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Gospel of prosperity and development: the rise of third wave Pentecostal movement in Zimbabwe.

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This study examines the nexus between NRMs’ gospel of prosperity on sustainable and transformational development in Zimbabwe. The research was carried out in Harare, Zimbabwe, amongst the believers of the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries, Grace Oasis Ministries (GOM), and Emmaus Encounter (EE). The study was conceptualized within the social capital theory and the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach. The study framed with the critical and social constructivist paradigm and it utilised a qualitative research methodology to provide a nuanced analysis of how the gospel prosperity intersects with sustainable and transformational development. The study conducted in-depth interviews with 18 participants and three focus group discussions, totaling 29 participants, 10 sermons and eight observations at the PHD Ministries and GOM. The major findings of the study highlight that NRMs have a complex and contested relationship with sustainable and transformational development. At one level, the individual initiatives of entrepreneurial activities inspired by the gospel of prosperity provide believers with increased incomes and access to basic goods. Believers are able to meet some of their everyday needs without necessarily transforming their lives. The ministry/institutional activities tend to benefit the pastor, his family and a few elites. Such activities often involve allegations of defrauding believers. The study concludes that there is a distinct difference between the teaching of the gospel of prosperity (hard work, entrepreneurship, saving, good life) and its practice (loss of money through sowing, fraud and theft to the pastor) within NRMs in Zimbabwe. In such a context, sustainable and transformational development cannot be achieved within NRMs as currently constituted as the practices of the pastors and prophets are often predatory.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.