Friday, January 6, 2017

An essay and an interview by Duke Divinity School Professor Kate Bowler on how her Stage IV cancer diagnosis brought her face-to-face with the beauty and terror of the Prosperity Gospel movement have received national media recognition.

Opinion editors at The New York Times in December selected the church historian’s widely-read essay, “Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me,” as one of their top 20 favorite pieces that they edited in 2016. The newspaper published the essay in the Sunday Review section on Feb. 13, 2016.

In the piece, the then 35-year-old Bowler reflected on her research of the popular religious movement and how it informed her convictions on suffering and faith. (The prosperity gospel is the belief that God grants health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith.) A wife and mother, she is an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America at the Divinity School and the author of “Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel.”

One of the top Christian magazines in the nation, Christianity Today, also recently recognized an interview with Bowler by its publication on the same topic as one of “The Top 20 Christianity Today Articles of 2016.”

During that Feb. 23 interview, On Dying and Reckoning with the Prosperity Gospel, Bowler discussed how Americans define suffering, what she would embrace from prosperity gospel theology, and how she copes with the loss of control that suffering brings.

In addition, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio-Canada rebroadcasted an interview with Bowler, who is Canadian, on Jan. 6. During the interview on the “Ideas” show, she explored why millions of Christians in the United States believe that their faith, financial status, and health are intertwined.  

“I’m never very theologically declarative,” Bowler stated in Christianity Today. “I’ve really tried to hold off on doing that in order to make enough space for people to make up their own minds. But in this case, it was just a lot more personal. I don’t have a lot of pretension anymore.”

For more information about Kate Bowler, visit her blog.