The Bible has a lot to say about money. And pastors are often greeted with a sincere question: “I certainly understand that loving our neighbors well requires resources, but didn’t Jesus caution us about wealth?” What is the answer?
By Tom Nelson, The Gospel Coalition
Throughout the history of the church, there have been two prominent and diverging views of wealth. One view insists that material wealth and wealth creation are intrinsically corrupting, and therefore must be avoided at all costs.
The other view contends that material wealth and wealth creation are essentially good, and are part of our creation design and cultural mandate. Taken too far, this can lead to the belief that God blesses his true followers with health and wealth.
We can learn from both.
Underlying many manifestations of the poverty gospel is a contemporary form of gnosticism, which devalues the true goodness of the material world. The poverty gospel often fuels a blinding, pietistic spiritual pride that asserts the greater the material poverty, the more spiritual the person. Inherent in this distorted biblical teaching is the idea that material poverty brings spiritual riches, and material abundance inevitably brings spiritual poverty.
Proponents of the poverty gospel are right to remind us of many biblical texts that speak to the sizable dangers that accompany increasing material wealth. They also rightly call an increasingly affluent Western Church to greater material generosity and deeper sacrificial living (see Matthew 6:24; 19:16-30; 1 Timothy 6:7–8; Hebrews 13:5).