When the concept of money was not yet created, the procedures of obtaining material products often involved their exchange, creating banter of exchanging the unneeded goods for wanted ones. The creation of money changed not only the process of obtaining material belongings but the nature of human beings. The literature review is directed toward a crucial topic not only in modern Christianity but affecting all times of the religious theology, as money influenced people of all ages. The review will include several themes regarding money, starting with the importance of money on the path of Jesus. The subsequent phases of the review will address the virtues of Christianity, and topics of wealth and poverty will be explored. Further, the statement about how a person could outgive God will be discussed, followed by ethics and the Biblical view on money.
The concept of money has existed during the life of Jesus and the creation of Christianity, and the religion comprehensively addresses the problem. According to Liberman, Christianity often considers wealth and money to be an illusion that may distract individuals from obtaining spiritual peace and bind them to this material world (9). He found that regarding preventing the challenges regarding money and guiding people on its management, Bible contains almost 2400 verses on the topic of money. Further, over 50 verses emphasize the importance of sharing wealth with those in need (9). The point of Liberman could be considered solid and valid, as money is a manipulative power that has been present for a long time, and Bible addressed it due to its dangers.
From a mere symbol of material exchange, money became the source of power that granted a purpose to one’s life. According to King, money has contributed significantly to the development of religious theology and the world, as it has opened a whole new dimension for humans (204). The person who possessed money became more authoritative, acquiring more respect and possibilities than others. King makes a strong point, stating that the theology of religion is affected by the presence of money (204). Simonsson points out that the possession of money and its impact on the owner could seem a primary theme (131). However, the development of the financial sector has broadened themes in Christian theology regarding money due to the creation of different forms of credit and loans (131). The point of Simonsson toward the topic of money in Christianity may be more comprehensive than sole possession of tremendous wealth may be arguable.
In the sector of wealth and finances, Christianity teaches about poverty and its aspects. The topic of poverty could be associated with a study conducted by Heimann that explores the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi, who is often referred to as a brother of Christ for his Christian lifestyle and crucifixion (408). He found the path of the Franciscan Order, which values poverty as a positive matter in Christianity (408). According to Francis, poverty could increase people’s spirituality and devotion to God, as they are not bound by material possessions in this world (408). Moreover, Morrison states that the poverty in the Franciscan order of Christianity improves humanity by implementing the emphatic approach. Poverty could unite people and develop a sense of brotherhood that is based on sharing (106). Her study concludes that people who do not spend their lives accumulating wealth could be closer to God, as material belongings could not be taken to the afterlife.
In contrast, poverty could be a negative notion in Christianity and its regular practice. The study by Ogueche and his peers points out that the regular exercise of Christianity may have been complicated due to the poverty of the economy and local churches (168). The high poverty level in the Christian community has led to other criminal activities, and people may have begun to lose their spirituality. Moreover, churches could struggle to distribute the word of Jesus due to extreme poverty (168). Moreover, Johnson and Zurlo identified the presence of the Christian teaching called “prosperity gospel” may be directed toward countering the general issue of poverty in Christianity (6). The teaching considers poverty to be a challenging aspect that could negatively impact following the path of Christ and preaching the gospel of salvation (6). They concluded that severe poverty could have a more negative impact on Christians than positive since it may cause additional difficulties.
The topic of wealth and richness has been a controversial theme to debate due to various angles of the notion. On the one hand, Lauterbach and Vahakangas thought that wealth could be an obstacle in Christianity, as it may lead to arrogance and create a sense of superiority above others (112). However, Noble thinks that money could be a positive aspect of Christianity if appropriately managed (223). Wealthy Christians may commit various good deeds such as helping fellow Christians in need, providing Churches with resources, and contributing to improving a spiritual society (223). In addition, Lazarus concluded that people who follow the path of God and can adequately manage their funds might extensively contribute to their society while staying spiritual (15). Bible often refers to people’s financial prosperity and emphasizes the importance of this matter (15). Lazarus states that being wealthy is a part of being Christian could be inaccurate, but religion does not prohibit the acquisition of wealth as long as it is managed correctly.
