Sell All or Shut Up

“And a man came up to Jesus, and said: “Teacher, what good thing must I do to obtain Immortal life?” “Why ask me about goodness?” answered Jesus. “There is but One who is good. If you want to enter the Life, keep the commandments.” “What commandments?” asked the man. “These,” answered Jesus:–“‘Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not say what is false about others. Honour thy father and thy mother.’ And ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thou dost thyself.” “I have observed all these,” said the young man. “What is still wanting in me?” “If you wish to be perfect,” answered Jesus, “go and sell your property, and give to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; then come and follow me.” On hearing these words, the young man went away distressed, for he had great possessions. At this, Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you that a rich man will find it hard to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! I say again, it is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” On hearing this, the disciples exclaimed in great astonishment: “Who then can possibly be saved?” But Jesus looked at them, and said: “With men this is impossible, but with God everything is possible.” Then Peter turned and said to Jesus: “But we–we left everything, and followed you; what, then, shall we have?” “I tell you,” answered Jesus, “that at the New Creation, ‘when the Son of Man takes his seat on his throne of glory,’ you who followed me shall be seated upon twelve thrones, as judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. Every one who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or land, on account of my Name, will receive many times as much, and will ‘gain Immortal Life.’ But many who are first now will then be last, and those who are last will be first.” (Matthew 19:16-30)

One of the strange things about Christianity–and the current dispute between TEC and the Global South is the perfect illustration–is the fact that the most "socially conscious" churches tend to have the wealthiest congregations.  TEC, in fact, has made a career out of attracting such people.

But when it comes to actually meeting people of lesser means on their own level, TEC cannot bring itself to do this, even when the Scriptures make it clear that the Global South is in the right about the real meaning of the Word of God.

We have gone down this road before but two things bear repeating:

  1. Wealthy congregations have the means to right many of the inequities of the world, but they will not do it.  It is more convenient for them to get the government (or the UN, through the MDG’s.) to solve the problem for them.
  2. As long as they have wealth they will not part with, they are part of the problem, not part of the solution, at least from the "zero-sum" view that dominates the Left.

Evangelical churches have been criticised for their obsession with tithing and giving.  People say that "tithing is Old Testament."  But the above scripture shows what the New Testament standard might look like.  In this perspective 10% is the easy way out.

We have had enough of wealthy churches such as the TEC whining about the "social injustices" of the world while they not only continue living as they do but pander to others to "join the club."  If the current Presiding Bishop really wants to turn the tables on the Global South, she should direct her congregants to sell all as Jesus commanded the rich young ruler.

It’s time to sell all or shut up.

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