Saturday, December 19, 2009

In Store Now - Jesus and Money

What did Jesus say about money? Good question, and one that deserves a good book. Enter Ben Witherington III with his latest book called Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis.

Craig Keener writes of this book: "This timely book blends Witherington's exegetical skill and his pastoral concern to address a very relevant issue. His interpretations of various passages reveal the complexity of issues involved in interpreting and applying texts about money that many take for granted. While this work is a welcome retort to the Scripture-twisting of prosperity preachers, it will also challenge many who have been living large without sustained theological reflection on their lifestyle." Keener is professor of New Testament at Palmer Seminary.

Sondra Ely Wheeler has this to say: "In Jesus and Money, Ben Witherington has done something that is not nearly as easy as it looks: he has presented a clear, accessible, and carefully balanced Christian view of wealth. He draws from a range of scholars of different theological stripes, embracing necessary complexities while ruling out popular views that are simply untenable. This will be of help to any church group that wants to take an honest look at what the Bible teaches us about money." Wheeler is Martha Ashby Carr Professor of Christian Ethics, Wesley Theological Seminary.

In an appendix Witherington looks at "Ten Christian Myths about Money." Here they are:

1) If you just trust God, he will give you 'all the desires of your heart.'

2) If you 'seek first the kingdom of God,' then God will give you all the things you long for.

3) If you tithe, then God will necessarily bless you for more than you have given. This is based on sayings like: "Ask and it will be given to you" (Matt. 7:7).

4) If we are just sincere enough in our asking, or simply pray long and fervently enough, God is bound to give us what we ask for.

5) Money is the root of all evil. hence the nicknames 'filthy lucre' or 'unrighteous mammon.' Therefore it's better for Christians simply not to focus on making money, which is at best a necessary evil.

6) Lending money at interest is not a problem for those who see the Bible as the Word of God.

7) As examples of Solomon and others in the Old Testament show, God has no problem with a Christian being wealthy.

8) As long as I am thankful and know where my blessings come from, maintaining an attitude of gratitude towards God, I can do whatever I please with my money, within certain obvious ethical bounds (e.g., not squandering it on sexually immoral practices).

9) Since we are saved by grace through faith, God will not hold us responsible for what we do with our money.

10) As a tithing Christian, I am free to do as I like with the 90 percent I have not tithed.

The book is a hardcover with 192 pages from Brazos Press and sells for $18.99.

No comments: