Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hard Sayings - "Sell all your possessions"

16 And behold, one came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" 17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." 18 He said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property.

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 "And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" 26 And looking upon them Jesus said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:16-26).
Of course it's a "hard saying". Even the disciples were baffled. But the part I want to look at is verse 21. Jesus said, "Sell your possessions and give to the poor." "Yeah, yeah," you might counter, "but Jesus was only talking to this guy. He didn't say it to everyone." Oh?
"Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:33-34).

"No one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions" (Luke 14:33).
Oops! So it isn't just to the rich young ruler. In fact, it's an imperative without which we cannot be His disciple.

What does He mean? Well, let's take it at face value (always a good idea if possible). It would appear as if He is commanding us to sell all we have. What would that mean? Well if "sell all your possessions" is taken purely literally, then I would need to sell off this computer, get rid of the house, the car, the furniture, stove, refrigerator, etc., my clothing, anything I possess. If this is the case, then the command is to become a homeless person with nothing of your own. Well, perhaps you could rent a place, but it couldn't have any furnishings or the like. Is this the command? Maybe. Jesus had no place of His own. And others have taken it quite literally. The first disciples appeared to do so. Some monks have taken vows of poverty. Saint Antony of the Egyptian Desert took it quite at face value, sold everything, and went to live in the desert. It was these passages that started the Monasticism movement.

Others suggest a different understanding. One site's interpretation says, "Jesus does want us to ask this question: where does my ultimate loyalty lie?" Carl Rohlfs, in a sermon preached in the University United Methodist Church says, "He does not say 'Sell ALL your possessions'; just 'sell your possessions.' Sell those things available for sale. Don’t hang the weight of excess wealth and accumulation as the millstone holding you down." Tracy Lesan of the Berean Bible Society suggests that the command was for a particular time, and that God isn't doing that anymore.

We are at an impasse here. If we are to take the Bible at face value, then nothing less than abject poverty is the command for all Christians anywhere. We need to sell everything we own or we aren't "Bible-believing Christians". On the other hand, there are rational approaches to these passages that suggest that "sell all your possessions" was not really in mind here at all, and it is not necessary to do so.

Allow me a few observations. First, what is in view? Is it God's intention that His own be people of poverty? I don't think so. What is His intention? "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:34). The goal isn't poverty, but rather love. What do you love? If it is your possessions, you're in trouble. Clearly the problem with the rich, young ruler was an inordinate love for his possessions. That's why Jesus said it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom.

Second, consider the parallel:
34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of Me" (Matt. 10:34-38).
It seems quite obvious that Jesus isn't commanding us to hate our families, or this would contradict too many other Scriptures. What He is saying is that there will be a conflict between earthly loves and a heart for God. What He is saying is that love for Him must clearly outweigh love for even family. In like manner, the point of the command to "sell possessions" isn't poverty, but the question of "Where is your heart?"

Third, note that it is true that only one passage mentions "all", and that one doesn't say to sell all, but to "give up". The ESV says "renounce". This doesn't mean "divest yourself", but "surrender ownership". When you hear yourself say, "That's mine", you haven't surrendered ownership.

Finally, notice the first century church. According to Acts, they "were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need" (Acts 2:45). Some have said, "See? Sell all you have! They did." But this isn't an accurate representation. First, it wasn't compulsory; it was voluntary. Second, we have the example of Ananias and Sapphira. In their example, they sold what they had, then lied about the price. What did Peter tell them? "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?" (Acts 5:4). You see, keeping the property, or even retaining part of the price was not a sin. Their sin was not in withholding something for themselves, but in lying about it. So Peter was not mandating that they sell all they possessed. That was not required.

On one hand, it appears to be a mandate for all Christians to live in abject poverty. On the other hand, there appears to be viable alternatives to this "face value" concept. Which is right? I'll leave that up to you. One thing that is inescapable here. Jesus called for radical disciples who would cling to nothing here on Earth and who would follow Him at all costs. This isn't the vision of the American Christian. We tend to be comfortable, accumulating wealth if possible, certainly not giving to charity as we could and should. Indeed, we worship comfort. Perhaps Jesus didn't mean a literal "sell everything", but He unavoidably commanded that we should not be materialists ... and for the most part, we are.

107 comments:

Scott Arnold said...

GREAT post Stan. Personally, I believe it comes down to having a heart for God and not "clinging" to things here on Earth as you suggest.

And no, it's not the vision of the "American Christian" - nor do I live up to this Godly standard. Too often we get caught up in our culture, worldly matters, materialism, etc. We look at "sell all your possessions," and say to ourselves, "IMPOSSIBLE!" But sadly by rejecting this out of hand we also deny the broader command.

Thanks and Blessings,
Scott

Julianne said...

How interesting I find this post. It seems to fit in with some things we have been learning as we go through the book of Luke at church on Sundays.

First, in Luke 9 we have the cost of discpleship and see the demands are tough. Does Christ really require we allow the dead to bury their own dead, etc? Of course that verse can be taken as spritually dead people burying the physically dead who were unsaved, BUT...the point being is Christ was and is excellent at discerning our EXCUSES for not making Him Lord of EVERYTHING. And He often requires us to give up anything that stands between Him being Lord in our life. What is your first love? What is your priority?

In the story you mentioned, a man wanted to save himself it appears with his good works...but Christ demanded MORE than he could give apart from His spirit within him. So he went away grieved.

The same thing in the parable of the good Samaritan. That was given to help that lawyer understand that he just CANNOT do it...love perfectly all the time in every way. When he tried to justify himself by asking who his neighbor was, then Christ made it clear it is your brother whom you despise. Can you perfectly love him too? So when Jesus asked this man who proved to be a neighbor and the man understood it was the one who showed mercy...Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same." Go and perfectly love all the time. The man should have humbled himself right then and admitted, "Lord, I cannot do it!" Then Jesus could have given him the grace and mercy he needed to be saved. Instead he wanted to be saved because of his own righteousness. How sad.

Everything in the earth rightfully belongs to the Lord. Anytime I permit ANYTHING to become "mine" and my "primary focus" I can expect the Lord to require me to surrender it to Him. I am called to be a good steward. These are His things given into my care. Am I using them as He desires? Am I willing to part with it for His sake and glory or that of my brethren, as in laying down "my" life for my brethren?

Very good food for thought today Stan. Thank you for blessing me with your continued sharing of the Word.

Blessings to you, Julianne

Steve said...

Why are you trying to twist something Jesus explicitly said, because it's inconvenient to your lifestyle?

Why do most Christians ignore something explicitly required of them and instead latch onto things that are either indirectly mentioned or not mentioned at all by Jesus. I'm thinking of homosexuality and abortion.

Stan said...

Steve, allow me an observation. You apparently own a computer, likely clothing, some mode of transportation, maybe some furniture (like a bed), maybe even a TV. I know of no one in America who owns nothing. So ... have you obeyed what you believe Jesus said ("Sell all your possessions") or are you steadfastly refusing to sell what you think you need to keep (you know, like that computer or the TV)? Are you twisting Jesus words by saying, "You must sell all your possessions ... but I won't"? If you genuinely believe that Jesus was making an explicit command here that all Christians ought to own absolutely nothing, why haven't you obeyed? Why do most people who believe that Jesus explicitly commanded pure poverty for believers ignore what is required of them and then complain about people who find other things about which to be concerned?

I offered an explanation, not intended to "twist" anything, but to make sense of it. You think I twisted it. Until you actually comply and sell everything you own, I will have to assume that you are either intentionally sinning or have twisted the words you see plainly yourself ... or maybe there is merit to my suggestion of what Jesus intended.

Steve said...

I'm not a Christian. I've wondered this my whole life. Why do most Christians ignore something explicit and concentrate on the implicit or invisible?

You changed that verse and made it much better than the way it was. I think it's a good thing to not be obsessed by material possessions, but not go crazy and sell everything like Jesus asks (yes everything). I like that you've changed it, but I'm wondering why you might still have views that you use the bible as justification for. Views that have far less biblical justification.

Stan said...

Steve: "I'm not a Christian."

That clears up a lot. (I read that back and it looks sarcastic. No sarcasm intended.) I do not expect people who are not Christians to live up to the standards that Christ gave, so I won't be expecting you to sell everything you own any time soon. You're safe.

I believe that the Bible is reasonable. I believe that it is understandable. (We have a term for it in, but I won't bother you with it.) So when I read "Sell all your possessions" or "Owe no man anything", I ask, "Is it reasonable?" First, it has to make sense with the Bible as a whole. Second, it has to make sense at all. Now, the vast majority of the Bible makes sense at face value (at least to me and most of the rest of us who read it). This one, taken at pure face value, does not. If it meant what it said at face value, I couldn't even own a Bible with which to learn that it told me not to own a Bible. Further, there are lots of passages that tell people how to manage what they own. If we aren't allowed to own things, how can we do that? Since I don't believe in contradictions, I make sense of it. So I made sense of this passage.

I take the Bible literally. By "literally" I don't necessarily mean "at face value". I mean "as written". So if it is poetry, I understand that poetry has certain characteristics that other writings don't. If it is hyperbole, I understand that there is a function of that form of speech that doesn't lend itself to pure face value. In other words, I read it like I would read anything else that is written -- as it is intended. I have yet to come across something, reading it that way, that is a genuine contradiction or that is irrational. Hard to fully explain? Sure. But not wrong or crazy.

If you've seen me write something that is from the Bible that violates the Bible, I want to know. I've been wrong in the past. I will be in the future. I want to get correct. But items like "marriage" and "homosexual behavior" are pretty clear in the Bible, so I don't understand why those are sticking points for people.

Stan said...

Oh, and to "anonymous" (not brave enough to put your name?), I don't post comments that are rude. My mother reads this stuff. Your comment won't be showing up here.

Steve said...

Hmmm. So despite the fact you see it as a contradiction, you say it's not a 'genuine' contradiction. Let's leave that point there, no point in arguing.

What I AM asking is why you're following the spirit of this passage and interpreting it?

You say things like homosexuality (and marriage) are pretty clear in the bible. But that's the thing! They're not as clear as these passages! From my understanding Jesus never explicitly condemned homosexuality and the only references in the new testament to homosexuals are references back to the old testament.

It's similar to abortion. I'm not saying abortion is right or wrong, but why do so many Christians use the bible to justify their position on this? I can't tell if you do, but if I were to assume, I'd say you believe it's asked for by God.

Stan said...

You're not using the word "contradiction" in the same sense I am. There is nothing in the text (nor anything in my explanation) that contradicts the Bible. You don't find this passage that says, "Sell everything" and another passage that says, "Buy everything you can buy."

So I AM following the spirit of this passage. Jesus was speaking in hyperbole. (After all, He owned clothing, didn't He?) I regard it as such.

This "Jesus never explicitly condemned homosexuality" is pretty popular, but, I'm sure you can see, pretty stupid. He never condemned bestiality, child pornography, or genocide, either. So ... it's all good, right? No, you and I would both agree (I hope) that "Jesus never explicitly condemned ..." is not a good way to determine right and wrong. The Bible, on the other hand, is not in the least unclear or silent on homosexuality. So I side with the Bible. It never mentions abortion, either, but I know of no way to argue that abortion is not murder and the Bible (and Jesus) is not unclear on murder.

(Note: Christians are not against abortion. Christians are against killing unborn children. If science could figure out a way to terminate a pregnancy while letting the child live, the whole abortion protest thing would go away.)

Steve said...

The truth is, it's easier to rationalise giving away all your possesions than it is to give a biblical condemnation of homosexuality or abortion. I'm not saying you can't somehow do it. But there are far fewer mental gymnastics involved in the possessions aspect.

If the three passages about selling possessions were about abortion I doubt they're be taken in "the spirit". Why would he be speaking in hyperbole? It's stated three times! Don't you think this might be important? I don't expect you to agree, because doing so would turn over your lifestyle.

If you want to take "the spirit" of the bible check out Exodus 21.22 and its view that abortion is not murder and/or that the unborn is not the same as a person. I don't agree with this, I think it's too blunt, but there it is, to be taken in spirit or ignored.

Stan said...

Steve,

If you would, please, give me the rationale that would suggest to a logical person that terminating the life of an unborn child is not murder. We even have it encoded in our law. The Laci and Conner's Law was enacted in 2004 and made the murder of a pregnant woman a double homicide. Now, a "homicide" requires the killing of a human being, so the law and science agree that an unborn child is a human being. Rant about abortion if you wish (not that you're ranting), but IT'S NOT ABOUT ABORTION. It's about murder. You may think that abortion is biblically questionable. You CANNOT think that murder is biblically questionable.

And homosexual behavior? Please. Opponents would like to argue that the Bible is vague on the subject. That argument requires a presupposition that the Bible is vague on the subject. It is not. God gave His unambivalent opinion: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death." The "put to death" part requires a theocracy that doesn't exist today, but God explained that in His view it was "a detestable act", "an abomination." The Bible confirms this in the New Testament when it says, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." It is not vague in the least when it claims, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." There is nothing vague here.

Steve: "I don't expect you to agree, because doing so would turn over your lifestyle."

Turn over my lifestyle? No. It would terminate any lifestyle. Tell me, in what possible lifestyle, one can own nothing. Is that possible anywhere on the planet? If humans have basic needs -- food, clothing, shelter -- and morality dictates they can own nothing, how can humans survive? Worse, it would terminate Christianity as a religion. You see if "moral" requires "own nothing" and Jesus owned something (like the clothes on His back), then Jesus wasn't moral and Christianity has no Savior. IT MAKES NO SENSE. That's why it's hyperbole.

But let me tell you the thing that boggles my mind. You, a self-professed non-Christian, think that it's a good idea to debate Scripture with me. You, who voluntarily admits that you don't agree with the Bible, have decided to argue with me about the reason, logic, the rationale of Scripture. In other words, you believe that Scripture is not right, but you want to argue with me about what it means? What sense does that make? Do you see that you're 1) assigning to me values I don't have ("You won't change because you don't want to turn over your lifestyle") while 2) assigning to Scripture values it doesn't have in your view? That, my friend, is irrational. As this discussion continues, it is becoming apparent that it is not your goal to come to any kind of an understanding, but simply to provide a dispute. Seriously ... is that really of some value to you?

