Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Money - Abrahamic Syndrome

A concept preached in many places and also believed amongst many members is what I term "Abrahamic Syndrome".

"And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." Gen 13:2

The Scriptures inform us that we will be blessed as we follow God. We see that the Nephites and those Israelites in the middle east prospered when they lived by God's commandments. By this logic a person that is righteous will be rich. But is this all the Scriptures give us on this subject? If it was that simple why wasn't Christ rich? And what of David who had to live in caves? And of Elijah who also lived in a cave? How rich was Joseph as a slave and in prison? And what of Jeremiah in a pit? Lehi and his family weren't rich in the wilderness. What do the Scriptures really teach on this subject? Jacob is a good place to begin this examination, as it is often quoted in support of the idea of seeking riches.

"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good--to cloth the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and afflicted." Jacob 2:18-19

A study of the book of Jacob will reveal that he was preaching to a hard hearted lot that weren't spiritually high at all. He is giving a really hard-hitting sermon on repentance. So to consider this doctrine that he is delivering as some kind of fulness of the gospel of Christ would be incorrect. But there are some things that can be learnt from these verses. He was speaking (note verse 12) AGAINST people being rich. And then he is saying that if you really HAVE to (ie you can't grasp the idea of all being equal) then at least seek them to do good.

Abrahamic Syndrome also existed amongst Jews at the time of Christ.

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?" Matt 19:24-25

Here Christ has presented that it is extremely difficult for a rich man to be saved. His apostles response to this was to ask the question that if a rich man has such difficulty being saved, then who can be saved? A plain declaration that they believed that the rich were far more likely to be saved, because they are favoured of God with riches - Abrahamic Syndrome. Christ, however, is teaching quite the opposite.

So what of Abraham etc?

This requires a new set of thinking. Abraham didn't regard the things he had as his. He regarded them as belonging to God. He was just a steward. He used them to demonstrate to those around that blessings come from following God. His lifestyle was not above his fellows. His tent would be as the tent of all those following him, unless he used it for entertaining guests. Even then his heart was not upon it or obtaining riches. His heart was on God. He observed the principle of consecration. It was like a lot of stuff just sitting there. This is totally different from people WANTING to be rich and have that which is above their brother.

In the quoted story in Matthew chapter 19 Christ tells the rich man that if he wants to be saved, to give ALL he has to the poor. Plainly Christ is not promoting riches. Christ was born in a barn thing. Doesn't that say it all?

"Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." Prov 30:7-9

Some wise points from Solomon.

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