Wealth and the City

Quote One:

The word society comes from socius, an associate. A society is a family group in some sense, a community of people who feel some kinship. Historically, the binding tie in a society is a common faith, and obedience to the law of that faith. All who deny that faith and law have been in the past called outlaws.

The locale of a society has historically been a city, not the city as a civil structure but the city as a faith center. In the ancient world, in the “middle ages,” in the Puritan village, and elsewhere, the center of the city has been the temple, cathedral, or church.

The city as the faith center for an area has thus also been the wealth center. A people’s life, wealth, and faith are closely linked. As our Lord says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). If a people’s treasure is their faith and in society of faith, then their hearts and their material wealth will be there also, in the same locale.

For ages, that center of faith, society, and wealth was also walled, to protect the concentration of treasures in the forms of faith, lives, society, and material wealth. The walled city was thus a symbol of a common faith and life, and also of security. (When the Huguenots lost their walled cities, it was the beginning of the end for them.) At the same time, the walled city became a target for every enemy, and every thief. The strength and wealth of the city attracted the attention of the lawless.

Wealth and the City
By R. J. Rushdoony
Chalcedon Position Paper No. 28, January 1982

Quote Two:

A recent tweet from Desiring God stated that not one of the 112 references to being blessed in the New Testament “is connected to material prosperity”:

desiring-god-tweet-material-prosperity-300x250.jpg

This tweet, its potential implications, and some of the baggage that goes along with it bring up a topic we need to address in a comprehensive manner: the connection between blessing and material prosperity. This is a topic that purveyors of both the prosperity gospel and of the poverty gospel frequently get wrong.

For the purposes of this article, we will examine the connection between blessing and material prosperity in the New Testament. Whether the good folks at Desiring God agree with what I’m about to write, let’s first draw out a few of the conclusions which some may infer from the tweet:

* Old Testament teaching on the connection between blessing and material prosperity is no longer valid.

* The Old Testament blessings were material whereas New Testament blessings are immaterial.

* In the New Testament, whatever connection was in place between blessing and material prosperity has changed. Now in the New Covenant, blessing is not connected to material prosperity, or the connection is severely minimized and relatively unimportant.

* We should not seek material prosperity in the New Covenant or consider it a blessing to be desired.

But is any of this really true? Does the New Testament contain no continuing validation of the connection between blessing and material prosperity? If so, does this rescind Old Testament teaching? If it doesn’t, what do we do with all that Old Testament teaching? Does New Testament teaching actually go so far as to abrogate the connection between blessing and material prosperity for all times? Or even further, should Christians see material prosperity as a curse to be avoided as it ties us to the things of this world and distracts us from our heavenly destination?

These are the questions we will explore.

What happened to material prosperity in the New Testament? (Part 1)
by Jordan Wilson

Quote Three:

At the end of the day, what we see in the New Testament is a wealth and money ethic which is the same as in the Old Testament. The only difference is that all the New Testament exhortations about wealth were written during a brief historical period of intense persecution, martyrdom, and imminent apocalypse. But this period was prophetic and is now long-since past.

Both the poverty and the prosperity “gospels” are deviations from what the Bible teaches. If we fail to account for the historical context in which the New Testament was written, we do so at our own loss. There is much more that still applies, and we must choose to use it either to our profit or our peril.

Read more about Bible’s worldview and optimistic outlook in David Chilton, Paradise Restored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion.

Material Prosperity in the New Testament: The Prophetic Reality (Part 2)
by Jordan Wilson

Summary

God expects His people to win, in time and on earth, as well as in the afterlife.

To be a blessing includes generating wealth, and being generous with wealth.

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