Steve said...

The rationale is in the bible. I gave you the quote where the bible disagrees with the Laci and Conner's Law. I'm not giving rationales, I already said I think the quote's position is too extreme. So you refute a bible quote with a secular law? We're making some progress!

However, it reads like you just skimmed over the last paragraph. I didn't suggest that it isn't murder, I said the bible suggests it isn't murder. What I am saying is that the quote from the bible is saying that abortion might be bad but it isn't murder.

I completely agree. The bible IS NOT VAGUE on homosexual behavior. I'm saying it's more vague than the quotes about possessions. The quotes about possessions are even attributed to Jesus. I think you need to read what I am saying and answer what I am actually writing, not what you're imagining (or wishing) I'm writing.

This is actually a little amusing. You're getting passionate about how "unambivalent" the bible is about homosexuality. You're proving my point for me! Did you even read what my arguments were?

If you applied the same logic and rigourous examination to the two controversial topics we just discussed, as you do to the discussion of the possesions quotes it would be a different you. Oh and in response to "IT MAKES NO SENSE" I believe I've already made myself clear. You made yourself clear by saying if it doesn't make sense, it must still be right somehow. Somehow.

You have a very important world view, a world view that affects almost everything it touches. I've often argued with you from within your worldview. Within the logic of the scriptures. I'm not trying to stop you from being a Christian I'm trying to get you to rethink your conclusions, because the conclusions frustrate me, and have real-world consequences.

That, my friend, isn't irrational it's called empathy. It's called putting yourself in the minds and shoes of others to prove a point.

And to respond to your second last questions: yes I did post that question because I disagreed with you. I disagreed with you and decided to dispute your claims. I want to throw this back at you "As this discussion continues, it is becoming apparent that it is not your goal to come to any kind of an understanding, but simply to provide a dispute" (I don't really mean it I'm just trying to prove a point).

And to your last question: yes it is of some value to me.

Stan said...

I would guess, Steve, that you regurgitated that Exodus reference from someone else because it makes no sense. "If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide" (Exo 21:22). Your claim: "Check out Exodus 21.22 and its view that abortion is not murder and/or that the unborn is not the same as a person." Do you actually see that somewhere?

But, bottom line, it appears that your initial premise is "The Bible is false. You are not allowed to examine the text to make sense of it. You are only allowed to read it at face value. If that makes no sense (as this one does), then it simply proves the premise -- the Bible is false." No other text is approached this way. No other book is required to meet such criteria. No other author can meet these requirements. When the weather man on TV says, "Sunrise tomorrow will be at 7:02", no one complains, "You idiot! The sun doesn't rise. The Earth rotates!" No, we understand the form of speech. When the teenager comes home and Dad asks, "So who all was at the party?" and the kid says, "Oh, everyone was there!", she isn't grounded for lying. "I wasn't there, so you were lying." We understand forms of speech. The Bible, on the other hand, cannot be allowed such standard practices.

You call that "empathy". It appears unreasonable, unfair, and unkind to me.

Steve said...

I pointed out that quote to show the ignored potential for a very clear interpretation.

I am not using that quote to show that the bible is false! I'm not sure where you got that from. Again you're not responding to my arguments. I'm giving it as an example of something that, if taken in the same spirit as you take the possession quotes, can give you a very different view of abortion.

I am flabbergasted you think my initial premise is "The bible is false". I AM examining the text to make sense of it! I congratulated you for interpreting it (the possessions bit) the way you did! I also criticised you for not applying that to other areas.

You're rambling about what you think I am saying, not what I am actually saying.

What I am calling "empathy" is the way of arguing you decried in a previous comment. You criticized me because I often argued within the confines of the bible being true. NOW you're admonishing me for apparently starting on the premise the bible is false! You're flailing around trying to find ways to attack HOW I am arguing, and not only ignoring the arguments, but making contradictory ones. That sounds "unreasonable, unfair and unkind" to me!

Stan said...

Okay, it appears that we are talking past each other. I believe I have addressed your arguments. You believe I've ignored or misunderstood them. I believe I have presented a consistent approach to Scripture with a consistent result. You believe I'm "flailing around". So, please tell me what I missed. The Exodus reference has no bearing on the question of abortion. The Scriptures are consistent on the subject of homosexual behavior. And examination of the text and context of "Sell all your possessions" leads me to believe that it cannot mean "Sell everything you own", but a more reasonable reading, the same way I would if you had said it. What argument did I miss? Where am I not making sense?

Steve said...

I said I believed you were flailing around in how you characterized my arguments. You characterized them in completely opposite ways in two successive comments. That statement wasn't referring to your approach to scripture.

Which has certainly not been consistent.

Read the exodus reference again. It's making a statement on the status of the fetus/unborn child. It's giving a worth that is not equivalent to that secular law you mentioned. It is actually referencing the fetus and referencing it in a way that imposes a moral position and a defining whether it is a life! How much closer can you get in the bible to abortion than that?

You use the bible's denouncement of murder to infer a position on abortion. An inference that is far more strained than one you could make using Exo 21:22. Make an examination of the context. Read on to 21:23. My copy says "if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe".

So what it's saying is, if you cause a miscarriage you get fined. If you cause a miscarriage and kill the woman, you get put to death. "Life for Life". Life for life isn't given as a punishment for the miscarriage. Because this passage is saying that the fetus is not a life. Which, for the record, I'm not trying to argue.

So you think this has NO BEARING on the question of abortion? This passage that refers to the destruction of the fetus and the status of the fetus as a life? Do you really think this has less to say than a biblical decree against murder?

Stan said...

The question is not abortion. The question is not homosexual behavior. You've made it such. Fine. The passage in question (Exodus) doesn't say "miscarriage". It says premature birth. "Miscarriage" is a guess.

If you could, please, tell me where I've approached the passage in question ("Sell all your possessions") in an inconsistent manner ... or any of the rest. I try to read them as they are intended. I don't see yet where I've done otherwise. You're saying I'm inconsistent. I'm not seeing where. Please help.

Steve said...

I'm using comparisons to point out inconsistencies. That's why I'm bringing up abortion.

My hard copy says miscarriage. I just looked it up on the internet and some versions say "loss of the child", "she miscarry but live herself", "fruit depart", "premature birth".

You're making a liberal interpretation of the possessions passage and a strict interpretation of others, with less prominence of place and source. A prime example is abortion. Placing a liberal interpretation of the Exodus2122 quote can result in a very different position on abortion. One might say it is only in our day and age that premature births are so often survivable, at least close to a certain date. In fact a premature birth often involves death. This is similar to the way you interpreted the possessions quotes. You can argue against this but you'd be sounding pretty similar to me.

Even ignoring that passage all together, you're taking a definite view on something the bible doesn't explicitly say.

Then you take something explicit like the possessions quote, and through logical consideration come to a liberal interpretation. I don't use liberal in its political sense. Why not take an explicit view of something it does say. Or why not use the same liberal logic in interpreting other things. Or why do you even need the bible to argue against abortion.

I feel like I've been through this part of the forest before. Sorry, I have to rush off. Read back my prior comments if you want more help.

