Prosperity Gospel Scholar Says Belief That Pain Will Always Bring Reward Is a ‘Beautiful Lie’


(Photo: Rodrigo Valera Photography)Kate Bowler, assistant professor of history at Duke Divinity School, at Faith Angle Forum, May 7-9, 2017, Miami Beach, Florida.

A divinity School professor known for her scholarship on the prosperity gospel is explaining why the notion that “everything happens for a reason” and other Christian-sounding phrases prove futile. 

In an interview with Brian Lamb on C-SPAN’s Q&A in February, Kate Bowler, a professor at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, discussed her new memoir Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I Loved, said the book’s title came from “boomerang theology” that people tossed around in an attempt to comfort her when she was diagnosed with cancer. 

Two years ago, at age 35, Bowler was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer, an “incurable” kind which eventually spread to her liver. She wrote the book as a sort of “theological excavation project,” she said, wherein she explored the possibility that perhaps the often tossed around phrase that “everything happens for a reason” and other Christian-sounding clichés were lies she believed all along.

Bowler is also the author of the 2013 book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel.

During the hourlong interview, Lamb asked Bowler about the words and practices of infamous prosperity preachers like Mike Murdock and Benny Hinn, as well as other popular ministers like T.D. Jakes and Rick Warren. Footage was also shown of Hinn praying for a woman who was suffering with cancer. He prayed in such a way that led viewers to think she was totally healed afterward.

“When I…

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