Cover image for The good of affluence : seeking God in a culture of wealth
The good of affluence : seeking God in a culture of wealth
Schneider, John R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, MI : W.B. Eerdmans, 2002.
Physical Description:
x, 233 pages ; 23 cm
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BR115.W4 S37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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How should Christians live in a material world? Should personal guilt accompany financial success ? Is wealth incompatible with true Christianity? In "The Good of Affluence John R. Schneider reopens the debate over the proper Christian attitude toward money, arguing, ultimately, that Scripture does indeed provide support for the responsible possession of wealth.

This is a provocative book of Christian theology, written to help people seeking God in a culture that has grown from modern capitalism. By comparing classic Christian teaching on wealth with the realities of our modern economic world, Schneider challenges the common presumption that material affluence is inherently bad. Careful interpretation of Scripture narratives -- creation, exodus, exile, and more -- also shows that abundance is the condition that God envisions for all human beings and that faithful persons of wealth are part of this plan.

Schneider believes that the wealth-as-blessing themes of the Old Testament arenot to be spiritualized and do not run contrary to New Testament teachings but provide exactly the frame of reference for the incarnate identity, life, and teaching of Jesus, who came to make real the messianic feast, both in this age and in the age to come. Through insightful engagement with the biblical text Schneider overturns some of the most cherished and unquestioned assumptions of influential Christian writers (particularly Ronald Sider) on modern capitalist affluence. Yet Schneider's message is also finely balanced with the need for responsible Christian living. He offers rich Christians biblical affirmation but also challenges them to a life shaped by an uncommon sense ofstewardship and compassion.

Incisive, thought-provoking, and biblically grounded, "The Good of Affluence is a superb resource for anyone -- students, professors, businesspeople, general readers, discussion groups -- wishing to g

Author Notes

John R. Schneider is professor of religion and theology at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, he was formerly professor of religious studies at Westmont College in California. He has written widely on the topic of Christianity and wealth

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This substantially revised edition of Schneider's earlier book Godly Materialism: Rethinking Money and Possessions is more scholarly and theological than the earlier title, but it retains the same thesis: there is a biblical precedent for the responsible ownership of wealth. He cautions, however, that "human history has never before known circumstances in which entire societies were affluent" and not just individuals, so such biblical support needs to be tempered with careful reflection about how Christians can seek God in a full-blown capitalist society. Schneider is unabashed in his admiration for capitalism, which he regards as uniquely suited to ensure that all of God's people enjoy prosperity. However, even readers who disagree with him on this point can learn much from his overall position, which lies between the "prosperity theologians," who believe that God blesses the faithful with material wealth, and the "radical Christians" (e.g., Tony Campolo and Ron Sider), who view individual wealth as almost entirely negative. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introduction: Seeking God in a Culture of Wealthp. 1
1. The "New" Culture of Capitalismp. 13
2. Genesis: The Cosmic Vision of Delightp. 41
3. The Exodus: Land of Liberation and Delightp. 65
4. The Prophets and Wisdom: Economic Life Is Eternal Lifep. 90
5. The Incarnation and Economic Identityp. 116
6. The Radical Jesus as the Lord of Delightp. 139
7. Parables of Affluencep. 167
8. Narratives of Wealth in the Early Churchp. 193
Epilogue: Being Affluent in a World of Povertyp. 211
Bibliographyp. 221
Index of Namesp. 228
Index of Scripture Referencesp. 231