Stan said...

My rule of thumb: Read it as it is intended. As far as I can tell, I've read the Scriptures you've offered as intended. In the case of "sell all your possessions", I ask, "Did He intend that Christians own absolutely nothing?" That would make no sense. So I conclude "That's not what was intended." I read the Exodus passage and it says, "If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide" (Exo 21:22). Seems reasonable to me. Why shouldn't I take it in the manner it is written? Now, you'd like to throw in translation variations. Let's look.

ESV: "When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm ..."
KJV: "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow ..."
LITV: "And when men fight, and they strike a pregnant woman, and her child goes forth, and there is no injury ..."
YLT: "And when men strive, and have smitten a pregnant woman, and her children have come out, and there is no mischief ..."

So, you have a version that says "miscarriage" The New American Standard (the best literal translation on the market) says "gives birth prematurely". The English Standard Version, the newest of the good, literal translations, says "her children come out" and stipulates "there is no harm". (A miscarriage is not "no harm".) The Literal Translation Version (LITV) says "child goes forth" (ambiguous) but insists "no injury", and Young's Literal Translation (YLT) says "her children have come out" (not "dead bodies" or "fetal tissue" or whatever). Considering 1) nothing in the language (essentially "departs") demands a dead baby is involved, 2) the best translations reference premature birth, and 3) the concept of premature birth rather than miscarriage is consistent with everything else we read, I read it as "premature birth".

I see this as consistent with Scripture and consistent with my paradigm: Read it as it is intended. You see it as inconsistent and illogical. I explained why I see both readings as "literal" ("as written", "as intended"); you see it as "a liberal interpretation". I've taken both at face value -- as intended. Where have I not? I've read both in their immediate and broader biblical context and made both make sense logically and contextually. What's the difference?

Now, if you could, please explain to me what you would recommend to someone who decides, "I'm not going to think about this stuff; I'm just going to take it at face value." Because, as I've explained, that would simply require that Jesus was a lunatic and a sinner. That statement alone would require that He was crazy and violated His own "simple" command by owning clothing. You say, "Why not take an explicit view of something it does say?" If you could, please tell what you think that would look like, because I cannot begin to imagine what that would be. How does any human being survive owning nothing? Even homeless people have clothing they own. Tell me in what possible reality it would be possible for any human being to survive without owning anything. Please explain that to me because I can't see it. It seems to me that the moment you provide "Well, they can own clothing" is the moment you offer "a liberal interpretation". On the other hand, it seems inexorable to me that if you insist on our inability to make any sense of the texts -- "Just take it at face value" -- that you will unfairly limit the intelligence of the reader, the viability of Christianity, and any use whatsoever of the Bible. Is there any possible way that one can read this particular text ("Sell all your possessions") without considering it insane?

Steve said...

To someone who decides "I'm going to take it at face value" I'd suggest they don't, and I'd probably then try to cut them from my life. I don't have any Christian friends like this.

I'm not asking or suggesting you take it at face value. But since you agree that you're taking a liberal interpretation of the possessions quote, I'm wondering why you still derive a black an white biblical view of abortion when it isn't even mentioned.

Oh and I think selling all your possessions can be classed as insanity. But one could argue that believing in the afterlife, or that the creator to the universe listens to you is far more insane. Religous belief is meant to appear insane. Jesus acted like a madman. That's what makes him so special right? Maybe it only seems insane by our standards. Maybe it's our hedonistic materialistic morals that make it sound impossible and insane.

I think you use the clothing problem to define the quotes as mainly metaphorical. Once you allow clothes it isn't necessarily a slippery slope. Unlike the invisible quote denouncing abortion as clearly as Jesus denounces possessions, you're taking the chance to include shades of grey. Otherwise it would massively affect your life. I think that if you were trying to follow the quote as close to its assumed meaning as possible, it might not mean you have to give up your clothes but it might mean you'd have to give up almost everything else you don't ABSOLUTELY need.

Stan said...

As far as I can tell 1) I've stated my position as clearly and repeatedly as possible and 2) you've been unable to offer to me a rational alternative. I see consistency in my approach and you haven't been able to explain to me what is inconsistent. I see the entire book as rational and you see it as insane. I see Christianity as a valid belief (and theism as mandatory) and you see it is ... not.

I don't suppose there's much more I can offer on the subject. I've been clear that I'm not opposed to abortion and you've been clear that you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about (since you keep using the term). (I'm opposed to murder.) So I suppose we can finish this up now and stop this interplay since I don't think there's any farther we can take it. I've said all I can and you've recommended all you can. Thanks for the friendly dialog. I hope better for you in the future.

Thomas said...

Steve: Comparing the language and tone of Jesus and the Hebrew Scriptures as "apples to apples" because they are both contained within the Bible is a poor, unscholarly interpretation. The methods used by Jesus are, as Stan points out, often hyperbole -- or parable -- many types of figurative language. However, the Hebrew Scriptures are meant to be taken literally -- to the letter.

To read, "No sex between men," as literal is staying true to the source. However, to apply the same to Jesus would be ridiculous. I mean, he totally meant sheep are in heaven and goats are in hell, right?

Stan said...

Thanks, Thomas. Another perspective might be helpful.

Steve said...

Stan, you don't seem to have posted my last comment.

I remember saying something about you playing with definitions to neutralize any argument. And then I thanked you for the friendly dialogue.

Thomas, your comment is almost funny. The hebrew scriptures are meant to be taken literally and you get to choose when Jesus is being literal? I'm not even going to go there. I've enjoyed this debate, but Stan seems to have thought through his beliefs.

Stan said...

Sorry, Steve. In my last comment to you I said, "I suppose we can finish this up now and stop this interplay since I don't think there's any farther we can take it." I've had to delete some comments lately and I accidentally deleted yours with it, but you didn't say anything new so I didn't think anything was hurt.

I find it fascinating that you believe that we are not allowed to examine a text for its intent. Does that include modern texts or is that just the Bible? Am I not allowed to evaluate your language for hyperbole, sarcasm, etc.? Or is it just the Bible? Fascinating double standard.

Steve said...

That's ok.

I'm assuming my language is on a different plane to the bible's. I'm not sure I said you can't examine a text. I was talking about consistency in examination. But I do think I said that there comes a point when it is the reader's intent and preference seeping in. I also think there is a difference between analogies and the possessions quotes.

Don't you think it's almost hilarious how we each think the other has a huge double standard?

Stan said...

Steve: "I'm not sure I said you can't examine a text."

Steve said to Thomas: "The hebrew scriptures are meant to be taken literally and you get to choose when Jesus is being literal?"

That sounds like "You don't get to decide how to take the texts."

I'm not sure your language is on a different plane than the Bible's, but your intent is certainly different than mine. My intent is to make sense of what I read (in the Bible) and yours ... isn't. So, I read "sell all your possessions" and understand that 1) that is not a rational position to take when taken at face value and 2) Jesus Himself didn't take that position in His life, so I ask, "What do you suppose He meant?" You read the same thing and are perfectly happy with "He meant it as he said it ... and that's insane."

