Great news! If you only have a minute to read about wealth, here’s my argument in a nutshell:
Outline of My Argument
- Main Claim: American Christians should reduce their standards of living to what is necessary for human flourishing and give their excess resources beyond this standard to the poor and oppressed.
- God is the firmest advocate for human flourishing.
- The pursuit of wealth is spiritually dangerous and crippling.
- Our culture’s inclinations toward upward financial mobility go against the message of the New Testament and the life of Christ.
- God is revealed in Scripture to have a special concern for the poor and the oppressed.
- Christians will be held accountable for how they treat the poor and the oppressed.
- This line of reasoning is advocating asceticism and is unbiblical.
- Christians have every right to keep what they have earned and to do what they wish with their excess funds.
- Because the poor are lazy, Christians should not feel pressured to give, in case their generosity is taken advantage of.
- Christians want to remain true to Scripture and submit to God’s way of life in order to find satisfaction.
(For more on Christianity, wealth, and poverty, see my topical study on what the book of Proverbs has to teach us about poverty.)
Still interested in reading about this contentious topic? Continue below.
In our current context of wealth and poverty existing side by side in a milieu of materialistic consumerism, the Christian gospel of denying ourselves and making much of God is being abandoned for the American gospel of denying others and making much of ourselves.
American Christians have become content to live a baptized version of the American dream, a hollow faith that is about maximizing your earthly portfolio once your salvation is secured.
My main contention is that Christians in the United States should lower their standards of living to what is necessary for human flourishing and give their excess resources beyond this standard to the poor. In doing so, they will remain faithful to Scripture and discover a more satisfactory way of life.
Isn’t That Asceticism?
At this point, some may claim that I am trying to advocate for a form of asceticism. Continue reading “Christians and Wealth: An Argument for Downward Mobility”