How evil are you?

The 99%’ers are losing their media traction and quickly becoming irrelevant as a movement.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing.  For all the good they and their sympathizers think they did, the bad outweighed it many times over (I have compiled more than 75 news articles recording “purely isolated incidents” of rapes, murders, drug dealing, prostitution, child drunkenness, child prostitution, child pornography, public masturbation, public urination, public defecation, assaults – shootings and stabbings, assaults on police officers, vandalism, and arson at occupy encampments and by occupiers — you know…just like the Tea Party protesters).

Anyway, I found THIS CALCULATOR originally posted in a Wall Street Journal blog post some time back.  I thought it was interesting.  So check it out and see just how evil you are where you stand among America’s income earners.  Post your percentage if you can cope with just how oppressive you really are.

Comments

  1. I’m a 61 percenter – at least according to that garbage.

    • Well, its not garbage. It’s a calculator to see where you fall percentage wise among the nation’s earners. For example, you/your family are in the 61 percentile. It’s not a good or bad thing. 60% of Americans earn less than you, and 39% earn more.

  2. Thanks for the offer, but they would burn my house down tomorrow if I posted it.

    • Of course they would, they hate success when that success is enjoyed by the person who earned it. To be truly a good person, you need to be poor by giving away your success, thereby giving you nothing to show for your work. Thus making you unsuccessful.

  3. Oops! I’ve said too much!

  4. But what it doesn’t do is consider your cost of living. For example, my percentile would be considered very wealthy in some areas, but in others (like NYC) I’d be considered lower income. It only gives the raw fact.

    • John,
      You hit the nail on the head about cost of living making a huge difference. I can live much better where I am now than when I lived in the Chicago area. As an example, when I moved here in 1995 I was living in a 50-year-old house, with 3 bedrooms (the one being a converted attic), small bath, very small kitchen and a dining room, totaling just under 1200 sq ft. Single car garage way back in the alley, small lot, no a/c (upper bedroom way hot in summer). The house we bought in Iowa was brand new build, 2300 sq ft., two baths, four bedrooms, huge living room, etc, central air, two-car attached garage, 1/3 acre lot, etc. We paid $50 more for the new house than what we sold our old one for!! And yet if I moved just 30 miles away, I could get half again the house for the same money. So I’d be a rich man in many places but a virtual pauper in any big city. Which is why income is not a real measure of where one is in regard to wealth.

  5. TerranceH says:

    Reblogged this on Sibboleth Nation and commented:
    I’ll be posting some time next week. For now, check out some other bloggers.

  6. To be truly a good person, you need to be poor by giving away your success, thereby giving you nothing to show for your work.

    ~John

    “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    ~Jesus

    Hey! You agree with Jesus, it looks like!

    You were being serious, weren’t you?

  7. Marshall Art says:

    He often does.

  8. In that passage, you are correct, he was speaking to one person. One rich person who let his possessions get in the way of God – as we rich people are wont to do.

    And yet, Jesus said essentially the same thing to all his followers, over in Luke 12…

    “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    ~Jesus

    So, are you disagreeing with Jesus’ command to the rich man (you know, folk like us) AND the command to his followers, as well?

    Surely not.

    • Dan

      Jesus says For where your treasure is… this is a conclusion to what he just said. He is telling them that the things they treasure most is where their heart truly is. Meaning if they value things more than Jesus to the point where they’d rather have them than Him, then rid yourself of things that get in the way of God.

      He did the same thing when he suggested cutting off your hand and blinding yourself. I’m sure it is a big let down that Jesus wasn’t a socialist, but try to cope.

      And IF you thought that is what he was teaching, you’d better not have any possessions lest you be a hypocrite.

  9. So, when Jesus said “sell your possessions and give to the poor,” he didn’t mean that literally?

    Can you understand that it’s confusing when you so-called inerrantists and literalists don’t take the Bible literally? You seem to pick the verses that are least inconvenient for you to demand a literal interpretations, but on teachings that you find less pleasing or personally difficult, THEN you take it non-literally.

    As for myself, I’m not a biblical literalist, so there’s no hypocrisy in my position (and for what it’s worth – I do take this pretty literally: Jesus doesn’t say sell all your possessions and give to the poor, but clearly, he is teaching sell your possession (limit/cut back your wealth) and give to the poor. I think Christians should hold pretty literally to Jesus’ teachings since he is, after all, our Savior).

    • When heretics like you isolate verses from their greater context you end up with ridiculous interpretation like you have done.

      For example if we are to understand the verse the way you would like, by giving our possessions to the poor, it would make me poor. Then I need to go and find a rich man to get his stuff. Then he gets someone else’s stuff ad infinitum. Unless you think Jesus is an idiot, (your interpretation ) he probably meant it the way I understand it.

  10. Marshall Art says:

    Dan thinks he is being more reasonable in his “interpretation” by suggesting Jesus is saying we should “limit/cut back your wealth”. This is no better than what he is now trying to say is an improper “literal” interpretation. By this “new” undesrtanding then, the extent to which one limits or cuts back is subjective, as there is no specific indication of just what that means. Thus, whatever I choose to possess can also be said to have been cut back from a greater amount without being dishonest, the result still being great wealth that Dan would describe as laying up treasure. It just doesn’t work. It isn’t what Jesus means at all. He is simply saying that one should not be so attached to wordly wealth that it becomes the god one worships.

    Dan also likes to play this game of saying that he is wealthy, or among the rich, simply because he is not destitute in the manner of some third world unfortunate begging for enough crumbs to stay alive from day to day. This is part of his psuedo-sanctimonious dishonesty. He doesn’t care enough about the poor to use the talents God gave him to generate wealth to give away. What a real sacrifice that would be that he would give up this “simple living” nonsense for the benefit of providing for more people, since he feels giving away one’s wealth is what we are called to do.

  11. John…

    For example if we are to understand the verse the way you would like, by giving our possessions to the poor, it would make me poor. Then I need to go and find a rich man to get his stuff.

    No, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying that Jesus is literally saying to his followers: Give up your wealth, give it to the poor and follow me. In doing so, you will find true wealth. Which is what the text suggests to me.

    Setting aside the goofy socialist/strawman points you’re making in error: Do you disagree with my actual points? Do you think Jesus truly was not teaching that we should sell what we have (not necessarily all we have) and give to the poor? Do you think Jesus was truly not saying that in so doing, we will find true wealth?

    Marshall…

    Dan also likes to play this game of saying that he is wealthy, or among the rich

    I AM (we are) wealthy, by any reasonable, historic, global standard. Do you truly disagree with that? There’s no dishonesty in admitting my reality, nor is there any sanctimony. How do you see that?

    Marshall…

    It isn’t what Jesus means at all. He is simply saying that one should not be so attached to wordly wealth that it becomes the god one worships.