You see it as a double standard when my approach is "What does it say and what does the text and context tell me it means?" I approach "Thou shalt not kill" with the same standard as "Sell all your possessions." And since the text and context leads me to conclude that "Sell all your possessions" is hyperbole rather than straightforward content, I'm holding a double standard?

Steve said...

No that sounds to me like questioning the way he took the texts, since I haven't heard any Christian make that argument, and for very good reasons.

Honestly, do you really think that sounds like "You don't get to decide how to take the texts"??? Are you trying to read between lines that aren't there? I was paraphrasing his statements and posing it as a question back to him...

I don't see "What does it say and what does the text and context tell me it means?" as a double standard. I see the way you apply it as one.

Stan said...

Okay, here's where I think we end up. I have worked at making sense of the Bible. You have no interest in making sense of the Bible. I agree with Thomas -- the Hebrew Scriptures you've brought up are straightforward texts intended to be understood in a straightforward manner, but Jesus was speaking in hyperbole. You don't think that's our option. I believe the Bible, believe that it is rational, and have no problem making sense of these things. You don't believe the Bible and believe such things to be irrational. So ... if you have nothing new to add, I will, once again, see if we can end this conversation on a friendly note.

Steve said...

While I don't agree with that final characterisation of my argument, I've already said enough. A friendly end is in order! Thanks stan.

Joshua Seevers said...

Stan,

I've stumbled upon your website because I was looking up a passage about Jesus telling the rich man to sell his possessions. I think it's awesome that such a conversation was held after the original post. It started to get a little off topic but still awesome none the less. As believers I think it is very important that we dive into the scripture just like you have here.

I want to offer you a new perspective and see what you think.

Why did Jesus tell the rich man to sell his possesions? This rich man followed all the commandments and according to Jewish law he would have been seen righteous in the eyes of God. This rich man lived in a time before blood was shed on the cross for our sins. The only way he knew of pleasing God was to follow his commandments, by following the convenant set up between God and Moses. Unfortunately for the rich man that was all about to change with the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to do away with the "works" system and so therefore before his death and resurrection he needed to prepare a people so accustom with a works system a new way "life." Pun intended. This new way of life would require a new convenant and a new convenant must do away with the old. All throughout Jesus teachings he has discouraged and angered the people. He has told us that we need to be more righteous than the pharisees. How is that possible though? Put yourself in their position for a second. A person living in their times, taking care of your family, living day to day and here you have a man telling you that if you want to enter into the kingdom of God that you have to be more upright and "religious" then the religious people of the temple. So what do you do? Do you get cracking? Do you get busy trying your best to become more righteous then the pharisess or do you give up and start looking for a new way? Say you do give up... What new way would you go with? Would this open your eyes to the death and resurrection of Jesus? A once and for all forgiveness? A gift of righteousness that you only have to accept and believe and no more?

This is my interpretation of Jesus and the rich man. He was only trying to frustrate an already somewhat righteous man so that he would open his eyes and get him looking for a new way of righteousness, one that you can't lose.

I don't know if you will ever get this comment but I hope you do. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Stan said...

Hi, Joshua, and welcome.

My real take on why Jesus said this to the rich man is slightly different (because the statement to the rich man was only one of the times He said, "Sell all your possessions."). I don't believe that people in the Old TEstament times (before Christ's death) were saved by works and since Christ we've been saved by faith. The reason I don't believe that is because as far back as Abraham it says, "Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." It's quoted by Paul as a statement of "saved by faith apart from works" in Romans 4. So it is my firm belief that salvation has always been by faith. Those prior to Christ were saved by faith in God's promise to save by the coming Messiah and those after Christ are saved by faith in the Messiah who came.

As for the rich young ruler, I think there was something different going on here. He asked Jesus about salvation and Jesus gave him the standard -- absolute perfection. "If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." The man claimed to achieved absolute perfection. Jesus told him to sell everything to illustrate to him that He still loved something else (his riches) over God. That's who I see that particular situation.

But, as I said, He said it multiple times in multiple circumstances, so the rest of the conversation on what He meant by it is still relevant.

Anonymous said...

Hey Stan,

I just wanted to say that, as an agnostic, I really appreciated your conversation with Steve, and your continued persistence to engage meaningfully despite his increasingly stubborn manner. It was wonderful that you chose to engage with him the way you did.

I don't get hung up on things like "sell all your possessions" on a theological basis because I think the spiritual intent is clear and that the real issue is a sense of personal ownership. You seem to have a similar interpretation though I think we might not quite agree on what a "possession" really is.

I appreciated this particular article and subsequent debate, because there is a part of me that wonders why, if I am not tied to my possessions in any real way, why I CAN'T seem to bring myself to live more compassionately?

Jesus was a radical, and to follow him with an open heart as far as I can tell means to at least attempt to become a radical too. At this point in my life, I just don't have the courage to do "What's right" and be that compassionate radical, let alone believe in the Bible as a divine source over the relationship I have with a God who may or may not be "just in my head." All this to say, thanks for reaching out and really trying to engage with a non-Christian. Even if he didn't appreciate it, the act was meaningful to me.

Stan said...

Anonymous,

When I find a person who disagrees with me and is genuinely willing to have an actual dialog (rather than some sort of heated argument or the like), I am thoroughly delighted to do so. I don't make it a practice to talk only with those who agree with me and I believe I am actually compelled to answer people who ask, so as long as the conversation is on friendly terms, it is a pleasure for me.

Thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, this topic is dear to me so I am well pleased to see it by accident or maybe not. I think that the requiremnt here is obvious, not to give up everything and be a burden to society. This has to do with having what you need provided by God versus becoming confused about you providing it.

I traveled alot and winging it often became a faith measure. I beleive the more I carried the less faith I had. If I had faith it would free me to the point I could basically carry a bible, bowl and a spoon. This would be like pulling up a fish with a coin in his mouth to pay my taxes.

Unfortunately I have fallen back to being a family man with a houshold of stuff. The important point I think is that this stuff most of it has come to me by need. None of it is dear to me or really desirable.

God recently gave me a car. Now what do you think he would pick for me a new car, an old one, a safe one? Actually it was a 95 Oasis Isuzu in a color I later realized I love. Now the circumstances about the need were clear and even more so the Lords' timely and late response convincing enough to me.

Anonymous said...

JESUS IS SAYING, GO OUT AND HELP AND LOVE OTHERS. DONT BE GREEDY AND SELFISH, CAUSE HE KNOWS EVERYTHING. I DONT THINK WE HAVE TO SELL EVERYTHING. I BELEIEVE IN NOT WAITNIG FOR SOMEONE TO ASK FOR HELP BUT LOOK FOR SOMEONE IN NEED, NOT JUST THIS PERSON OR THAT PERSON, EVERONE. GOD KNOWS OUR HEART. REMEMBER, GOD GAVE AND GIVES EVERYDAY. GOD IS LOOKING FOR US TO LOVE AS HE DOES.

Stan said...

Thanks for the comment. Good points.

I just wanted to give you a little hint. On the Internet, typing in all capital letters is understood to be shouting. Nothing in your comment seemed to be shouting, so you might avoid misunderstandings in your Internet communications by not using all capital letters.

Wrench said...

I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I feel that there are some points of your discussion with Steve that could be clarified a little more- just in case others are still not convinced.

