"A few years ago, I was speaking with some pastors in Nairobi, Kenya. They told me of what had happened when one of the most prominent health-and-wealthers had come to Nairobi. One of these pastors told me of a woman from his church who had sold her house and given the proceeds to this preacher based on his promise that her gift would return to her tenfold. It did not. Actually, it went back to Europe. For the preacher's next visit, she sold her petrol station, which was her only means of support, and again gave him the money. She looked for a big pay-off from God. The big return never happened. She was left with nothing.
The popularity of this kind of message is obviously driven by desperate need and aching deprivation. And, from a distance, we might marvel at the kind of naivety that leads simple people to give what little they have in a gamble of this kind. But we should marvel much more at how cruel and heartless are the preachers who take advantage of these the poor, exploiting them, rather than caring for them as Scripture instructs us to do. If Scripture is authoritative, the church needs to practice its truth or it will undermine the very Scripture it says it upholds.
Africa's suffering has touched the conscience of the West. In the last fifty years, about $1 trillion of aid has been given, enough for $1,000 to every man, woman, and child alive today. Massive as this effort has been, though, it has not produced the changes that Africa needs. The Western benevolence has failed, and this failure underscores the need for a vital Christian faith in Africa.
Much of this aid has been misspent and much of it has made its way into the pockets of politicians. It is an old adage among aid workers in Africa that the rich have markets and the poor have bureaucrats. What this means is that most simple, ordinary people end up with nothing. In fact, we need to go further. Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist trained at Harvard and Oxford and who worked with the World Bank, argues that aid, as well intentioned as it has been, has actually stunted Africa's growth. With respect to corruption, "Aid is one of its greatest aides," propping up the venal who are in power. Not only so, but she argues that it has short-circuited the process of producing economic growth and has created a culture of dependency. Western aid has become a disease when well-meaning governments and rock stars intended it to be a cure." -David Wells, Modern Reformation Magazine July/August Issue, the article:
The Bible and African Christianity