    You are welcome to your opinion. I disagree. My question to John and you remains: Do you see how you who ascribe to a supposedly “literalist” view of the Bible come across as hypocritical and dishonest when you take a clear direct teaching from Jesus and take it NOT literally, but stretch and contort Scripture to make it say something less than a literal interpretation? Do you see how it seems to others that, when it comes to “sins” that don’t affect you (homosexuality, for example), you take the Bible’s words literally, but when it comes to “sins” that DO affect you (storing up treasures on earth), you immediately and quickly say, “Well, now, let’s not take THAT literally…”?

    Instead of further ad hom attacks, what about answering my questions or addressing my actual points?

  12. John,
    This inanity of Heretic Dan’s is why he has been banned from my site. He is a time-waster and is not open to correction, let alone instruction. I would suggest you also block him. If all Christians blocked him then he wouldn’t be able to peddle his false gospel so widely.

  13. Brother Glenn, instead of false and unsupported charges and ad hom attacks (and the Bible is quite clear that we are not to bear false witness, nor slander, nor gossip…), I’d invite you to, if you truly have a problem with some position I’ve made, to tell me specifically about it. Not saying, “You disagree with me and I can’t be wrong, so you disagree with God…” because that would be an actual heresy, but saying, “Dan, when you say… (and quote me), I think you are mistaken because… (and give actual support).”

    These unsupported false witness slanders and gossip are not worthy of the name of Christ and I rebuke you for engaging on it here, when this is not even your blog. In the name of Christ, then, I rebuke you brother, for bearing false witness and engaging in slander and gossip. Repent, for your own good, my brother.

    • Dan,
      You are NOT my brother in the Lord because you worship another god and another christ and preach another gospel. That by definition means you are a heretic. This is not a “false and unsupported” charge because the support is from your own writings and witnessed by many bloggers who have also tried to correct and instruct you to no avail. It is not “false witness” because the facts have been laid out many times. It is not slander because it is true. It is not gossip because it is done in front of you and it is all true. It is not an ad hominem attack because it is merely and identification for all those reading. You cannot rebuke me for telling the truth.

      The “inanity” of which I speak is your whole argument above. The point to which I stated “I can’t be mistaken” is about God’s view of homosexuality, which is plainly written in Scripture. Sort of like I can’t be mistaken about 2+2=4. I’m not open to “correction” or “instruction” for that equation either.

      Now I have had my say to you, I will not communicate with you further. I do not answer a fool according to his folly, nor will I throw my pearls before swine.

    • “if you truly have a problem with some position I’ve made, to tell me specifically about it”

      Dan, this is what really steams me about you. You know exactly what people’s problems with you are. It’s been brought to your attention many times over. You habitually present this like you have no idea why people disagree with you and that this is all news to you. People have given you actual reasons, and you pretend like they just say they disagree. The claims are not unsupported because we have the same discussion with you on nearly every post on which you invest your time. You inevitably hyjack the post, which you attempt to do here. You are a broken record. You repeatedly take passages out of context and pretend to be just taking it for what it says.

      BTW, the passages you refer to about not slandering is cultural and only in the pagan context, you are inserting your bias on the texts. Since the bible doesnt say all forms of slander and gossip are wrong, we can therefore conclude that some forms are OK.

      I probably wont tolerate much more of you. I am just sick and tired you rehashing the same things with you. The way you pretend no one has ever told you why they disagree, it’s old. I will see how you decide to participate on this post and figure out whether you will be posting further.

  14. Glenn…

    This inanity of Heretic Dan’s

    To be clear, which “inanity” is it you’re accusing me of? Of taking Jesus’ teachings pretty literally? Is that really a place where you want to hang your hat?

  15. One more point, where you say…

    He is a time-waster and is not open to correction, let alone instruction.

    Do you understand the sad irony of this statement, Glenn? YOU are the one who has stated, “I can’t be mistaken…” on a point. While for my part, I have always held that I can be mistaken and only ask that you show me why I am mistaken with something more than an appeal to your traditions or to your opinions.

    Of the two – someone who believes they can’t be mistaken and someone who freeely admits they can be mistaken – who do you think is truly not open to correction or instruction? That’s a serious question for you to consider my brother.

    Peace.

  16. sticks and stones, Glenn. I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, whom I believe to be the living, resurrected Son of God. I believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. I believe in repentance for sins and making Jesus the Lord of our lives, walking by grace in the steps of my Savior. That is orthodox Christianity. If you reject that, then you are the heretic.

    Where in any of that am I mistaken, Glenn?

    Again, rather than engage in unsupported and clearly, observably false statements, Glenn, I’d think it would be wiser and more respectful to stick to the topic and email me any concerns you may have for me that are off-topic, here.

    If you are a Christian, Glenn, you ARE my brother, for I am a Christian. I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but I don’t have to have your approval or endorsement to be a Christian. I am a Christian because of God’s grace and my following in Jesus’ teachings (returning slyly to the topic at hand).

    So, you maintain and admit that you, Glenn Chatfield, are (in your own opinion) incapable of being mistaken on God’s opinion about gay marriage. Are you also incapable of being mistaken on God’s opinion about selling your possessions and giving them to the poor?

  17. So, defending myself against scurrilous and unsupported charges when they repeatedly arise and get repeated, is that what you consider “hijacking” a post? I admit that I spend an undue amount of time defending myself against off-topic, unsupported ad hom attacks, but if the attacks weren’t there in the first place, I would not be doing the defending, would I? Does it not seem rational that the solution is to end the off topic, ad hom attacks, rather than criticizing me for defending myself against the attacks?

    Look at your comments to me – you called me a socialist (I’m not), a heretic (I’m not) and suggested I took a passage out of context (I didn’t). All without support. Same for Glenn and Marshall. Why not just deal with my comment on the topic and leave behind the personal attacks? Does that not seem like the adult, Christian and rational thing to do?

  18. John…

    this is what really steams me about you. You know exactly what people’s problems with you are. It’s been brought to your attention many times over.

    If I make a comment you find troubling, why not deal with it then and there, and do so on a respectful, rational basis and leave out the name-calling (heretic, socialist, etc)? That action on your part alone would bring to a screeching halt these long back-and-forths we have.

    In this thread, what have I said with which you disagree/take issue?

    I said (half in jest, but still on topic) that your comment you made in jest sounded a whole lot like comments Jesus made in his actual teachings. Which almost makes it sound like you were mocking the teachings of Jesus, an issue of great concern for a Christian.

    You responded by suggesting I took it out of context. I responded on two points:

    1. Jesus was speaking to a wealthy man who was asking what he must do to be saved, which seems to make it relevant, at least to me.

    2. That this was a command Jesus gave all his followers, not just the one rich man.

    Thus I was not out of context.

