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Why Does the Bible say “The Lord Sends Poverty and Wealth”?
When the Lord miraculously helped an Israelite woman named Hannah to bear a child, she praised Him in a prayer that is recorded in 1 Samuel 2. It says, among other things: “The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.” (v. 7) Like basically every Bible verse ever, it has often been taken out of context to be used as a proof text for people’s personal views. In this case, it has been argued that 1 Sam 2 divinely sanctions the poverty of the poor and the wealth of the rich, as well as promoting fatalism. I’ve heard several times “It’s not wrong to be rich, it says that the Lord sends wealth”, and sometimes also “It’s useless to fight poverty, it says that the Lord sends it.”
Here’s a radical idea: Let’s look at the context! Hannah says in verses 4 and 5: “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.”
Thus, Hannah argues that there is a transition of fairness at work, where the first will be last and the last will be first. And who’s responsible for this?
Why You Cannot Be Cessationist and Claim to Restore the Biblical Church at the Same Time
In this video, I present my chapter “Charismatic Anabaptism: Combining Signs and Wonders with Peace and Justice”, which is included in the new anthology A Living Alternative. In the chapter I argue that Christians should use the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to promote nonviolence and economic equality. To defend this thesis, I use the Bible, church history as well as modern testimonies.
The church historical part can be a bit mind-blowing to some – not many Anabaptists know that their movement initially was very charismatic, with an emphasis on prophetic visions, healing and miracles. Likewise, most Pentecostals and charismatics are unaware of that the early Pentecostals were pacifists and criticised capitalism. Even though they are hardly connected historically, early Anabaptism and early Pentecostalism were extremely similar, which I interpret as the work of the Holy Spirit, whom both movements wanted to be influenced by.
Both Anabaptism and Pentecostalism are restorationist, that is, they want to restore the New Testament church. Now, Calvinism and Lutheranism – Protestant movements that also originated during the 16th century reformation just like Anabaptism, that were far more positive to violence, economic inequality and pesecution than the Anabaptists – also argued that they restored the Biblical church, basing their theology on “Scripture alone” instead of relying on Catholic unbiblical tradition. (more…)
Clever Christian Comics
I really appreciate a lot of Adam Ford’s comics. Myself being an (nowadays somewhat inactive) comic drawer, I love the medium and I think Adam’s message is Gospel-centered, radical and thought-provoking. I don’t agree with everything, he is clearly Calvinist, but I love his zeal for truth and taking Jesus seriously. Now here are some comics!