apostasy, biblical prosperity, biblical scholarship, christianity, church, faith, false doctrine, God's promises, God's will, God's Word, grace, Jesus Christ, money, poverty, prosperity, religion, theology, wealth
One of the common objections raised against the prosperity message is that Jesus, as our perfect earthly Example, and His disciples were all poor folks who didn’t have two shekels to rub together. This article will hopefully put that myth out of our misery once and for all.
One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Rodney Stark, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor University and Co-director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He is one of the foremost authorities on church history as well as its impact on history and modern society, exploring how Christianity was crucial to the development of Western Civilization, why non-Christian religious/philosophical systems lacked the ideological framework to achieve similar developmental inroads, and debunking many myths concerning church history in general.
One of my earlier articles here at Miscellaneous Ramblings entitled The Rise of Christianity deals with facts presented in his book by the same title and their implications for modern-day believers. That book covers the timeframe starting with Christ’s resurrection and ending with Emperor Constantine in the 3rd century.
In his sequel to that book, The Triumph of Christianity, Stark expands his timeframe to include the era leading up to Jesus, followed by His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection, and what followed during the ensuing millennia up until today.
One of the chapters I found fascinating in this book debunks traditional claims that Jesus and His disciples were financially impoverished. While Word of Faith (WoF) preachers have been proclaiming that fact literally for over two decades, Stark — a professor at a Baptist university — can be considered something of a neutral party in the controversy over the health and wealth gospel, having no doctrinal axes to grind one way or the other. We will examine his assertions, citing references, and you can see for yourself. Rather than trying to reword and summarize what he wrote, I’ll just quote him directly and let him speak for himself.
Let’s get started!