    Your response appears to be that, in your opinion, Jesus was not addressing the fact that the man was rich, but that his priorities were screwed up. Okay, you’re welcome to that opinion. There may be some truth to that opinion. Nonetheless, it is my opinion that Jesus was speaking specifically to rich people and to his followers that we are not to hold treasures here on earth and that we may be going astray if we try to water that down because it makes we who are wealthy uncomfortable.

    With my positions that I’m actually taking, do you have a concern?

  19. Marshall Art says:

    We DO take the story of the rich young man literally. First of all, Jesus is responding to his question, “What must I do…”, not, “What must EVERYONE do…”. So Jesus’ response was to him specifically. There is no indication that it was meant for all Christians.

    Secondly, Jesus DID tell him to sell EVERYTHING and give to the poor, which would make him poor as well.

    Next, if Jesus expressed that command for ALL His followers, you must first be sure to explain why it means every Christian from that time forward, or, if by “followers” we’re speaking of the Apostles, if indeed He gave that command to “all” his followers at all. I can’t think of where He said to do this, especially considering this would constitute a works-based salvation. But even Zacchaeus gave only half of his possessions to the poor and Christ proclaimed that “Today salvation has come to this house…” How does that work exactly, that Zacchaeus, a wealthy man, gained salvation at the cost of only half his wealth and the rich young man was told to sell everything?

  20. Marshall Art says:

    And by the way, you are not rich if you are not in the top tax bracket. You are not wealthy if you must work everyday to earn enough to pay your bills. Wealth is not merely having more than the next guy and just comparing yourself to the most destitute in the world does not make you wealthy either. The funny thing here (not really in a “ha ha” manner) is that you bristle at the use of the word “socialist” when used to describe Obama, but you play fast and loose with the word “wealthy” as it suits you. Which better applies to this: hypocrisy or irony?

  21. Actually Marshall, I think all of your comments and questions are excellent and full of great observations and thoughts and I think we can have a great discussion on this, if it suits you all.

    So Jesus’ response was to him specifically. There is no indication that it was meant for all Christians.

    As I have already agreed, Jesus’ comments to the rich young man were specifically to him. We agree on that point. However, I think we can say that there is at least an indication that it applied beyond just the rich young man.

    Consider that Jesus warned his followers right after the rich man walked away that it is difficult for rich folk to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus said, ““Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19) or “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

    These are blanket statements towards all the rich, are they not? Jesus references “the rich,” or “someone who is rich” after the rich man walks away from the kingdom of God, unable to part with his riches. This suggests, at least to me, that Jesus appeared to think that “the rich” as a category had a hard time with where they place their treasure.

    What do you think?

    Beyond that, we have Jesus repeating almost the exact words to his followers in a different context. In Luke 12, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool – the guy who kept building bigger and bigger barns to store up more and more here on earth. He concluded that parable with….

    “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

    Immediately following that parable, we find “Then Jesus said to his disciples” and we find the lesson about not worrying about pursuing wealth, about “consider the lilies of the field…” and, following in Luke 12…

    “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    At the very least, this is a lesson, a teaching – a command – to “his disciples” and his “little flock.” I am a disciple of Christ and part of his flock. It seems logical to me to say that this is a teaching for all of Jesus’ followers, not just the ones there that day. Keep in mind that Luke 12 begins by telling us that this was Jesus teaching to “a crowd of many thousands [that] had gathered,” so I don’t think we can say that this was only to the Twelve.

    What do you think?

  22. Marshall Art says:

    “What do you think?”

    I think it supports my position that Jesus/God does not have a problem with being or seeking wealth, but only of the seeking interfering with a proper relationship with Him or with following His teachings. Never is there the command to give up one’s wealth without the person’s wealth having already taken His place in the person’s priorities. The Luke 12 parable supports it even more as it compares storing up material wealth against spiritual wealth. All the verses you present do the exact same thing: it warns against allowing one’s passion for the material supercede one’s passion for Him. None if it, anywhere, suggests that improving one’s bottom line should be avoided or discontinued UNLESS it interferes in the manner stated. Rich or poor, putting God first is the rule. But to suggest that we can serve Him better, or more precisely, serve others better, but being poor is ludicrous. Indeed, the wealthier one becomes, the more one can do for those in poverty. In fact, true wealth provides not only money, but the time to spend in service of the poor and needy. Thus, no matter what you think you are doing for the poor now, you can do better if your personal wealth was greater. And one needn’t put God second in any endeavor. You just seem to think that one can’t help but forsake God when doing so.

  23. Marshall…

    Jesus DID tell him to sell EVERYTHING and give to the poor, which would make him poor as well.

    Let’s look at the text and see. Matthew 19…

    “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (NIV)

    “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (NASB)

    “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (KJV)

    “If thou dost will to be perfect, go away, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.” (Young’s Literal Translation)

    “If you would be perfect [that is, have that spiritual maturity which accompanies self-sacrificing character], go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come, be My disciple [side with My party and follow Me].” (Amplified Bible)

    And, in Mark 10…

    “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (NIV)

    “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (NASB)

    “You lack one thing; go and sell all you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come [and] accompany Me walking the same road that I walk].” (Amplified Bible)

    So, very interesting, in Matthew it doesn’t clearly say “all” but in Mark, it does. I had not noticed that. I’d say that it sounds like you’re right. Jesus was inviting the rich man to sell “all” and join the disciples (who had said they had given up all to follow Jesus, also in Matthew 19).

    Then, in Luke 12, Jesus uses very similar words as he does in Matt 19 when speaking to a great crowd of thousands, not just one rich man or just the Twelve. Do you think that when Jesus told the crowd to “sell your possessions and give to the poor in order to truly be rich” that Jesus was issuing a command for all followers to sell everything?

    I don’t think that’s a rational conclusion, since clearly some of Jesus followers had homes and boats and tools of their trade. As you note, Zaccheus gave half of his wealth away, but clearly, he kept half.

    Then again in the early church, you see a communal approach to dealing with goods, as we see in Acts 2…

    All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need… (NIV)

    or…

    And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. (NASB)

    And in Acts 4…

    All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (NIV)

    or…

    And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. (NASB)

    I think one could conclude, given all this, that there was an attitude of sharing and of not claiming wealth as one’s own, but that it was not a hard-and-fast rule that Jesus’ followers ALL sold EVERYTHING. And there was an attitude of selling their possessions so as to provide for the needy, per Christ’s teachings. They sold and shared freely and gave to the poor with their shared wealth (so that there were NO needy amongst them!), but I don’t think we can conclude that all sold all, or felt compelled to.

    What do you think?

  24. Marshall…

    The funny thing here (not really in a “ha ha” manner) is that you bristle at the use of the word “socialist” when used to describe Obama, but you play fast and loose with the word “wealthy” as it suits you. Which better applies to this: hypocrisy or irony?

