The Bible for Normal People Episode 181: Kate Bowler – The Prosperity Gospel & a Theology of Suffering

In this episode of The Bible for Normal PeopleKate Bowler joins Pete and Jared to discuss how suffering can cause us to adjust what we think God is like and how harmful the prosperity gospel can be. Together they explore the following questions: 

  • What are the primary theological themes of the prosperity gospel? 
  • Where did the prosperity gospel get its origin? 
  • How did a predominately healing-centered prosperity gospel expand to include money?
  • What are the biblical underpinnings of the prosperity gospel movement? 
  • How is Deuteronomic theology used to prop up the tenants of the prosperity gospel? 
  • How does healing theology embedded within the prosperity gospel manage to equate Jesus’ death on the cross with our own illnesses and suffering? 
  • In what way do self-help and cultural myths impact folks who are experiencing suffering in their own lives?
  • How does suffering alter our perception of God and faith? 
  • What cultural formulas have become theological source beds for the prosperity gospel?  
  • Why is our culture so reluctant to deal with death and suffering
kate bowler


Pithy, shareable, less-than-280-character statements from Kate Bowler you can share. 

  • “It’s very difficult to know what the word faith means. It was hard to reimagine faith and trust and hope and what all those words mean if there is in fact no solution to pain.” @KatecBowler
  •  There is no cure to being human; finitude is going to be part of this deal. I no longer live in a world in which God’s reasons are immediately discernible to me. I just don’t.” @KatecBowler
  • “There is such a deep desire, just naturally, to explain away the things that just scare the crap out of us. And of course, the unexplained suffering of others really gets at that place.” @KatecBowler
  • “We have a multi-billion-dollar wellness industry that really does convince us that all our problems are solvable. So, your life is a problem to be solved. Finitude is a problem to be solved.” @KatecBowler
  • “Part of what I’ve been so grateful is when people seem to have learned to put down some of that anxiety over not being able to solve other people’s pain, if not their own, and they learn to leave a little breathing room for ambiguity, for not knowing.” @KatecBowler


Listen to the Podcast here.

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