“The intermediate stage between socialism and capitalism is alcoholism.”-Norman Brenner
Is Capitalism a biblical system? Does everything really resolve around money? The biggest debate I have heard the past few years is which model is more in line with the bible: capitalism or socialism? Conservatives or liberals? Or in theological terms, Calvinist or Arminian.
When we get entrenched in these debates, we are beginning to lose focus. The Apostle Paul warned us about getting too involved in the doctrines of men. This turns the faith of Christ into a religion.
Paul only taught the doctrine of Christ: who He was as the promised Messiah and His Mission which was to build a spiritual kingdom. Anything we had to that becomes dogma and trivial at best.
You will recognize the dogma by the things that are most argued about among groups who profess to be Christian; i.e., trinity, rapture, eschatology, etc.
I’m still waiting to be called a heretic and a false prophet by the way. It’s been six years and makes me think I need to up my game.
Anyway, back to the original question: Is capitalism a biblical system? Does it have to be about money? What is material prosperity and is it really a sign of God’s favor?
The names of each political system are man-made, though the basic principles can have biblical values; i.e., thrift, enterprise, entrepreneurship, etc. They can also have drawbacks such as greed which cater to human weakness.
Likewise socialism values collectivism and working together (if you factor out the government intrusion). I mentioned in another blog post that the late GK Chesterton claimed socialism is the system that would save the world though it is the least desired.
This is because it goes against western values of individualism and involves giving up some basic rights; voluntarily of course out of love not at the hands of the government.
Does capitalism have to be about money?
Let us look at what is capital? Capital is more than just money. It is assets, or our resources. In a free market, or free enterprise system, we are free to use our resources to be innovative. No our motivation does not have to be money. This may sound surprising. Jesus even said you cannot serve God and money.
If your primary goal is to make money, you are no doubt idolizing wealth.
This is not to say you cannot become wealthy by serving others. Though it is not guaranteed. There are many people who became wealthy by adding value to society. There are still many others who were murdered for the value that they added to society.
I always find it amusing when I hear someone talk about “healing their relationship with money”. For starters, you cannot have a relationship with an inanimate object. That would be creating a graven image.
Money is a resource. The primary medium of exchange. You work to get what you feel you need or want. Many work too hard for stuff they think they need or want because they don’t know God or themselves and they end up chasing after the wind. To this, Proverbs 23:4 says “to not labor to get rich but have the wisdom to show restraint.”
Money is a man-made product. Kind of like religion. Money does not move the world. In Physics we learn that the world moves on energy. If you understand the law of attraction, you attract whatever energy you put out. Money is a tool to compensate what you are putting out.
This is why there is truth to the saying that if you do what you love then the money will follow. Because you have more energy. You may or may not have more money but this brings us to the last question.
What is material prosperity?
John Calvin was known for saying that material prosperity is a product of divine favor. This had led to the prosperity gospel thinking God’s people should be loaded. After all the patriarchs were. It is possible but I’m sure material prosperity meant something different 400 years ago.
Material prosperity means pertaining to the material world and not necessarily consumer goods. It can be clean air, pure food and drinking water as well as a decent living.
You may or may not get rich but you can have a prosperity mindset where you feel content and always have enough no matter what income level.
As far as the prosperity gospel preachers, I don’t necessarily think it is always about money as I listen to them but it is hard to take them seriously when they are mega millionaires. One of them is damn near a billionaire.
I can’t judge how they got their wealth or what they do with it but it does make you wonder if they are just in it for the money. Of course those that know them would know if they genuinely exhibit the fruits of the spirit.
I have heard Joyce Meyer’s testimony of abuse so I have a feeling she is genuine. If anyone reading this believes otherwise, feel free to comment. Keep in mind you will always hear bad reports about anyone. I google my own name sometimes just to see what dirty laundry comes up. I guess I am not big enough yet.
TD Jakes is alright. He is actually the poorest of the prosperity teachers being he has probably the largest church (somewhere up there).
In closing, since life is meaningless and our whole duty is to revere the Divine presence and observe His commandments (Solomon’s words and not mine), you are free to create whatever life the Spirit puts on your heart). When you are aligned with the divine plan, all of your needs fall into place. Use your resources, your capital, whether it makes you rich or not to serve others.
Personally I feel fulfilled in many ways by this blog that I don’t even have to pursue a career as a writer. I actually wonder if the hustle of selling articles might be a distraction to a higher calling. Then there is pissing people off with truth since it has a tendency to do that. It also doesn’t sell very well.