    Here you lapsed back into ad hom a bit, but I’ll tackle it…

    1. I disagree with the use of the word “socialist” applied to myself or Obama merely because it is inaccurate. We are both capitalists who believe in rational regulation. We are not, by definition, “socialist.”

    2. Wealthy is defined by MW as 1. Very affluent and 2. characterized by abundance. Certainly, we can disagree on where that line lies, as there is no defined line of “what is ‘very affluent?'” or “how much is ‘abundance’?” but one can certainly see how it is reasonable that someone who has enough to meet ALL their needs (housing, food, health care, shelter, water) and has more besides that (enough for TVs, computers, cars, lawn mowers, toys and trinkets of all sizes), that this can be reasonably called “an abundance.” I/we are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the world and we have all we need and so much more. One can, I think, rationally see how that can be called “wealth” and come within the dictionary meaning of the word, don’t you think?

    I’m not sure what your beef is here on this point, Marshall. There is no defined line of what “wealthy” is, so I’m not being entirely crazy to think that having all I need and more fits the definition of wealthy. You don’t want to draw the line where I do? That’s okay, because it’s an arbitrary line. It seems reasonable to me and meets the dictionary definition so it works for me. Feel free to disagree. There is no “right” answer on that point.

    Do you think there is an objectively “right” answer to “what is wealthy?” as in a specific amount?

  25. Marshall…

    The Luke 12 parable supports it even more as it compares storing up material wealth against spiritual wealth. All the verses you present do the exact same thing: it warns against allowing one’s passion for the material supercede one’s passion for Him.

    You don’t think that Jesus’ teaching to the rich young man, followed immediately by the warning, “It is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God” is not a general warning to all who hold wealth?

    I would disagree, but you are certainly free to hold a different opinion.

    Marshall…

    to suggest that we can serve Him better, or more precisely, serve others better, but being poor is ludicrous. Indeed, the wealthier one becomes, the more one can do for those in poverty.

    Do you think that the early church was wrong, then, for giving away so much of their homes and goods in order to live more simply in a communal setting, holding all things in common?

  26. I guess I would just remind us of another few passages, from Jesus, Mary and James…

    But woe unto you that are rich! for you have received your consolation…

    God has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty…

    Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you…

    Also, I’d think on Paul’s warning in 1 Tim 6…

    Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    “Wanting to get rich” is warned off as being a trap. Therefore, I don’t want to get rich. Not even for good motives (ie, to be able to give more to the poor). Why don’t I want to get rich? Because there is a clear warning associated with it here in 1 Timothy, for one thing. Also, in each of those first passages I quoted, the speakers are talking about “the rich” as a class, not about specific rich people, or only the oppressive rich people. “You rich people…” “WOE to you who are rich…” These are all general warnings to the whole class of “the rich” and “those who want to get rich…”

    Does that mean that, if “some people” who wanted to get rich fell into its trap, that “some people” did/do not? Yes, I’d say so. But there is just such a strong and consistent warnings against it, I’ve decided it’s not for me.

    Does that mean I think the wealthy can’t be Christians or good? No, of course not. I think I am wealthy, after all. It is just that it comes with so many warnings and trappings that I can’t see advocating it for myself or my children.

    Do you “want to get rich” so you can help others? Good for you. I’d just point out that there are clear rational and biblical warnings against it, but nonetheless say that you have to use your own judgment. Not for me, though, thanks.

  27. Marshall Art says:

    Obviously your faith is weak if you think a few million dollars can lead you to ruin.

    You do not have all you need and more if you must work to provide for your family. That is, if you cannot quit your job without risking throwing your family into extreme poverty, you do not have all you need. There’s no debating this point. You may have more than the poorest in third world nations, but that doesn’t equate to wealth or even the dictionary definition.

    You assume that the end result of that Acts verse must be “simple living”. If all people were truly good stewards of what God has given them, not only would no one want for anything, much of what they might want wouldn’t necessarily be “needs”.

    The same warnings regarding seeking wealth can be equally applied to freedom and liberty. The more freedom, the more temptation to do evil. Is freedom evil? Can one be perfectly free with total liberty and be true to God’s Will? Of course. That many cannot, that some may abuse their good fortune of wealth and liberty only proves that ony few will make it through the narrow door.

    You also continue to use verses improperly. Many “woes” to the rich were speaking to specific people of the time who were oppressive. They were not admonitions against the wealthy in general.

    All the early church was doing was manifesting the radical philosophy of giving up one’s life for Christ. But you do not do what the early church was doing if you “own” anything at all. They were clearly selling everything and pooling those resources. But doing that successfully requires that everyone believe the same things to an equal degree. Yet, we don’t need to literally sell all we own like the early church did (and really, was it the entirety of believers or only a segment under Peter?) to live with the same understanding of “ownership” and charity. Also keep in mind that there is no indication that the people of the early church were forced to sell and pool their possessions.

    As to the topic of this post, I find it more evil to choose a simple life while insisting that those who aspire to wealth be made to give more for that which simple living people won’t expend the effort to accomplish, than to suggest those who aspire are evil for not contributing enough to satisfy simple living people.

  28. Wealth, in and of itself, is not evil. Otherwise God would have sinned when he made Solomon wealthy.

  29. Marshall…

    Obviously your faith is weak if you think a few million dollars can lead you to ruin.

    Again, rather than discussing the topic, you’re trying to make it personal. And are you really mocking me for taking the Bible too literally?

    My point, Marshall, is that Jesus appears to be speaking to the rich man, in Matt 19, but applying it to “the rich” whom he immediately references, saying, “It is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God…”

    Do you think that, in all the passages I referenced and others like them, there is not a general warning to “the rich…”?

    You say…

    The same warnings regarding seeking wealth can be equally applied to freedom and liberty. The more freedom, the more temptation to do evil. Is freedom evil?

    Yes, it could, perhaps. But it doesn’t happen in the Bible. Instead, Jesus, Mary, James, Paul and others speak specifically of the trappings of wealth. Do you think they were mistaken to warn against the dangers of wealth – how it can be a trap?

    Marshall…

    Many “woes” to the rich were speaking to specific people of the time who were oppressive. They were not admonitions against the wealthy in general.

    Really? Where does it say that? What I see in the text is simply “woe to you who are rich…” which sounds general. Where do you find the text that talks of the oppressive rich?

  30. TerranceH says:

    Dan,

    If you started a business that became very successful, would you abandon it? Surely you would. All Godly fellows would, right?

    You’re the biggest hypocrite on the web, Dan. You might have other folks fooled, but not mean, you charlatan.

  31. ? Again, why make this a personal attack, Terrance? Do you have some point to make about my thoughts?

