Monday, January 17, 2011

Poverty and Wealth: The Christian Debate Over Capitalism

Here's a good, introductory resource:


  1. I think the main point that is missed in this debate is to define what group of the “poor” are the Scriptures talking about. I believe when you look closely at the Scriptures it is, in just about in all cases, speaking of the poor within the church, and society at large. This is summed in the Scriptural admonition “… let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”( Gal. 6:10). And this is not restricted to those of your local body, but doing good to the entire “family of believers”. Paul demonstrated this concerned when he had all the churches taking a collection for the Jerusalem church, and not for the culture at large. So all those churches that spend large amounts of money on helping the unbelieving culture I wonder if they ever seek out churches or brothers and sisters in need from the family of believers.

  2. Another point to note is that although the Christian is to 'help the poor', Jesus clearly said that the poor we would always have with us; so no permanent solution exists apart from God's intervention.

    Likewise, though we are to 'help the poor' does not mean Christianity is automatically anti-wealth. The axiom that the worker deserves his wages, implies the harder one works, the more one is entitled to one's wages. (This is not to say, that obtaining wealth for the sake of wealth at the expense of the welfare of others, is permissible.)

    Finally, of all the ways we can help the 'poor', relieving poverty itself is subordinate to relieving spiritual poverty, since 'poverty' is a temporal, not an eternal condition.

  3. " ... speaking of the poor within the church, and society at large ..."

    should be

    "... speaking of the poor within the church, and *NOT* society at large..."

  4. Steve,

    I noticed that Nash has written a number of works on social and economic theories. Is there any particuliar one that you would recommend ahead of the others?

  5. The one I just plugged is a good place to start. He also edited a volume on liberation theology, with various contributors.