First, to the original claim of the blog, I believe that many of us would be better off selling most of our possessions and that Jesus might be calling some of us to sell everything, but these passages are only commanding us to be completely committed to him.
Look at Luke 14:25-33 and you will see that Jesus was using metaphors for being totally committed. That we would hate our families compared to how we feel for Jesus, we could fully commit to finishing a project, and that we are sure we can win the battle.
Following this command may very well mean selling everything to some people, but the concept is that what we "own," we devote to God. For example, you are using your computer to help people understand the Bible.

About the Exodus passage: the word for [the baby coming out] in the original Hebrew (yes, the Bible wasn't written in English) is "yāṣāʾ" which means to come out, bring forth, proceed, depart, etc. The word for death/die is "mût." Obviously this verse is not talking about miscarriage.

About interpreting different parts of the Bible differently: This part of Exodus was written as a law book. Has anyone ever seen a law that was sarcastic or hyperbolic? Jesus was talking mostly to farmers, so it makes sense that he would use metaphors to make them understand what he meant. They weren't educated, so Jesus often boiled ideas down to something they would understand.

Lastly, about abortion: The main passage we use against abortion is that God knows each person before they are even born (Ps. 139:13-16). The main idea of the argument is that if God already has a person's life planned out before they are born, it follows that the fetus has the same value as a human. I avoided the argument of whether a fetus is a person; clearly in this context it doesn't matter. (But I believe it is.)

P.S.
Steve said:
Oh and I think selling all your possessions can be classed as insanity. But one could argue that believing in the afterlife, or that the creator to the universe listens to you is far more insane. Religous belief is meant to appear insane. Jesus acted like a madman. That's what makes him so special right? Maybe it only seems insane by our standards. Maybe it's our hedonistic materialistic morals that make it sound impossible and insane.

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it" (Matt 13:44-46).
I believe in God because I see evidence of Him in the world and in my own relationship with Him, but I do things that seem crazy because I know that I am gaining something of greater value.

Stan said...

Thanks for the input, Wrench. I think it is quite clear that the Exodus passage is not talking about "abortion" or "miscarriage" (because the language doesn't require it and since it specifies "no harm"). I doubt that Steve is still around to read, but thanks.

Caleb said...

I think He literally wants us to sell everything we have and give to the poor. Every single disciple was required to completely forsake his old life before Jesus and come follow Him. We are supposed to imitate Jesus right? Well there is a verse that says "The Son of Man has no place to lay his head." He are supposed to be wandering nomads searching the earth for souls to fill the house of God. He also asks us to "Buy gold refined in the fire." The more we give to the poor in secret the more our Father in heaven will reward us openly. We are to travel lightly, maybe a change of clothes and some personal belongings but to live in a fat house with a nice car and a computer is un-Christlike. He also told Peter to follow him and become fishers of men. We are supposed to quit our jobs and go wander the earth saving people because God wants his house to be filled!!! Gather the poor, the weak, the lame, the blind! Every time you give money the poor you get treasure in heaven! Where your treasure lies there you heart will be also. Now my only issue is how do I sell all this stuff.

Stan said...

Caleb,

You are certainly free to see that how you will. Understand that your approach to "Sell all your possessions" must include "a change of clothes and some personal belongings" because "all" is "all" ... including the computer with which you sent this comment.

But, seriously, you don't actually believe that, do you? Take, for instance, Paul, who did not quit his job to go, but was a tentmaker wherever he went. You don't actually believe that all Christians everywhere are required to abort all income, leave all possessions, surrender all means of living and wander about naked trying to make converts ... right? I mean, in Acts the believers were "breaking bread in their homes." Surely you don't actually believe what you say.

Caleb said...

Do you possess them or do they possess you? Anything that ties you down to one spot is an obstruction to your ability to do the will of The Father. We do not need to be naked but we should not have anything extra nor should we be tied down to one spot. Why do you follow the example of Paul when you could be following the example of Jesus? Did he walk around naked? Absolutely not! But he did not own a home or have a job (besides doing the will of The Father). Where is your treasure?

Caleb said...

If you love your comfortable life more than you want to obey the commands of God then you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Caleb said...

Do not worry about what you will eat or where you will stay for a worker is worthy of his pay. Do you really believe that if you followed the commands of the Son of God that any harm would come to you? Do you really believe that you can justify holding on to your stuff and not be completely submitting to the will of God Almighty? Realize that you are not the owner of anything. You are a steward. It is not really your stuff! When you die you can't take it with you. Therefore, build up treasure in heaven! You do not own your worldly possessions, they own you! They are a hindrance! And it's not about trying to make converts in the way you are thinking. It's about serving and sacrificing. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven!!!!

Stan said...

Fine. Maybe you really believe what you're saying. If so, it will not go unnoticed. I will be able to confirm whether or not you are lying by the news broadcasts that tell us about the guy who was walking around homeless and naked preaching the gospel. Oh, wait, Jesus wasn't naked, was He? Well, no (which was my point). That's because JESUS DIDN'T ACTUALLY MEAN TO SELL ALL YOUR POSSESSIONS. If He did, He failed to do so Himself. On the other hand, if He meant "Sell all your possessions ... except what you feel comfortable keeping", then we're at an impasse, aren't we? No, Caleb, all or nothing. You take it at face value or you don't. All or nothing. Don't waste my time.

Caleb said...

I believe you did not really read my comment with an open heart or else you would not be saying what you just did; so, I will restate it. "Why do you follow the example of Paul when you could be following the example of Jesus? Did he walk around naked? Absolutely not! But he did not own a home or have a job (besides doing the will of The Father). Where is your treasure?" May God bless you and keep you, and may your heart always be open to the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus!

Stan said...

Thanks for the clarification. All clear now. Paul is not inspired, but Jesus is. The disciples were nothing but disobedient followers when they met from house to house.

You've missed the point. Jesus DID NOT SELL ALL HIS POSSESSIONS. When you do, let me know. Oh, whoops! Never mind. You won't be able to.

Caleb said...

Have you ever tried to sell all your possessions to give to the poor? Have you ever even attempted to keep the commandments of the Son of God? P.S. I never said Paul wasn't inspired, I just asked why you would try to follow his example over the example of Christ Jesus.

Stan said...

Since I do not believe this is what Jesus was teaching (because Jesus didn't do it), it would be foolish of me to try to do what I do not believe Jesus taught.

Is there something special about "the commandments of the Son of God"? I try every day to keep the commandments of God ... the Father and the Son.

You do know that Jesus reserved His harshest words for hypocrites, right? You know, like someone who tries to impress rules on other people but is unwilling to keep them himself ... like you.

Look:

1. You have completely ignored what I wrote on the text and decided you alone are right when the rest of Christendom has disagreed. Why are you right and the Holy Spirit has failed to tell the rest of the Church? (Matthew Henry, for instance, wrote on Luke 12:33 that it meant, "'Sit loose to this world, and to all your possessions in it: Sell that ye have, and give alms,' that is, 'rather than want wherewith to relieve those that are truly necessitous, sell what you have that is superfluous, all that you can spare from the support of yourselves and families, and give it to the poor. Sell what you have, if you find it a hindrance from or encumbrance in, the service of Christ.'")