    My position, as stated, is pretty close to the literal words of Jesus. I don’t believe it is wise to pursue wealth, to “want to get rich,” as Paul warns against. Jesus, Paul, etc, warn against wealth in the Bible, calling it a trap. It makes rational and biblical sense to me, therefore, not to “want to get rich.” In truth, I am quite wealthy, by global and historic measures. I have all I need and much much more.

    For myself, my goal is to be downwardly mobile – to try to move away from wealth and its trappings. This makes sense to me. You may disagree if you wish, but there’s no need to get into personal attacks about our opinions. I won’t call you names if you disagree with me, I’d appreciate the same respect.

    • Dan

      I find it suspicious that you cling bitterly to the “literal” words of Jesus on this issue, but argue vehemently against the same method when discussing homosexuality. For some reason there is every justification for avoiding at all costs the “literal” condemnations for that.

      You’re a hypocrite. You beg people to tell you why they disagree with you then accuse them of gossip and slander when they do. You’re a joke.

  32. John, I (and my anabaptist forebears) cling tightly to the teachings of Jesus because we are followers of Jesus. We don’t cling tightly to ancient Hebrew traditions/laws because we aren’t ancient Hebrews. It makes sense to me and my tribe, I’m sorry if it doesn’t make sense to you.

    So, to my actual comments, do you disagree with a literal understanding of the texts in question? Do you think that when Jesus, Mary, James, et al, referred to “the rich” or “wanting to be rich,” that they didn’t mean it literally? On what basis?

    Again, moving away from the personal attacks and towards my actual comments, do you disagree with what I’ve said and for what reason?

    I’m trying to avoid engaging in the ad hom/personal sidebars, John. Wouldn’t it make most sense just to deal with our comments and discuss the ideas that arise, rather than your personal opinions about me?

  33. How about it brothers? What if we start over with an attempt to just talk about ideas, not people? For my part, I will commit to try to talk only about the ideas you raise and offer my opinions about your ideas. I will strive to refrain from talking about you personally or calling you names (“a joke,” “you charlatan,” “you’re a hypocrite…”) – whatever you do, this is what I will try to do.

    Wouldn’t it be a good Christian witness, though, for all of us to strive to do so?

  34. TerranceH says:

    ? Again, why make this a personal attack, Terrance?

    Again? Surely you misspoke. My first comment in this thread was the so-called “personal attack.” I have nothing to do with comments made by others.

    Do you have some point to make about my thoughts?

    Yes. You are a hypocrite and charlatan. And, everything John has said about you. It’s all true. I have no particular stake in any of these religious arguments you folks have, but I have noticed your repeated reliance on circle reasoning, double-talk, quote mining.

    In a phrase, I don’t like you. Even if I may agree with you on some things, I don’t like your rhetorical style and, thus, I don’t like you.

  35. And what does that have to do with my comments here, Terrance?

    (And when I said, “Again,,,” I was speaking to the group here, who have repeatedly engaged in personal attacks rather than responding to my comments.)

    When speaking of ideas, Terrance, I think it rational and respectful to stick to the ideas being discussed. Saying, “Yer a hypocrite,” is not addressing my comments or the ideas being discussed. It is an ad hom attack and a poor way to engage in conversation.

    Do you have comments on my IDEAS, Terrance?

    • People have tried to discuss your comments and why they disagree with you. You follow up by claiming we are off topic and slandering. Like I said, you have exhausted my diplomacy for you. I will no longer be gentile and you will feel my frustration and disdain for you in future responses.

  36. Marshall Art says:

    “And are you really mocking me for taking the Bible too literally?”
    No. I’m concluding that your faith can’t be strong if money can sway you from the narrow path. You obviously feel it is more than possible, but likely. And I don’t mock you for taking the Bible too literally. I merely point out that you take it wrongly. The desire for wealth and the benefits wealth brings is a common human desire. It is not strange to understand why this would be referenced so often, as homosexual behavior was almost unheard of within the Israeli community at that time, so lack of reference to it was understandable. But conversely, the number of warnings regarding the trappings of wealth does not make seeking it sinful anymore than the lack of comments about homosexual behavior or “marriage equity” suggests that is permissable.

    So yeah, we get it. There are myriad warnings about wealth seeking in the Bible. Your understanding of what it means to us and how we should live is twisted based on your leftist mindset. As pointed out repeatedly, Job was made more wealthy after his trials. This totally contradicts what one would expect of God based on YOUR undertstanding of the “Bible and economics”.

  37. John…

    I will no longer be gentile and you will feel my frustration and disdain for you in future responses

    You’re converting to Judaism?

    No need to be “gentle” with me, John. I do, however, expect Christians to follow the Christian teaching to be respectful with those with whom they disagree (actually, I guess the teaching does include “and be gentle in your correction,” so maybe I should expect you to be gentle, but only if you’re taking the bible literally…)

    Anyway, by all means, disagree with my comments and ideas and tell me specifically why. “I disagree with this idea you’ve expressed because…” I LOVE for folk to do that.

    Name-calling, however, is beneath us, let’s not do that.

    Peace.

  38. Marshall…

    So yeah, we get it. There are myriad warnings about wealth seeking in the Bible.

    That was all I was pointing out. We agree, then, on at least that point.

    Marshall…

    …Your understanding of what it means to us and how we should live is twisted based on your leftist mindset.

    My understanding? My understanding is just what we just agreed upon: That there are a myriad of warnings about the trappings of wealth. From there, I have decided not to be one who “wants to get rich” (as Paul warned against), but rather, one who is “content with what I have” (as Paul and Jesus both admonished.

    Do you think that is twisted?

  39. TerranceH says:

    And notice, Marshall Art, Dan’s curious failure to respond to this:

    As pointed out repeatedly, Job was made more wealthy after his trials. This totally contradicts what one would expect of God based on YOUR undertstanding of the “Bible and economics”.

    See the rhetorical games Dan likes to play, folks?

  40. I didn’t respond to it because there’s nothing to respond to. Yes, in the story of Job, he ends up with great wealth.

    I never suggested otherwise.

    How is that a rhetorical game?

    I also didn’t respond to Glenn’s comment (“wealth, in and of itself, is not evil…”) for exactly the same reason. I take no issue with the comment, I don’t disagree. He’s stating something I agree with.

    Failing to comment on points where one agrees is not, to me, any rhetorical game. It’s just acknowledging the reality that we don’t comment on each and every line another person makes.

    Marshall’s comment (“this totally contradicts what one would expect of God based on YOUR understanding of ‘the Bible and economics…'”) is Marshall’s opinion and he is welcome to it. I don’t see any contradiction myself.

    As I have noted, I don’t think wealth = bad. I don’t think Christians and good people can’t be wealthy. All I have said is that the Bible repeatedly warns of the trappings of wealth. For myself, then, I have decided to strive to take Paul’s admonition to not “want to get rich” literally, for myself. I want to avoid the traps of wealth.

