"Christians ought not be bound either by poverty theologies or prosperity gospels"

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SharperIron's picture
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"Christians ought not be bound either by poverty theologies or prosperity gospels"

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That was interesting. I didn

That was interesting. I didn't realize the Quaker Oats founder had been actively involved with Moody.

Anne Sokol's picture
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this is .... interesting

I recently realized that I have a certain type of conscience/conviction about fundraising as a missionary-- like my conscience doesn't really allow me to do this freely. I think other missionaries don't struggle with this as a matter of their faith. Some do, however.

This man makes me seem correct, that we should be living pretty minimalist ...

Some people today think it’s especially spiritual to opt out of the market, renounce one’s possessions, and live hand-to-mouth. That’s what you do if you’re really, truly godly. I disagree. Some are no doubt called to undertake some version of this way of life. We support many missionaries, for example, who raise support to take the gospel of Christ to lost souls.

 

I actually don't know a whole lot of missionaries who really live hand-to-mouth. Most are required to save for retirement, medical costs, live in nice apartments/houses, etc.

? anyway, this topic is confusing me right now Biblically  ...

 

Joel Shaffer's picture
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Anne, 

Anne, 

I think that the author might have a certain type of radical evangelical in mind, such as those influenced by Shane Claiborne.  Certain small movements such as the New Monasticism  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Monasticism and the New Friar Movement  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Friars    have mostly opted out of the market, renounced much of their possessions and lived hand-to-mouth.    "They are trying to live simply so that others (the poor) can simply live." as Claiborne likes to say.   

Anne Sokol's picture
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so,

 what do you think generally of what he's trying to communicate? do you think his attitude is biblical?

rogercarlson's picture
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Anne,

Anne,

 

Not to derail this topic.  But as  pastor of a small church, I have noticed for quite a while that most misssionaries make significantly more money than I do.  I am not begrudging this fact, I have just noticed this as a reality.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Anne Sokol's picture
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that's kind of what I'm saying

I think we are making choices, probably according to conscience. We don't have a lot of support, don't save for retirement, etc. Our income is probably half or greater less than what missionaries at mainstream boards have to raise.

I think that you, too, are making a choice to not live on the level of mainstream americans in order to be in this ministry.

So what do you think about what he wrote and how it fits with your chosen lifestyle? Are you choosing to be more "impoverished" than you ought or need to be? Than what God requires of you? or are you doing what God requires of you?

Joel Shaffer's picture
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I think that the author,

I think that the author, based on the article that Strachen wrote focusing on I Tim. 6:17-19, is on target.  The inner-city church plant in which I am one of the elders would not have become self-supporting without Christian wealth-creating entrepreneurs that caught a vision for doing business as mission.  By hiring (at a living-wage with benefits and profit-sharing) and training 4 former gang-members/drug dealers that now are following Jesus, they helped break the cycle of poverty in their lives, made it easier for these men to get married and raise their families, modeled and inspired them to start businesses of their own, and now these young men became active tithers in our church plant that is now self-supporting and looking to plant another church in about 3 years. 2 of them are now in management positions in their company.  One has a thriving side business of his own.   By the way, about 50% of our congregation lives below the poverty level.  For us to plant a church among the urban poor, we needed those who could be wealth-creators along with people who had gifts of preaching, teaching, evangelism, leadership, mercy, serving, and etc.....    We do not look at these business men as ATM machines.  Rather we helped them realize they could use their gifts in finances and entrepreneurship as part of discipling those who come from impoverished backgrounds.    One of these wealth-creating businessmen just moved he and his family into the inner-city.  When I first met him, his idol was money and success.  So when we share about God transforming lives at our church, it isn't just the drug-dealers.  It is also the business men that took a risk and employed those who are at-risk and entered into the struggles that these young men were going through (friends dying because of violence, dealing with the consequences of having kids out of wedlock in their former life, and etc....) As a result Jesus transformed these businessmen into generous men.          

25 years ago, as a college student I was part of a church plant in the inner-city that believed that helping people get jobs and find housing, and training them as workers had nothing to do with the great commission.  They were there to save souls, but didn't realize that they needed to disciple people in all areas of their lives, not just the piety areas.  With that same philosophy, the church still is not self-supporting.     

Anne Sokol's picture
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well,

i think it's a little more nuanced than that, if you're not the entrepreneur type. To those who can make money, he's basically saying, make money and enjoy using it, both in giving and in your lifestyle:

God is clearly not opposed to wealth, even tremendous wealth. He is pleased to grant it to some of his followers. This means, I think, that he is not opposed to what you could call a “normal” lifestyle. If we’re giving sacrificially out of love for Christ from our earnings, I think God is pleased with us.

I'm kind of asking the question from one who is not a money-maker ...

 

Joel Shaffer's picture
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  I believe (as the authors

  I believe (as the authors seem to intend) that sacrificial giving is the Biblical norm.  However, as I Tim. 6:17-19 states, that God also gives us these riches to enjoy (this doesn't mean idolatry) yet it is balanced with sacrificial giving.   Another resource that I'd recommend is Dr. Craig Blomberg's "Neither Poverty or Riches: a Biblical Theology of Possessions."  Blomberg develops a theology of Possessions all the way from Genesis to Revelation.  I heard Blomberg lecture a few years back on this topic and he maintains that sacrificial giving and generousity is not only for the rich, but also for everyone including the poor.     

rogercarlson's picture
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Anne,

Anne,

Sorry i never responded...I missed the posts.  I actually believe more and more pastors in the States are like me.  Churches running 40-50 with many on low incomes...there is no choice.  I could have left a long time ago, but God called me here.  I am not jealous..but its just how it is.  I think as the Lord tarries, it will only be more this way.

 

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church