The Christian path of living has a phase that emphasizes that people cannot outgive the Lord. Wesley explores that it is widely believed that Jesus Christ always provides more than he demands, and this notion addresses not only the material dimension but the spiritual (7). The positive payback from God could come in different ways, not only in material fortune but as in peace of mind and human joy. Montgomery investigates the case of the pastor who always served Christ, preached the gospel as human salvation, and followed the Bible for addressing any situation, claiming that God cannot be outgiven in any context (32). Even after devoting his whole life to Christianity, the pastor understood that God provided him with more blessings than his devotion to the spirituality and holy Bible (32). The researches on these themes indicate that the statement “God cannot be outgiven” is true in Christianity.
In addition, Wilson explores the life of a person with tremendous wealth and status and could explore the topic of outgiving God (284). The person contributed to society by regularly donating and providing resources to churches and people. However, the person has realized that God cannot be outgiven by generosity or another noble treat (284). The more generous he was, the more God provided him in different aspects (284). Wilson’s study could be concluded with the statement that God cannot be outgiven in Christianity which could be true since there are stories of people who tried and failed by receiving even more blessings from Christ.
The Bible addresses money in various aspects and explains Christianity’s model of view toward money. Tang has found that the issue with money explored in the Bible is its perception as the mean of power and satisfaction (150). Money could bind a person to physical belongings in this world. As a result, various negative impacts may be imposed on a person because of addictiveness to money (150). His study could be concluded that money may enslave a person, and Bible warns people not to be enslaved by material objects in this world.
The book “Messenger” explains that the negative impact of money is its possible corruption of the minds of the weak, making them serve money and commit any actions to obtain it (6). Bible points out that Christians should serve God only, not the money (6). Mazokopakis states that money and wealth could confuse the minds, as shown in the example of Ananias, an early Christian of Jerusalem (1). The Bible explores his deeds, and Ananias kept the part of the money that he was supposed to give entirely. His action was assessed as trying to deceive God, as money misled him (1). Furthermore, Keller states that Bible urges us to perceive money as something that does not belong to us; it belongs to God (2). As a result, it should be treated with incredible generosity and spent on the path of Christ (2). Although money could be dangerous as it could corrupt the minds, Keller’s thought could be explained as the Holy Bible states that it should be appropriately managed.
Movsesian reviewed the ethical considerations of the Bible on the theme of money and found that they may differ (454). The Holy Bible acknowledges the power of money and states that wealth could solve all the problems in the material world. Moreover, it explores the power obtained by money, not in acquiring material belongings but in the status, it grants to the owner (454). Further, Macdonald states that money’s power could grant a person false confidence and a sense of inviolability (2). The Bible states that money is the core of evil deeds and emphasizes that it may trigger unethical outcomes (2). In his following study, Macdonald inspects the view of the Bible on money as a negative aspect that could prove itself even today (1). Most people from the United States and the United Kingdom believe that money is the cause of unethical commitments. Moreover, it is believed that the life of Christians would be full of joy and less stressful if money were not created, as it corrupted many people’s minds (1). Although Bible acknowledges the possible power granted by money, it refers to money as a trigger of negative commitments, concludes Macdonald.
The creation of money has opened a new dimension for people, a new world full of potential and dangers. One of the core fundaments of the Holy Bible is the spirituality of people, and money could transform this notion, chaining people to this material world and granting them a false sense of power and status. Money is referred to as a source of evil in the Bible, and the main reason is the danger associated with wealth’s negative impact on a person’s perception of life. The illusion caused by money may grant a person a sense of being capable of anything, leading to unethical decisions and actions committed in a state of intoxication. Despite the negative aspects of money described in the Bible, the book of salvation provides guidelines on handling this matter. The primary advice is the tremendous generosity of people, Christians should perceive money as the creation of God, and wealth only belongs to the creator. Money in Christianity is a dangerous matter, which requires careful and proper management to stay on the path of Christ.
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