    Do you have any opinions about my actual comments, Terrance? Do you think Paul was wrong to warn people of how wealth can be a trap? Do you think Jesus, Mary and James were wrong to say things like “woe to you who are rich…” or do you think that they didn’t really mean literally, “the rich,” in general and were speaking only of a subset of rich people?

  41. As to Marshall’s comment about Job, I’d note that many Jews and Christians view the Job story as allegory or parable. The thinking is that “satan” doesn’t usually hang out with God in heaven having conversations about and holding betting matches on people’s lives. Some Christians/Bible believers tend to think of it as a literal story, others disagree. To get into that conversation would take these comments in a whole other direction and, for this reason too, I didn’t respond to Marshall’s comment.

    No game at all, just striving to stay on topic.

  42. TerranceH says:

    I didn’t respond to it because there’s nothing to respond to. Yes, in the story of Job, he ends up with great wealth.

    And God indeed bestowed that great wealth upon Job……………………

    How is that a rhetorical game?

    It occurs to me that your rhetorical tactic consists of (1) ignoring points which eviscerate your argument by concentrating on less significant argument; (2) accusing people of misunderstanding your argument; and (3) playing victim.

    Earlier in the thread, you said:

    I do take this pretty literally: Jesus doesn’t say sell all your possessions and give to the poor, but clearly, he is teaching sell your possession (limit/cut back your wealth) and give to the poor. I think Christians should hold pretty literally to Jesus’ teachings since he is, after all, our Savior).

    You’re saying people should limit and cut back their wealth. This is incongruous with the story of Job, as Marshall suggested. Therefore, in my view, the only reasonable assumption is the one John draws:

    Jesus says For where your treasure is… this is a conclusion to what he just said. He is telling them that the things they treasure most is where their heart truly is. Meaning if they value things more than Jesus to the point where they’d rather have them than Him, then rid yourself of things that get in the way of God.

    But you didn’t think so, now did you? You suggested, in point of fact, that one should “limit” and “cut back” their wealth.

    Yet in keeping with your nauseating rhetorical style, your position has spontaneously evolved to, “Oh, but, but, but I was just saying that wealth can be a trap!”

    Get real. You don’t fool me, Dan. You’re not that clever.

  43. TerranceH says:

    As to Marshall’s comment about Job, I’d note that many Jews and Christians view the Job story as allegory or parable.

    Oh, I see. So the writer – Job, Moses, Unknown – fancies rhetorical games, too, ‘eh? God gives Job that which God deems a sin, i.e., great wealth!

    Nice!

  44. 1. It is not my position that “great wealth” is a sin, nor that God deems it thusly.

    2. The story of Job has amongst its truths that God is with us through good times and bad, that we should be faithful to God in good and bad, that we are not God, that we should remain humble, etc. I suppose one could conclude that one possible truth in the book of Job is that God blesses God’s followers with material wealth, but that is not a mainstream Christian or Jewish interpretation of the story, I don’t believe.

    3. It is my belief based on the Bible as a whole as well as just plain reasoning that living simply, limiting one’s wealth and desire for wealth and we wealthy cutting back on consumption is a good thing. Do you disagree? Okay, that’s okay if you do, but that is my belief nonetheless.

    4. I don’t see how you disagreeing with my belief constitutes hypocrisy on my part.

    You said…

    You’re saying people should limit and cut back their wealth. This is incongruous with the story of Job, as Marshall suggested.

    5. No, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying I believe that, FOR ME, cutting back on my wealth, living simply, not pursuing wealth, that these are MY goals. I let others make their own decisions and am not advocating what you or Marshall should do. You can see this when I said earlier to Marshall:

    Do you “want to get rich” so you can help others? Good for you. I’d just point out that there are clear rational and biblical warnings against it, but nonetheless say that you have to use your own judgment.

    I have made no statement as to what “people” should do – only what I feel called to do.

    6. You may feel that living simply is incongruous with the story of Job, I’m not saying it is or isn’t as it relates to the story of Job. I’m saying that, as a whole, the Bible warns of the trappings of wealth and, as a result, I make no effort to pursue wealth. Do you think I’m a hypocrite for believing the Bible teaches something and trying to live by that?

    Why the open hostility? Why not just talk about the topic? You’re gonna give yourself an aneurism, my friend.

  45. TerranceH says:

    1. It is not my position that “great wealth” is a sin, nor that God deems it thusly.

    Oh, really? You said:

    Do you see how it seems to others that, when it comes to “sins” that don’t affect you (homosexuality, for example), you take the Bible’s words literally, but when it comes to “sins” that DO affect you (storing up treasures on earth), you immediately and quickly say, “Well, now, let’s not take THAT literally…”?

    Before attempting to skirt damning points, you’d do well to remember your previous nonsense. A little advice —- from one Christian to another, dear friend Dan.

    2. The story of Job has amongst its truths that God is with us through good times and bad, that we should be faithful to God in good and bad, that we are not God, that we should remain humble, etc. I suppose one could conclude that one possible truth in the book of Job is that God blesses God’s followers with material wealth, but that is not a mainstream Christian or Jewish interpretation of the story, I don’t believe.

    So you’re suggesting that, in the Bible, God does things He wouldn’t really do? And you know this….how? Seriously, if you’re not drawing these conclusions from the Bible – and John has provided the most sensible understanding of Jesus’ words – then wherefrom do they come, dear friend Dan? Does God speak to you, dear friend Dan? Do you pull over while driving so that you may listen intently, dear friend Dan? Does He sound like James Earl Jones, dear friend Dan?

    3. It is my belief based on the Bible as a whole as well as just plain reasoning that living simply, limiting one’s wealth and desire for wealth and we wealthy cutting back on consumption is a good thing. Do you disagree? Okay, that’s okay if you do, but that is my belief nonetheless.

    Is that your belief, dear friend Dan? Is that your final analysis, dear friend Dan? I only ask because your “beliefs” have spontaneously evolved so often in this thread alone, I’m about ready to become an all-out believer in pure Darwinism, dear friend Dan…

    4. I don’t see how you disagreeing with my belief constitutes hypocrisy on my part.

    Perhaps, dear friend Dan, the word “hypocrisy” was….unnecessary. Indeed, “charlatan” much more aptly describes you, dear friend Dan.

    5. No, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying I believe that, FOR ME, cutting back on my wealth, living simply, not pursuing wealth, that these are MY goals. I let others make their own decisions and am not advocating what you or Marshall should do. You can see this when I said earlier to Marshall:

    So, dear friend Dan, I am asking again: Does the Almighty….sound like James Earl Jones, or what? I only ask because it seems apparent that you’re drawing your spontaneously evolving beliefs from some source apart from the Bible.

