with the prosperity gospel and its new kind of preachers, who originally cultivated their fame with personal appearances in sold-out arenas. Now podcasts, Internet streaming, and daily television programming carry their sermons to millions. At almost any moment, day or night, the American public can tune in to see these familiar faces and a consistent message: God desires to bless you. Catherine Bowler’s Blessed represents the first attempt to examine the twentieth-century American prosperity gospel movement as a whole, seeking to introduce readers to its major figures and features. Bowler offers an interpretive framework for scholars and non-specialists alike to understand these diverse expressions of Christian abundance as a cohesive movement bound by shared understandings. She first traces the movement’s burgeoning theology of faith from the postwar revivals to its maturity in the late 1980s, and then focuses on its continuing pursuit of divine wealth, as believers look to their bank accounts for proof of their spiritual progress. Bowler examines divine health through the same lens, as believers use their bodies as barometers of faith. The book concludes with an exploration of the contemporary movement’s expectation of victory, as participants orient their lives toward unimpeded progress. Inspired, they count themselves blessed.

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