Advanced Worldview Analysis - Lesson 14
Money and Wealth
We are responsible to be a good steward of the wealth God gives us to manage.
Money and Wealth
The Christian Worldview and Economics
I. Christian Attitude Toward Money and Wealth
A. Money obliges us to earn it and use it to meet our needs.
B. Trouble reconciling passages about the evil influence of money.
C. Options to solving the dilemma
1. Voluntary means
a. Christians can give their money away.
b. Invest money to help others help themselves.
2. Coercive means
a. Insist that the state use its coercive power to redistribute wealth.
b. Evangelical representatives
II. What is Money?
A. Medium of exchange
B. Important social institution
III. The Distinction Between Money and Mammon
A. When money assumes a sinister power in our lives, it become mammon.
B. Jesus taught that money could become an idol.
C. Concern should not be about money but an improper attitude toward money.
IV. The Bible and Wealth
A. The Teaching and Example of Jesus
B. Every Christian needs to recognize that whatever he or she possesses is theirs temporarily as a steward under God.
V. Money and One's Relationship with God
Discussion of the content of a worldview and the criteria used to evaluate worldviews.
Discussion of liberalism and conservatism, and statism and anti-statism.
Political systems fall along a continuum between the extremes of anarchism and totalitarianism.
People favoring statism support extensive government involvement in education and social programs.
From a biblical point of view, statism is evil.
Discussion of justice on an individual and corporate level.
An economy based on capitalism has much less government involvement than an economy based on socialism.
Interventionism is a capitalistic economic system in which government gets involved to allow free exchange within a framework of laws.
Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of capitalism.
Two basic concepts of economics are limited resources and the choices we make that reflect our values.
Marxism is an economic system based on the idea of a class struggle with the goal of a classless society.
Article from The Free Market
The Bible and Socialism, Moral Defense of Capitalism
We are responsible to be a good steward of the wealth God gives us to manage.
Some of the root causes of poverty are government, social and religious systems.
Liberation theology is an ideology promoted by people trained in Marxism. True liberation theology delivers people from tyranny, poverty and sin.
Christians ought to care about poverty and oppression. People who hold differing economic and social theories propose very different approaches and solutions to these problems.
Discussion of the differences between evangelical liberals and conservatives.
Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discussing the inflation of rights.
Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discusses legal positivism.
A balanced approach toward environmentalism is needed because it can be a serious threat to individual liberty.
Discussion of how people work in a capitalistic system to address environmental concerns.
The public school system in the United States has fostered functional illiteracy, cultural illiteracy, and moral/spiritual illiteracy.
Discussion of the pros and cons of setting up a voucher system to fund the education system.
In this class, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of advanced worldview analysis, starting with an introduction to the concept of a worldview and its importance. You will explore the various components that make up a worldview, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and anthropology. The course delves into analyzing different worldviews such as theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism, and existentialism. Finally, you will learn about the role of the church and individual believers in engaging with culture and responding to worldview challenges, as well as strategies for effective communication of your own worldview.
Dr. Ronald Nash
Advanced Worldview Analysis
Money and Wealth
[00:00:02] Want to talk about money. Now, again, forgive me if I do a lot of reading, but I do want to get this on the tape. I promise I won't do this again. We're looking at page 55 in this handout. Now, let's get going quickly here and page 55. Many Christians exhibit a schizophrenic attitude towards money and wealth. On the one hand, the necessary role that money plays in enabling people to meet their own basic needs to say nothing about dispensing charity toward others obliges us first to earn it and then use it in economic exchange. But on the other hand, many Christians have difficulty reconciling their inescapable involvement with money, with biblical passages that seem to contain dire warnings about money. Mammon, which is material wealth regarded as having an evil influence and wealth. Since it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. They think there must be something dirty and some Christian about money. Many Christians approach the topic of money with a feeling of guilt. After all, this world is not supposed to be our home. We are supposed to lay up treasures in heaven. The world is full of millions of poor and starving people. And yet these Christians have so much in the way of material goods. Now, of course, there is one obvious way of dealing with all of this. Christians who have more than they need, could fulfill what they take to be their Christian duty and just give their money away. Why do these left wing Christians always insist that government take the money of everybody else? If you've got too much, give it away. Now, as you know, I am honest and aboveboard and open minded.