    6. You may feel that living simply is incongruous with the story of Job, I’m not saying it is or isn’t as it relates to the story of Job. I’m saying that, as a whole, the Bible warns of the trappings of wealth and, as a result, I make no effort to pursue wealth. Do you think I’m a hypocrite for believing the Bible teaches something and trying to live by that?

    The only person not considering the Bible “as a whole,” in my opinion, is you. You ignore the Book of Job, basically, while latching on to other parts that fit with your leftist worldview. Much of the Bible, you have argued in other threads, is “allegorical,” i.e., it is not to be taken literally. But on points that suit your leftist philosophy – like Jesus’ words about rich folk – you’re all too willing to accept the Bible, concerning, as having just arrived hot off the Divine Press, utterly literal – and ya best listen, brother!

    This is why people think you’re a joke, dear friend Dan! But I’m not being hostile, my dear friend. You’re my dear friend. I’m treating you as a dear friend. You know, it’s not hostile to offer constructive criticism to another Brother in Christ, now is it —- dear friend Dan?

  46. Marshall Art says:

    You did, Dan, suggest that Jesus was suggesting to us to cut back, limit or give away all our stuff to the poor. This is what you said was Jesus intentions for His followers. Now you seem to be backing off that and saying that you merely believe that for yourself. My point is that even if it is only what you believe, you believe wrongly because you have no basis for that belief. Even in all of Scripture, taking it as a whole, this notion is senseless the more one considers the consequences if all the world lived that way. There’d be no progress, there’d be more suffering, and without a doubt, there’d be more poor. All references to wealth in Scripture have to do with how one who is wealthy relates to others and how one relates to God. That’s no different than anyone else. In fact it’s the very same message of love God and neighbor.

  47. I read the text and that’s what I think is clearly there, so I follow that. I’m not telling you how to interpret it for yourself. I have basis for that belief because it’s what the text says.

    “DO NOT store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” “The man who built bigger and bigger barns to store more stuff was a fool.” “Woe to you who are rich.” “Is it not the rich who oppress you?” “The rich were sent away empty-handed.” “Do not want to get rich.” etc.

    The literal and clear words from Jesus to his followers. Now, you may decide that I’m being overly literal in my interpretation and that’s your call, but you can’t pretend the text isn’t there.

    You suggested earlier, Marshall, that…

    Many “woes” to the rich were speaking to specific people of the time who were oppressive. They were not admonitions against the wealthy in general.

    I’d still like to know: Where does it say that? What I see in the text is simply “woe to you who are rich…” which sounds general. Where do you find the text that talks of the oppressive rich?

    If you answered that question, that might help us get at how you’re getting to your interpretation.

    • Dan

      You conveniently omit the “whys” that are within the passages themselves. Do not store up treasures on earth because… this is your problem. You quote-mine out of the bible when it suits you to use a stand alone verse.

  48. What is the “why?” in your opinion?

    Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

    For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…

    Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?…

    So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    Don’t store up treasures because, where you treasure is, that’s where you heart is?

    That’s a good rational reason, I don’t think I’m missing that.

    Don’t store up treasures because they’re fleeting and will pass away? That’s a good, rational reason, it seems to me. I’m not missing that at all.

    Don’t worry about treasures because it only hurts you and wastes your time and that’s the thing that the pagans are concerned with? That’s a good rational reason, it seems to me. I don’t think I’m missing that.

    What “why?” do you think I’m missing?

  49. tobeforgiven says:

    I worry when we don’t take this passage literally. Following this passage is the charge that it is easier for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to enter through eye of the needle. I believe that this is supported by Matthew 6:19 which says “Do not store up for yourself treasures where moth and rust can destroy.”
    Also we find an example of communal property in Acts 2.

    I think the argument should not be as to whether Christ called us to be radically giving, but whether or not we are forced to be radically giving. The kind of generosity we are called to have by scriptures is different than the kind of generosity desired by the 99%ers. They seem to think that generosity is best administered by the Government though taxes spent on social welfare programs.

    Where as the generosity of scripture goes well beyond this. It is a giving out of the example of Jesus Christ who gave everything for his neighbor (even those who did not deserve it). We give because he gave. And because of this, we should give so much more, and in ways that exceed anything the government could administer.

    Before you say that Christians don’t live up to this, I would invite you to do your own research on populations who are the most generous.

  50. Again, if Jesus meant “woe” to all the rich, then God sinned when He gave Solomon wealth. The fact that God made Solomon wealthy is the best evidence that Jesus was NOT saying what Dan claims.

  51. tobeforgiven says:

    God may give, but that does not change what it is we are commanded to do with what he has given.

    Remember how Solomon’s reign ended. He became corrupt and lost the throne.

    I believe that Jesus asking the man to give up his possessions is to move him away from Idolatry, but the warning that comes after is clear that for most, if not all, wealth will always be idolatry.

    Look at how we, as fundamental Bible believers, will somehow be able to take this passage figuratively, while not affording figurative meaning to any other scripture.

    Why do you think we do that?

    • Why do you think that my (our) understanding is “not literal”? Also if your hand has caused you to sin, have you cut it off yet? Why do you take that figuratively?

      You see, its not a matter of literal vs figurative. Its a matter of understanding what the author intended.

  52. tobeforgiven says:

    Also I did not, in my comment, say that there was anything wrong with having wealth. I am saying that the only good that will come from that wealth will be found in using it for the advancement of the kingdom.

    We must question whether our wealth has become idolatry when we use it for those things which distract us from being in Christ in every moment. TV’s, Boats, etc. If these things are thought of more then the Word of God then they are Idolatry.

    If these things are used to further the gospel, then go ahead!

  53. tobeforgiven says:

    I believe if my hand were to cause me to sin, and to keep sinning, such that I would ignore the Gospel, I would most certianly cut it off!!! For I wold rather enter heaven without it and not to enter heaven at all.

    It is interesting you bring up that verse, as It has particular importance to this conversation.
    If wealth were to cause you to sin would you cut it out of your life?

  54. Marshall Art says:

    “Woe to you who are rich…” is followed by “Woe to you who are well fed now…”. I guess this means that we are to avoid eating enough to satiate hunger. Remember that, folks. Stay hungry. Literally.

    Then, we see it is furthered followed by “Woe to you who laugh now…”, which obviously is a warning against euphoric joy. Remember that as well. Weep often.

    This might all seem snarky. But if we view the first woe as a warning against seeking wealth, then we must also view the other woes as warnings against proper nutrition and enjoying life. But one needn’t have a pictured painted in order to understand that it isn’t wealth, full stomachs or knee-slapping that is the issue. It is particular people and how they acted or lived their lives of whom Jesus spoke. There is no way that Jesus was speaking of ALL rich people because that would mean that all rich people are doomed. This is not an example of serious Biblical study.