2. You have not done what you claim you believe you are supposed to do. It isn't hard. Why not?

3. Jesus didn't do what you claim He commanded us all to do. Why is that?

In light of all this, why are we still having this conversation? I suspect it's because you don't believe it either and are just out to make trouble. Prove me wrong. Sell everything you own. Then I'll listen.

Caleb said...

(Matthew Henry, for instance, wrote on Luke 12:33 that it meant, "'Sit loose to this world, and to all your possessions in it: Sell that ye have, and give alms,' that is, 'rather than want wherewith to relieve those that are truly necessitous, sell what you have that is superfluous, all that you can spare from the support of yourselves and families, and give it to the poor. Sell what you have, if you find it a hindrance from or encumbrance in, the service of Christ.'") - That actually makes a lot of sense to me by the way.

Stan said...

Did you read the post to which you're objecting? My position was the same as Matthew Henry's position. The goal is not "Achieve absolute poverty." The goal is "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:34). The goal is to love Christ more than things. The goal is to recognize that what we have is not ours, but on loan from God. As such, use it for God or get rid of it. Jesus wasn't saying, "Sell everything" because He was demanding that we have nothing. He did have His personal belongings. He was telling us not to be tied to stuff, not to treasure the things we have, not to possess stuff to possess stuff. If, as an example, I can use a computer to minister as God directs, it is not evil to possess a computer.

If you agree with Matthew Henry's assessment, you agree with mine. I think you missed something here.

Oh, and in Jesus's complaints about the Pharisees, He said, "They preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger." Telling all Christians "It is mandatory that you sell everything you own and live in abject poverty" (not Christ's command or practice) and then not doing it yourself would put you in the same category as them. Don't do that.

Caleb said...

Haha you were right all along Stan. I think God just wants us to be willing to sell everything for him. I'm still going to sell whatever I feel that I can afford to get rid of for the greater good, but I understand now that it's not about living in poverty, but about putting God above our possessions. I think this has all been a really good life lesson for me that I will keep to heart. God bless!

Stan said...

"I'm still going to sell whatever I feel that I can afford to get rid of for the greater good ... putting God above our possessions."

Amen!

Peter said...

Hi Stan,

I gained a great deal from your posting and from the epic exchange with Steve! You showed great perseverance without adopting an unctious saintly demeanour! Thank you so much! It helped me immensely!

On the subject of "sell all YOUR possessions...":
I wonder if biblical concept of 'stewardship' is worth adding to the mix. From the world's perspective, and that includes the legal viewpoint, the followers of Christ might very well appear as though they do own stuff. Yet in the reality of the Kingdom, everything belongs to the King. We are his servants, or as a proper translation would render it 'slaves'. What possession can a slave own? None! Can a slave be a steward? Absolutley! So to world we may appear to be, in some cases, very well off, but God does not look on the outward appearance but upon the heart. Now that is not say that 'riches' do not present a very real danger. They do. The 'deceitfulness of riches' is well covered in scripture. God wisely entrusts us with only that which we can steward under the direction of the King. Anything beyond this is best sold. Anything that we a have stewardship over should be wisely invested for the profit of the King.

As a tiny little example allow me to give a little testimony.
A few years ago, a group of people at work gave me a relatively large sum of money for my birthday. I didn't know what to buy with it. One morning I woke up with the very clear impression from the Holy Spirit that I was to buy a bible. So I dashed of to the nearest Christian bookshop. As I stood before the huge display of many bibles my eyes seemed drawn to a particular bible. As I reached out to touch it, to my great surprise I burst into tears. I knew immediately this was the bible. I composed myself and bought it.
This bible was immediately very precious to me. I carried like a newborn baby. I could hardly allow anyone to look at it never mind touch it. A few days later I was having fellowship with some friends and a close friend who has a strong prophetic gifting asked if he could look at it. I could hardly bear to part with it. He looked at it then announced that "This book will be used for preaching!"
I didn't say much but in my heart I said, "You've got that one wrong Colin'
A few days later I was praying with another small group of friends. There was a lady there who I had never met before. The moment we began to pray and minister to one another the Holy spirit said most emphatically "I want you give your new bible to this lady."
This burned like a fire in my heart and the presence of the Lord was unusually strong. As our time came to an end, I blurted out to this new friend, "God wants you to have this!" And virtually thrust the my precious bible into her hands.
She was very moved and eventually said "That is just amazing! I was struggling to choose a new bible. The Lord said that He would provide a new bible for me and that I wasn't to worry. You see I ham studying to be a local preacher..."
I cannot express how moved we all were and the presence of the Lord became so heavy upon us that we were hardly able to speak, let alone stand!
A few days later I went back to the bookshop to buy myself another copy. Big mistake! I just can't get along with it! The lady is now a well established preacher and absolutely loves her copy!

Stan said...

Hi, Peter, and thanks for the comment.

Yes! Stewardship is essential here. "We do not own anything" is key, especially in a world that questions whether God owns everything. Maintaining the viewpoint that "Everything I have is on loan" and, even more, "I am tasked with taking proper care of what God has assigned me to watch" ought to make all sorts of good corrections to faulty thinking.

Composer said...

All I see from this article is those ' claiming to be christians ' finding illegitimate excuses to cling to their worldly goods & wealth.

I need only mention the Poor Widow -

And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. (Luke 21:2-4) KJV Story book

You people are NOT legitimate christians but akin to the Scribes!

That should legitimately silence you jesus' frauds; but there is more if required?

Stan said...

Composer,

As you apparently own clothing, a computer, likely a television and automobile, I'd suggest you back off the hypocrisy. Since no one in history has ever sold everything they own (and survived for very long), I'd be happy to entertain your explanation of how even Jesus Himself did this. No one sells all their possessions. Even the homeless have possessions. Since that cannot be what Jesus meant without making Jesus a sinner Himself, please feel free to offer another explanation, but don't offer your own hypocrisy as evidence that I'm mistaken.

Philip said...

Wow! you have had this post up for 6 years and you still have comments coming in! Must touch a nerve somewhere!

Just wanted to add something:

When Jesus sent out His 12 disciples, he said this in Matt 10:9,10

9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.

In Luke 9:3,4 -
He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.


Notice that Jesus didn't ask His disciples to travel naked - but He did tell them NOT to take anything apart from what they were already wearing. This is just to point out to you that Jesus's statements about selling everything couldn't obviously apply to the clothes one is wearing but it did apply to everything else.


Matt 19:29 -
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

Notice that Jesus is making a comment about those who have left their sources of income - fields.. for His sake? Also, the comment about receiving 100 times as much may be also in this life?

And later on in Luke 22:35-36 -
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. ”

A few points stand out:

Jesus asked the disciples NOT to take anything with them when they were initially sent out. That was more like a practice run and Jesus obviously wanted them to learn something from the experience of not taking anything with them.

The point of the exercise becomes clearer in Luke 22 when Jesus asked them if they had lacked anything even though they were sent out with nothing. The disciples answered "nothing." So it seems to me that Jesus was trying to teach the disciples that they can trust completely in God for provision and that He won't let them down.

