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Can you be both rich and Christian...

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  • Can you be both rich and Christian...

    ...given the reality of extreme poverty? Or put another way, are rich Christian inevitably hypocrites? Can one be one's brother's keeper, and love one's neighbour as oneself, and still be wealthy?

    Best wishes, 2RM.

  • #2
    I think it depends on what you do with your money.

    Scripture is full of exhortation to help others which mostly involves spending money - James 4:15-16. And warnings about the misuse wealth – James 5:1-6.

    Alms giving is commended:
    "Son, give alms in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, distribute even some of that. But do not hesitate to give alms" (Tobit 4:8)

    "Be not impatient in prayers, and neglect not the giving of alms."
    (Sirach 7:10)



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    • #3
      Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
      ...given the reality of extreme poverty? Or put another way, are rich Christian inevitably hypocrites? Can one be one's brother's keeper, and love one's neighbour as oneself, and still be wealthy?

      Best wishes, 2RM.
      A lot of this video pertains to your question. It is rather short, please consider viewing it. It addresses a lot of the Prosperity doctrine, and those preaching it in areas stricken with poverty. Moreso, it addresses the hazards of wealth and money.



      God bless,
      William
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      • #4
        Yes, good video, William. And I'm all for alms giving, Bede, despite it's rather patronising overtones. Just to put this in perspective, if all the world's wealth were equally divided, we would each enjoy a net worth of around $49,000.00. If the world's annual production were equally divided, we would all have an income of around $12,600.00 per year. But, of course, wealth and incomes are not equally divided; according to Oxfam, the top 1% hog over 50% of each, and still complain about redistributive taxation, while a third of the world's population eke out meagre lives on less than $2.00 per day. This is a scandalous state of affairs, and mortally so, at that. It seems to me that it is a Christian duty to champion the absolute, vital right of the poor to a just division of the world's wealth. I am not even sure that it is moral to maintain a net worth and/or income above the levels everyone would enjoy, if everyone had an equal stake in God's providence.

        Best wishes, 2RM.
        Last edited by 2ndRateMind; 06-17-2015, 02:07 AM.
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        • #5
          [SIZE=16px][FONT=trebuchet ms]And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. (Exodus 23:10-11 KJV)

          The Israelites needed to look after the poor by a legislated program of giving rather than by free-will giving alone. The law that God gave to them does not bind anybody today yet the principle embodied in the verses above ought to shape a Christian's thinking about the relief of the poor in the lands in which we live.

          Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. (Leviticus 19:15 KJV)

          Justice is not to be corrupted either to favour the poor or to respect the rich.[/FONT][/SIZE]

          [SIZE=16px][FONT=trebuchet ms]If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. (Deuteronomy 15:7-11 KJV)

          Personal generosity towards the poor is a moral command from God, once again it is important to observe that the laws of Israel are not necessarily binding in our lands yet the principle embodied in the above verses ought to shape a Christian's thinking about the relief of the poor in the lands in which we live.[/FONT][/SIZE]
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          • #6
            An excellent video William,

            I’ve heard of the “prosperity gospel” but it’s not something we hear over in England. It’s a perversion of the real gospel.

            I once read a book called “Money, Sex and Power”. It wasn’t actually about those three topics directly but the responses to them over the centuries. The old monastic response was poverty, chastity and obedience. I remember it referred to a couple of others but I can’t remember what they were. It then moved on a suggested modern response. The suggested response to money was simplicity, and I think that is a good response. We should aim for a simple lifestyle in what we eat, what we wear, the things we use etc.
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            • #7
              Simplicity is good. I can vouch for it; not only politically, but as a psychologically healthy way to be, and conduct one's affairs. As a first step, it helps to decide the top seven themes of your life and ambition, such as health, family, work, hobbies, etc, and then dispose of every item you own that does not, in some way, contribute to the advancement of those themes. Declutter, and feel better for it.

              Best wishes, 2RM.
              Last edited by 2ndRateMind; 06-17-2015, 05:25 AM.
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              • #8
                I read a great book once called "Freedom From Clutter". It certainly helps to de-clutter your life and get rid of stuff you don't need or use..
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                • #9
                  Indeed, but I don't want to be distracted by the idea of decluttering. I'm more interested in your concept of simplicity, and what that might mean for a rich Christian, and what it might mean for the poor of any faith. I cannot think that such a concept might in any way be bad for either. Or indeed, the global ecosystem on which we all depend, and seem to be intent on degrading. Would you like, Bede, to expand on this concept? What distinguishes simplicity from complexity in life, and how is a modern, complex society to regain its simplicity without sacrificing its beneficial advances?

                  Best wishes, 2RM.
                  Last edited by 2ndRateMind; 06-17-2015, 06:31 AM.
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                  • #10
                    Coincidinky.... popped up on my Facebook today:

                    Click image for larger version

Name:	11169901_684339485000322_6100376621301162995_n.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	36.4 KB
ID:	3679

                    God bless,
                    William
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                    • #11
                      Uh huh.

                      Amusing.

                      But it is not money, I understand, to be the root of all evil, but the love of money.

                      Don't get me wrong. I am not against riches. I want everyone rich. I am only against some being obscenely rich, while others are absolutely poor.

                      Best wishes, 2RM
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 2ndRateMind View Post
                        Uh huh.

                        Amusing.

                        But it is not money, I understand, to be the root of all evil, but the love of money.

                        Don't get me wrong. I am not against riches. I want everyone rich. I am only against some being obscenely rich, while others are absolutely poor.

                        Best wishes, 2RM
                        No need to explain, I agree with you. It is the love of money.

                        God bless,
                        William

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                        • #13
                          One person's obscenely rich might be another person's comfortably well off! :D

                          But yes, there are the super rich whose sole use of money seems to be extravagent and flaunt their wealth..

                          In centuries past the rich, at least some of them, used to be philanthropists and fund public works, like schools, hospitals, libraries, almshouses for the elderly etc. We now live in a very "me" society.

                          There are still philathropists like Bill Gates but they seem to be in a very tiny minority.
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                          • #14
                            [FONT=trebuchet ms][SIZE=16px]There is something rather horrible about a single person possessing 50 billion dollars of wealth. [/SIZE][/FONT]
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by peppermint View Post
                              [FONT=trebuchet ms][SIZE=16px]There is something rather horrible about a single person possessing 50 billion dollars of wealth. [/SIZE][/FONT]
                              Even more so are others thinking they have the right to distribute that person's money more than them perhaps they should be in charge of the social economy? If they are providing jobs and decide to distribute more of it through labor rather than charity and not supporting the sluggard. While I agree with the above posts, and disagree with a Christian Theonomy, I want to emphasize that I do not think a secular or socialist system over a Christian Theonomy better.

                              If you took the 50 billion from person A and distributed across the world to say Person B-Z, and fed everyone for a month or so, then what? With food and drink we should be content, are we suggesting that others have rights to mansions and fancy cars? When the 50 Billion runs out, I suspect people would have to hunt for themselves or farm, and those better off would eventually provide or store up their labor that others would still want them to distribute. We have to acknowledge that not everyone is Spiritual and sees the reward in heaven, but are rather worldly. Fact is we are speaking about a Spiritual problem more than anything else. In an ideal utopia everyone would be charitable, but every ideal utopia man has concocted fails, perhaps because every which way to paradise since the beginning has been guarded by a flaming sword.

                              God bless,
                              William
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