  55. Marshall Art says:

    I have to amend my last comment. This bit—“But if we view the first woe as a warning against seeking wealth,” should not have the word “seeking” in it. OR, the following sentence should include it, as in “seeking” proper nutrition and “seeking to” enjoy life. I hope this clarification helps. Without it, I’d be doing with Scripture what Dan is doing and not dealing with all the woes on the same terms.

    I would also add that both the blessings and woes are dealing far more with the spiritual than the material world. The idea is that for those who suffer in this life, yet are true to the Will of God, their suffering will be fully alleviated in Heaven. Consequently, those who are comfortable in this world but do not live a righteous life already have all they’re going to get. Thus, consider those who are poor, hungry and unhappy and choose to solve those issues in a manner contrary to God’s Will. Are they still blessed by God? And those who are rich, full and happy while living a life devoted to God’s Will. Have they anything to fear from God?

    The Biblical warnings against wealth align well with Paul’s teachings that all is permissible, but not everything is practical. Being wealthy, like having total freedom, allows more opportunity to do what we want. Wealth brings this freedom and the ability to do more of what we desire means more opportunity to also do what is contrary to God’s Will, regardless if doing so brings about negative consequences to us personally (such as arrest or lawsuits). The warnings against seeking wealth is to reduce our exposure to the temptations that come with it. These temptations exist without wealth, but wealth makes it easier to indulge them, shielding us from the consequences to a greater degree.

    The same with liberty. The more of it we have, the more we are tempted. If our every move in life is dictated by someone else, we have far less opportunity to choose wickedness (if our dictator is dictating that we only act in accordance with God’s Will).

    Thus, one who is strong in the faith is strong regardless of financial status. It is not the least bit impossible to acquire great wealth while still putting God first.

    However, avoiding wealth when one is capable of acquiring it is akin to furthering the suffering of those poor one claims to champion. One is not required to store up surplus wealth and can provide so much for so many, if giving to the poor is what one believes is the highest calling of Christendom. Not to mention, that one can pass along to the poor the very same techniques one employs to create his own wealth, thereby reducing the numbers of poor in a lasting manner.

  56. Terrance,

    Just a warning. Dan has chided me before for using quotes of his actual words to point out what appear to be inconsistencies. I’ve been told that doing this constitutes an ‘ad hom” and is in bad taste. I certainly don’t mean to imply anything about anyone, just wanted to give you a warning based on past experience.

    Personally, I think you’ve done a nice job.

    It also seems like God gave Solomon a significant amount of wealth also.

    I also seem to remember a little snippet from Acts when Ananias and Sapphira had problems with donating the proceeds from a real estate transaction. The response seemed pretty clear. The proceeds were always yours to do with as you wished. The fact that you chose to lie about it is the problem.

    • Craig

      You are right on both points. Dan sees using his own words to expose his back tracking as slander and gossip as well as ad hom.

      And they really made a big deal in acts that the property was his and didn’t have to give at all, but they lied about what was given.

  57. TerranceH says:

    Thanks, Craig. I’ll have to keep that in mind. Although, I don’t have any plans to do banter back and forth with Dan anymore. I don’t like debating with dishonest people.

  58. tobeforgiven says:

    I don’t believe Matthew 19 is a command that we cannot have wealth. I believe it is more of a warning, and a very strong one at that, especially to those who take a good deal of pride in their wealth.
    The warning being that more often than not, wealth ensnares folks into sin. I believe Jesus is saying to this man, that if you are not ready to give it all away for the sake of Christ on a whim then you are already ensnared.
    Which is again, why he says “it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    As far as Matthew 6:19 is concerned, we should not store up for ourselves treasures where moth and rust destroy. Look, if you get to the end of your life and all that is left of your legacy is a big house, a nice car, a big bank account, then it is as if God has given you great wealth, to use it for his kingdom, within the time frame of your life. If you have something left over in the end, we would have to ask ourselves if we were truly using that wealth for God’s glory. If you have not used it for the sake of bearing fruit for the kingdom of God by the time you die, then it is fruitless.

    (Sorry to get us back on topic)

    • Actually TBF

      This has never been the topic. Dan had turned this into a Jesus said sell your stuff discussion. My topic was about the Occupy movement, and how they and a growing segment of society are demonizing the wealthy for being successful. I realize that there is a biblical discussion in here, but it was not my topic. Dan made it the topic, as usual. Dan doesn’t discuss what I write, he discusses what he thinks I should have written. He uses my blog like a politician. He doesnt answer the question I ask, he answers the question he wants to answer. What he does is evangelize his brand of liberal politics and theology to my readers.

      That being said, if my topic were what Dan had made it, your comments are insightful and well thought out, and I think we agree more than we disagree.

  59. That would be my point, as well, TBF (to get back on topic).

  60. And for as much backpedaling Dan did say that you need to be poor by giving away all your possessions, and that is what Jesus’ message was.

  61. I’m sorry if you misunderstood. My points have been that the Bible consistently warns about the trappings of wealth and that I take those warnings seriously. My point has been that Jesus, Mary, James, etc don’t say “woe to you who are oppressive and rich,” they say, “woe to you who are rich.” There is not a value judgment on that, I’m just stating what the text says. My point has been that I take these teachings fairly literally and when Paul says “Don’t try to get rich,” I take that teaching seriously. Wealth, according to the Bible, has some serious traps associated with it. Which is not to say (as I have pointed out repeatedly) that wealth = evil or that good people can’t be wealthy. I’m just saying exactly what I’ve been saying: That wealth comes with warnings in the Bible and I, for one, take those warnings seriously enough to not want to try to attain wealth.

    I hope that clears it up so that you can understand exactly what I’m saying. It’s been fairly consistent if you just look at my actual words.

    • Dan

      Yous said that when Jesus said “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” that he was teaching that to be truly a good person, you need to be poor by giving away your success, thereby giving you nothing to show for your work.

      So I have to call pants on fire on this one.

  62. Those are your words, John, not mine. My very initial post may hav hinted at that, as I compared your words (not mine, yours) to Jesus’. But that was at least partially tongue in cheek, since you weren’t being serious in your words (your words, not mine). I went on to clarify repeatedly that I don’t think wealth = sin, that what I think the Bible teaches is wealth = trap, thus beware.

    I hope now you understand my point and I apologize if I was not clear enough.

    • Too bad Dan

      You were not tongue in cheek which is why you were asking if I was serious. You said my words were what Jesus was teaching in the passage you quoted. Now that you have had multiple people put you in your place and expose you for the eisogetician that you are, you want to walk it back. Like I said, you might want to tend to your pants, they are on fire.

      It was your comment which hyjacked this post. That pisses me off.

  63. John,
    Next time you do a story on “How Evil Are You” you can use the new and inproved… “Evil Finder Mark II”
    http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/evilfinder/ef.shtml

    Just trying to help!
    Lamont.

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