[00:01:45] Let me give credit to Ronald Sider. He and his family have practiced a very interesting kind of stewardship. They live on far less money than most of us do, and then they give it away to important causes. And that's fine. That's voluntary. I honor Ronald Sider for doing that, but I'm less inclined to honor Ronald Sider when he supports liberal statist measures that are going to result in the state taking. So there's a difference between voluntary giving and the state taking in order to support certain welfare measures that we know have ended up doing enormous harm to those people who receive that welfare. Now let's turn the page here. But on page 57, there's another infamous InterVarsity Press book that they would like to forget. It's a book by a man named Andrew Kirk, and I think it's called The Good News of the Kingdom Coming. I was once privileged to review that book for Eternity magazine when that magazine still existed. Here's what Andrew Kirk says in that horrible book. He writes, This is Andrew Kirk. And incidentally, Andrew Kirk worked for John. Stop. What's the name of Scott's former church in downtown London? All Souls Church. That was my home church whenever we went to London. I love John Scott like a father, but. Okay. Here's Andrew Kirk, who worked for John Scott. There can be no doubt if we approach the Bible with honesty that private accumulation is usually deemed to be the result not of harmless transactions in the marketplace, but of either violence, fraud, bribes or expropriations. Now, Mr. Kirk, where in the Bible do you read this? Now notice my parentheses. No, please. That the evil acts cited by Kirk all violate the essence of a genuine free market economy.
[00:03:55] As noted earlier, no force, no violence, no theft, no violation of contract. So Kirk is not talking about capitalism here, although he thinks he is. In Kirk's universe, apparently no one ever prospers honorably. If anybody's got more money than the basic necessities of life, he's a dishonest capitalist rip off pig in Kirk's universe. The simple fact that someone possesses more than the bare necessities of life is proof enough for Kirk and for InterVarsity Press that the person is defective morally. Kirk supports this indictment of all the people who possess more than Kirk thinks they should by appealing to a number of biblical proof texts. But a quick examination of his proof texts. And here I give you the passages Micah two, two and Hosea 12 eight and so on will reveal the shallow nature of his biblical exegesis. The verses he cites as proof that all rich people have acquired their holdings dishonestly really say something quite different. Actually, Kirk appeals to texts that condemn the dishonest pursuit of wealth and uses the verses in support of a totally different claim, namely that the Bible condemns all wealth. Now, what is money? Here's the definition of money. Money is first and foremost a medium of exchange. As human society became increasingly more complex. It became inconvenient for humans to barter one commodity or service for another. Here. I want one cow. I will give you two lambs in exchange. Or you got three shekels of silver. I'll give you one and 110 gold coin. It becomes difficult. Actually, I'm referring to money there. No one invented money. It's simply developed. People who wanted to exchange something found that it was sometimes difficult to find someone who had exactly what they wanted and who at the same time wanted exactly what they had to exchange.
[00:06:03] In order to make exchanges easier, the circle of exchange is widened from two parties to three or more. A head would be wanted. B had what? C wanted. C had what they wanted. In this way, in direct exchanges began to develop in over a period of time. Specialized goods that were more difficult to trade were exchanged for goods that were more easily marketed. As a consequence, the more marketable goods became even more marketable because demand for them increased. Eventually the most marketable or salable of these goods acquired the function of money, a medium of exchange. And don't forget that for many decades in this country, the medium of exchange in certain parts of the Americas was wampum, or in other cases, tobacco or tobacco and wampum. The same or different. You don't know. But all right. Many goods have served as money in the cultures with which we are most familiar. Money tended to take the form of precise weights of such metals as gold and silver, in the sense of a medium of exchange money is both a social and an economic convenience. How can you call money evil, for pity's sake, when it is a basic supporter of a civilized society? How can you call it evil? It's necessary. It makes complicated economic exchanges more convenient and more efficient than if each person had to barter commodities and services directly with other people. Money is an important social institution. A complex society simply could not function without some kind of common medium of exchange. Limitations of time and space do not allow us to explain other important social functions of money. But I do that in the book Poverty and Wealth. Given the important social functions of money, it is difficult to understand what Christians such as Jack Oluwole and Andrew Kirk have in mind when they denounce money and wealth.
[00:07:57] Such Christians seem to have little or no comprehension of what voluntary economic exchange is and how it is a positive sum game in which both parties can win in the sense of leaving the trade in a better position than they were before the trade. They also seem unaware of the necessary social functions. Money performs as a medium of exchange, as a measure of value and as a store of wealth. Much of the laws confusion in this area seems to result from his failure to draw a clear distinction between money anything that may be used as a medium of exchange and mammon, which is money personified as a false god that is deified. Now listen to this. See, again, my open mindedness just leaves me. Stunned Christians such as Oluwole see how I am so tolerant here. Christians such as Elul are right in warning that money can often assume a sinister power over human lives. But whenever money assumes a sinister power over human lives, money is something that's ethically neutral has become mammon. When Jesus warned about Mammon, he taught that money has the potential of becoming a power that can assume control over people. Read those texts. Jesus taught that because humans are sinners, they are capable of turning anything. Into an idol. Such idols can and do often assume sinister control over the people who treat them as gods. Even though money is a social institution that can be the source of much good. It. Like anything else in God's creation, can be turned into an idol. And when this happens, money becomes mammon. On The View, held by the authors of this book. That's the book we're reading from. What should concern believers is not money, but improper attitudes towards money.
