In studying for the message I have been using Scott Hafemann's outstanding commentary on 2 Corinthians in the NIV Application Commentary series. If you are planning on studying, preaching, or teaching 2 Corinthians you want to get Hafemann's commentary.
Anyway, one of the problems at Corinth was their fascination with what we would call today a "health, wealth gospel." Paul finds himself having to defend his apostleship to the Corinthians. His status as a true apostle was being openly challenged by the "super apostles" of Corinth because he suffered and was not impressive in a worldly sense. "Certainly," it was argued, "that one as unimpressive and scared by suffering could not be an apostle." But Paul points to his sufferings and weakness as indications of the authenticity of his apostleship.
In his book "A Different Gospel: A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement" D.R. McConnell writes that the so-called "Faith gospel" is:
without question the most attractive message being preached today or, for that matter, in the whole history of the church. Seldom, if ever, has there been a gospel that has promised so much, and demanded so little. The Faith gospel is a message ideally suited to the 20th century American Christian. In an age in America characterized by complexity, the Faith gospel gives simple, if not revelational answers. In an economy fueled by materialism and fired by the ambitions of the 'upwardly mobile,' the Faith gospel preaches wealth and prosperity...in an international environment characterized by anarchy...the Faith gospel confers an authority with which the believer can supposedly exercise complete control over his or her own environment.