Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Quotables

From Craig Blomberg's Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions

"...we must take care not to assume that wealth necessarily, or even frequently, represents God's blessing." (p 36)

"So, without necessarily calling into question the wisdom of modern distinctions between legal and illegal aliens for legislative purposes, it would seem unconscionable that any Christian should ever support efforts to withhold basic human services from the neediest in any land, regardless of their country of origin." (p 48)

"Both sexual immorality and material selfishness stem from the same self-indulgent attitudes." (p 78)

"The key to evaluating any individual church or nation in terms of its use of material possessions (personally, collectively or institutionally) is how well it takes care of the poor and the powerless in its midst, that is, its cultural equivalents to the fatherless, widow, and alien." (p 84)

"As in Proverbs 30:8-9, Jesus is concerned to moderate extremes. But the main focus of his ministry, the road to the cross, and his call to his disciples to imitate him in similar self-denying sacrifice rather than basking in glory, suggests the overarching paradigm of generous giving rather than 'godly materialism,' for the one who would faithfully follow Christ." (pp 145-146)

"So, too, professing Christians today who have surplus income (i.e., a considerable majority of believers in the Western world), who are aware of the desperate human needs locally and globally, ...and who give none of their income, either through church or other Christan organizations, to help the materially destitute of the world, ought to ask themselves whether any claims of faith they might make could stand up before God's bar of judgment." (p 155)

"The church does not pay its ministers; rather, it provides them with resources so that they are able to serve freely." (p 187, quoting Don Carson)

"Christian giving is a gift from the grace from God, which he enables Christians to exercise." (p 191)

Final conclusions:
"1. Material possessions are a good gift from God meant for his people to enjoy.
2. Material possessions are simultaneously one of the primary means of turning human hearts away from God.
3. A necessary sign of a life in the process of being redeemed is that of transformation in the area of stewardship.
4. There are certain extremes of wealth and poverty which are in and of themselves intolerable.
5. Above all, the Bible's teaching about material possessions is inextricably linked with more 'spiritual' matters." (pp 243-246)

Final applications:
"1. If wealth is an inherent good, Christians should try to gain it.
2. If wealth is seductive, giving away some of our surplus is a good strategy for resisting the temptation to overvalue it.
3. If stewardship is a sign of a redeemed life, then Christians will, by their new natures, want to give.
4. If certain extremes of wealth and poverty are inherently intolerable, those of us with excess income (i.e., most readers of this book!) will work hard to help at least a few of the desperately needy in our world.
5. If holistic salvation represents the ultimate good God wants all to receive, then our charitable giving should be directed to individuals, churches or organizations who minister holistically, caring for people's bodies as well as their souls, addressing their physical as well as their spiritual circumstances." (p 247)

"'Give me neither poverty nor riches,' prayed the writer of the proverb; but, since most of us already have riches, we need to be praying more often, 'and help me to be generous and wise in giving more of those riches away." (p 253)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So bizarre! I was just studying some facets of Gandhi, & he has much to say on Christian nations & wealth -- he says we go against the "serve God & mammon" statement. He also has made an oft-altered comment about maybe converting to Christianity were it not for Christians, I'm sure you're already aware of that one.

Actual quote: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."