[00:09:52] Actually, that's the biblical position, too. You know, the root of all evil is not money. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Now, what does the Bible teach about wealth? Claims that the Bible condemns wealth or that God hates all the rich are clearly incompatible with the teachings of Jesus who saw nothing inherently evil in money, wealth, or private ownership. While Jesus certainly condemned materialism and the compulsive quest for wealth, he never condemned wealth per se. He didn't. Jesus did not see anything sinful in the ownership of houses, clothes and other economic goods. He had wealthy friends and followers. Luke 14 one He stayed in the homes of wealthy people. He ate at their tables. Luke Chapter 11. Jesus teachings stresses human obligations that cannot be fulfilled unless one first has certain financial resources. For example, biblical passages that oblige believers to use their resources for God's purposes presuppose the legitimacy of private ownership. Jesus taught that children have an obligation to care for their parents and that his followers ought to be generous in their support of worthy causes. It is difficult to fulfill such obligations unless one has certain financial resources. When Jesus did call on people to renounce their possessions, his statements reflected special conditions. For example, he made this demand in a situation where people had made their possessions into a god. Luke, Chapter 18. Instead of condemning wealth, then Jesus teaching offered an important perspective on how people living in materialistic surroundings should view the material world. What he condemned, what Jesus condemned was not wealth per say, but the improper acquisition and improper use of wealth. Every Christian, rich or poor needs to recognize that whatever he or she possesses is theirs temporarily as a steward under God.
[00:11:56] Wealth that is accumulated dishonestly or that becomes a controlling principle in one's life falls under God's judgment. Wealth resulting from honest labor and wise investment. Wealth that is handled by people who recognize their role as stewards under God does not. Come under God's judgment. Now notice Chapter eight. What does economics have to do with our relationship with God? Here's the preaching material, and I've already hinted at this. What I do is talk about the subjective theory of economic value and those personal scales of values that we all have. But let's look at the bottom of page 68. Now, this, too, appears in a somewhat different form, I guess, in poverty and wealth. What causes a person's subjective scale of values to change? That is what happens internally to a man or woman. That makes them turn their backs upon something that they used to rank highest in their personal scale of values. And it drops out of the top ten or top 20 or, you know. Well, one of the things that can change is change these scales of values is religious conversion. Now, let me start reading to illustrate this. Let us imagine a person who realizes he is making bad choices in his life. Perhaps he even knows that his choices are morally wrong. A major part of this person's problem is that his personal scale of values is skewed. Remember that people will always choose the option that ranks highest in their personal scale of values. I'm now on page 69. If that person wants to change his or her conduct, the first thing that must occur is for there to be a major upheaval in his scale of values. But what if we lack the power or ability to change our scale of values? We have reached a point where an important element of the Christian faith becomes very relevant to our discussion of economics and some of life's most important matters.
[00:14:08] There are times when the only thing that can change a person's scale of values and thus lead to a dramatic change in the way that person lives his or her life is a religious conversion. Now, I've told you that every member of the House and Senate is going to get a copy of this book. Of course, many are not going to read even one sentence. You know, if we could just get a lot of those guys to get to page 68 or 69, let me tell you who else is going to get a free copy of this book. A lot of people who are into Austrian economics, but who are secularists, they're going to like the first half of this book, and all of a sudden they're going to find themselves hearing the gospel, hearing the gospel based or predicated upon the assumptions of Austrian economics. But I'm suggesting here, as we pray a little bit, that maybe some people who have, you know, a very arrogant kind of way have said, well, I don't need that religious stuff. All I need is economic theory. Now, the New Testament tells us about a man named Saul. The most important thing and small scale of values was persecuting and killing Christians. Then, quite unexpectedly, Saul of Tarsus met the risen Christ and his life was forever changed. The story of this conversion, this transformation that forever altered Saul scale of values is told in chapter nine of the Book of Acts. After his conversion, Saul's name was changed to Paul choices, commitments and duties that existed nowhere in the preferences of Saul of Tarsus suddenly zoomed to the top of the value scale of the new man. Paul. This is the sort of thing that happens to men and women who have a genuine conversion experience with the living Christ.
[00:16:04] Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Your prayers and financial support enable us to provide a biblical and theological education that all people around the world can access. Blessings. As you continue to study and live out your faith and as you grow in your relationship with the Lord.