Re: Prosperity

From: Kenneth Piers (
Date: Mon Jun 30 2003 - 15:01:50 EDT

  • Next message: Dick Fischer: "Re: To Concord or Not to Concord"

    Debbie Mann wrote:

    >>> "Debbie Mann" <> 6/30/2003 1:13:10 PM >>>
    BlankThose of you who condemn prosperity - just how prosperous are you? I
    see professors and researchers. Personally, I consider prosperity to be
    having all of ones needs and some of ones wants met. In this country, I
    would consider an income in the mid to high five figures to be prosperous -
    which is where I would suppose most of you are. Do you condemn your own way
    of life? Do you give away half of your income?

    Debbie Mann, PE
    Debbie Mann Consulting

    REPLY: One of the main problems I have with the gospel of health and wealth is
    that is promulgated by Christians who live in the most materialistic society
    ever known. As such, proclaiming health and wealth as a sign of God's blessing
    and benediction can too easily become a justification for our modern American
    way of life and its standards of success. And it completely neglects the
    pressure that our demand of material resources places on ecosystems and the
    global environment as well as the political conflict that such demand produces
    (witness Iraq).
    Neither do I believe for a second that my lifestyle (having the things that
    other - non-Christians - want) is an adequate basis for attracting people to
    Christianity. More often I think Christian faith is born out of trial,
    tribulation, brokenness, and real human need. In such contexts, it is not the
    things that I have that is most serviceable to those troubled persons, but the
    gospel itself - the proclamation of Gods saving grace revealed in the death and
    resurrection of Jesus Christ. So it is the love, mercy, and forgiveness of
    Christ - usually following upon repentance - that works healing in a person's
    life. Unfortunately repentance is not a popular word in the gospel of health
    and wealth. But it is one of the foundation stones of saving faith.
    I do not consider myself free from the effects of the materialistic culture we
    live in - quite the opposite. And I do consider myself (relatively) wealthy,
    having an income that is well above my immediate needs. So I too struggle with
    how to handle material resources well. They certainly are not there merely for
    my own pleasure or my own service. And I do thank God for the many Christian
    people who have accumulated wealth, yet manage to live modest lifestyles (by
    Western standards) and generously support a host of good works with their
    resources without seeking public recognition for it. In fact, I even appreciate
    those wealthy Christians who, when they give their resources to a cause, accept
    or require that the support be publicly recognized (although I think the former
    do better).
    And I believe that God does raise up powerful Christian leaders (Abraham
    Kuyper (Netherlands), Martin Luther King, Archbishop Tutu come to mind - but I
    don't see their power in the abundance of material blessings they received) and
    he raises up some powerful leaders who are Christians (GW Bush comes to mind -
    he seems to believe (foolishly to my way of thinking) that giving greater
    material resources to those who already have the most is the best way to
    provide greater material resources to those who have the least), but God also
    raises up Christian persons who do wonderful things in his name and have
    virtually no interest at all in material possessions (Mother Theresa comes to
    mind) and such persons are perhaps that most powerful testament of all to the
    peculiar wisdom of the Gospel.
    God blesses the faithful in many unexpected ways but most of those ways are
    immaterial - gentleness, kindness, hospitality, sympathy, wisdom, mercy, a love
    of justice, etc. gifts that all can receive rich or poor alike - so please let
    us not continue to point to the material things we have as a sign of his favor
    - these could all be lost in a short time (remember Job) and then where would
    we be we with respect to "attracting" our neighbor?
    ken piers

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Mon Jun 30 2003 - 15:02:18 EDT