From: Mccarrick Alan D CRPH (MccarrickAD@nswccd.navy.mil)
Date: Fri Jun 27 2003 - 11:18:56 EDT
>In my experience, the people who preach abundance continue to experience
>it - and health,and all the good things in life - as long as they keep the
>focus on God. There have been some amazing falls of evangelists who lost
>If we don't have it, we're going to have to experience some tough stuff. If
>we do - all these things will be added unto us. I keep using the word
>'focus' because that's what it is. It isn't being good, or doing good for
>others or anything else. Certainly that should come along. And it isn't
>anything that an outsider can be sure about, though there are obvious clues.
>Get the focus, get the abundance. God wants us to be good witnesses. When
>people see us with what they want, they are a lot more likely to come to
I thought that I would drop my thoughts in here on the issue of Christians having the "good things in life"
I have found this topic to be always a source of confusion for me. The OT certainly gives much credit to the idea that temporal blessings are related to God's pleasure at our obedience - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob... Even the entire people of Israel are promised physical blessings leading from obedience to God's laws. Basically, Judges through Malachi seem to present this idea.
BUT when we look at Job (admittedly perhaps the oldest text) we see this exact idea (We obey = God blesses and reverse) condemned.
I would say the NT gives much less support to the idea of material blessings flowing directly from obedience (as several have already said). More strongly are the warnings of the temptations of wealth, and the higher responsibilities of those with material possessions.
In City of God, Augustine addressed the fact that the godly and the ungodly suffer the same - it is the response that differs. He watched as civilization around them crumbled, and the church was called to "stand in the gap."
Certainly the monastic tradition (in theory at least) placed material possession as a direct impediment to godliness.
The French sociologist Christian Jacques Ellul often warned that money and possessions were so fraught with temptations to sin, that they could be considered to be evil.
One of my favorite passages on this issue is:
7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD ;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
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