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Thursday, May 30, 2013

E. W. Jackson: Give to the rich - even if the Bible says to give to the poor

File:Dr. Hutton's Church on Second Avenue, from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views crop.jpg
St. George's Episcopal Church
There really is nothing new under the sun, just as Ecclesiastes promises.  But this one takes the cake.  In fact, Jackson would like for you all to eat cake since you have no bread.  The Prosperity Gospel is going thud in the same way the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch made his brands distasteful to anyone with a heart.  Some of the "cool kids with lots of friends" have a heart.  Look at all of the musicians and actors who support charitable causes.  Let's break down what's wrong with Jackson and send him some serious prayer since his "new" concept of "upward giving" sounds just like owing your soul to the company store.  The poor live in company houses so they aren't paid much, are paid only in a scrip that only can be used at the company store with excessively high prices.

Here are some excepts from Jackson’s 2008 book "Ten Commandments To An Extraordinary Life."  I don't really know what Ten Commandments he's been reading.  The Bible I read says differently.
“One of the common mistakes made by those who have a heart is to assume that the only appropriate giving is downward, i.e. to the poor. While giving to the poor is important, the most powerful giving for wealth building is upward giving.” (page 177)

“Money is not evil, nor does it make people evil. Money magnifies the character of an individual. It gives you more opportunity to be who you really are. God is the creator of silver and gold. He has nothing against money, in fact he values it.” (page 172)

If anything, Jesus would ask which you love more - money or salvation - and He would make you choose.  The "Prosperity Gospel" is a dangerous teaching for it makes it seem that those who are not wealthy just don't believe enough.  As we know, even the wealthy are subject to the whims of the stock market or real estate values.  Donald Trump has gained and lost billions.  And when he lost his money, he lost his friends.  When he regained his wealth he did not forgive those people who turned their backs on him unless they were of the kind who encouraged him and said he would get it back together again.

Those who have are often in a battle to have more, not spread it around.  Few very wealthy families are like the Morgans who taught their children to save 20% of everything for charity.  Yes, that's right.  20%.  J. P. Morgan was a devout Episcopalian who worshipped at St. George's in Manhattan and served on the Vestry or as Warden.  He supported the career of H. T. Burleigh, composer, classical singer, and collector of spirituals, casting the deciding Vestry vote for Burleigh to be the soloist and baritone section leader at his all white church, stirring up quite a bit of controversy. 

Not every rich person is like this Morgan, who took seriously the charge to give to his church and to the needy.  He helped rebuild his church after a fire.  He left priceless art for public use when he died leaving it to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.You really can't take it with you.  Yes, the man had a head for business and investments, but he wouldn't have dreamed of asking poor to give to him.  He'd only ask other wealthy people to invest.  (PS  Non-Espicopalians - the Vestry is the elected administrative committee which helps run the church.)

Here's what the Bible actually says about wealth:

Mark 10 and Matthew 19 have the same story almost word for word.  This is from Mark 10
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  18“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’d ”  20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it ise to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

About half of Matthew 12 expounds on wealth not mattering in the Kingdom.  Maybe Jackson is talking about the Parable of the Minas (or Talents) in Matthew 19:11 where 3 servants were given money and the one who did not increase it had it taken away and given to the one who increased it the most?  At the end the King says, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away.'  I don't believe this should be applied in the way that Jackson wants it to.  In fact, just a few verses before Jesus commends Zaccheus the Tax Collector.
"Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

People will, as always, be led astray by those who tell them what they want to hear.  In this case, it's OK to chase after wealth.  But the overall message of the Bible isn't that.  And that's not what Jesus or any of the Apostles would tell you.

1 Timothy 6:6-10
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Food for thought, y'all.  This is also what I dislike about "The Law of Attraction" also known as "The Secret."  It teaches you that you have not because you ask not, something we know isn't actually true.  It teaches that people attract their own destiny - good or bad - and completely lacks any real compassion.  What will be said of you on Judgement Day?

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1 comment:

Robert Janeson said...

A nice blog, I will share this post on our church website