So the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach the disciples was not merely about not being tied down by possessions, but also to experience God's miraculous provisions when they relied only on Him.

Something else: In Luke 22, Jesus asks His disciples to get themselves a sword. I am not sure why. But what I want to focus on is that Jesus asked the disciples to sell a cloak and buy the sword - indicating that He was aware that the disciples did not have the money to purchase a sword. But He did ask them to take a purse with them on their journeys from that point on. So it is likely that the disciples had a little bit of money but not a lot - and Jesus wanted them to take this little money with them.

Philip said...

Continuing from the earlier post:

So this is how I understand it:

1. Jesus did tell ALL of His disciples to sell their possessions and to seek Him solely.

2. The point of the exercise was to teach them about trusting God completely - and not merely about not having their hearts set on material things. If we are to learn to trust God completely, then we will have to not merely be WILLING to sell all our possessions but actually DO that - else it remains a nice fancy concept in our heads and we won't really understand it in our bones (so to speak).

3. Jesus didn't tell His disciples to continuously keep selling all their possessions. But there is enough to indicate that they were to sell all of their possessions about the time they decided to "follow" Christ.. which is to say when you reach a point in your relationship with Christ where you get serious about following in His footsteps.

4. Post this experience we will still not be in need because God will provide for us (see Luke 12). But we would have learned by then that with God we will lack nothing even if we don't have seasons where we have no possessions.

5. By selling all our posessions. Jesus wasn't referring to the clothes you are wearing. I state this again because you have mentioned nakedness multiple times in the comments and I don't see why you do that given that Jesus explicitly states that the disciples are asked not to take any *EXTRA* shirt.

Just in case I am accused of hypocrisy and ONLY for this one reason, I want to make a disclosure here - My wife and I are in the process of selling all of our possessions because we believe God is asking us to do that. We don't know the next step - but I am sure God will reveal that in His time.

I hope this blesses you and other readers.

Composer said...

Stan said...
Composer,

As you apparently own clothing, a computer, likely a television and automobile, I'd suggest you back off the hypocrisy.

Me: Nah! the hypocrisy remains only yours & those hypocrites like you!

I am NOT a believer and never wish to be a Story book jesus' follower so your Story book bible is a waste of paper to everyone frankly but also to me in particular!

Stan said...
Since no one in history has ever sold everything they own (and survived for very long), I'd be happy to entertain your explanation of how even Jesus Himself did this.

Me: I thought you people claimed it was god?

Of course no one has obeyed because outside of Story book land you are ALL disobedient frauds!

Part 1 of 2

Stan said...

Composer, thanks for the clarification. Since my intention was to explain to Christ's followers what Christ meant and NOT defend the Christian religion to skeptics, I think we're done here. Since my requirement is "friendly dialog" and your aim is to be insulting, I think we're done here. And when I claim to believe something and then carry through on that belief, that's not "hypocrisy". It's certainly not the level of claiming to believe nothing and then complaining when others don't meet the absolute lack of standard required by your belief. So I think we're done here. Bottom line, I'm pretty sure you can find a host of other places to argue Christianity with Christians without having to bother with mine. The argument with you would be like wrestling with a pig. You end up muddy and then you realize the pig is just having fun. Trying to actually reason on any of this would be pointless. Then ... we are done.

Stan said...

Philip,

Since you're pretty sure that Jesus meant to literally sell all your belongings that you have (based on what you've written) actually sold all your belongings. It would appear, however, that you understand Jesus to have meant only extra belongings. I'm not at all sure what that means. Nor can I quite figure out how "sell all your belongings" means "just the extras" let alone how to calculate what's "extra". Only on shirt? One change of clothes? On house? Or is that too much? But we'll just disagree, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Stan, I'm not sure I understand your viewpoint precisely enough. Are you saying you believe it is okay to be extremely rich and/or indulge in expensive luxuries with money that could otherwise be used to alleviate others' suffering? Or are you simply pointing out that giving up ALL of one's possessions seems impractical, so you do not expect that passage to be taken literally, although you still agree with the general principle behind it?

Once I know a little more about your stance, I will be able to provide a comment with my opinion.

Stan said...

I think it is clear that God gives riches to some who are able to distribute those riches for God's work. I know, for instance, of a fellow who started an extremely successful business. He chose to live off of 10% of his income and give 90% to God's work. He was rich. That wasn't bad. We know that "The Lord sends poverty and wealth" (1 Sam 2:7). Jesus said, "Make friends for yourselves by means of worldly wealth" (Luke 16:9). Thus, there is a proper use of wealth.

The problem is worship. If I worship, hold, keep to myself, cling to, even "own" my possessions, it's a problem. It is a violation of the First Commandment against other gods. We are to keep ourselves free from the love of money (Heb 13:5). We know that the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil (1 Tim 6:10), that greed is idolatry (Col 3:5).

I believe that the woodenly literal "sell every single thing you own" is impractical and unreasonable based on all the I read in Scripture including the words and deeds of Christ. On the other hand, I agree with A.W. Tozer who said we should, "Never own anything. Get rid of the sense of possessing!" If all I have belongs to the Lord, what do I "possess"? That's the mindset.

Composer said...

The Poor Widow puts you people to shame!

Not only do you self-acclaimed believers make excuses to keep your worldy goods (as much as is possible to attain) but the fundamental motivation of your beliefs is the same as your Story book jesus i.e. one of selfish greed and lusts for divine rewards for your efforts.

Take away those promises of divine rewards also and you wouldn't be a christian at all!

Stan said...

Composer, you don't seem to find it odd to be speaking in a radically two-faced method, do you? You classify the Bible as a "storybook" and then use it as an example of how we ought to be ashamed. You assure us that Jesus didn't even exist and then argue about what He meant when He said ... anything. And then you have the audacity to suggest that you know my motivations when you can't even get your own reasoning straight? Look, either it's all a fabrication -- the Bible and Christ and all -- in which case nothing matters, not faith or religion or how we understand it or even your existence, or it is real and worth a dialog, in which case your entire premise that it's false is out the window. You can't premise that it's false at its core and then argue about the peripherals. It doesn't work.

Look, I don't believe in ghosts. For me, then, to argue about the behavior of ghosts or what they would look like in a certain situation would be mindless. I don't believe in them. You don't believe in the Bible, in God, in Jesus, in any of it. Arguing about the meaning some "fictional character" intended when He said something fictional is mindless. I know you won't seek salvation. At least seek sanity.

Anonymous said...

"I know, for instance, of a fellow who started an extremely successful business. He chose to live off of 10% of his income and give 90% to God's work. He was rich. That wasn't bad."

The thing is, most people, including a majority of so-called "socialists", will NOT have a problem with a wealthy person such as he, since he is giving 90% of his money away. (Provided that he is giving his money to help others in NEED and not just helping to build a fancy church and/or a mansion for a pastor, for instance).

Problem is, the person you speak of is EXTREMELY rare as far as the percentage of his income that he donates. Most multi-millionaires and billionaires do not give 80% or 40% or 20% or EVEN 10% of their incomes to charity. A majority of them do not even give 5%. The first question is whether they really NEED to keep $100 million or $5 billion for any reasonable intent or purpose (while millions are STARVING in the same world).

The more provocative question is whether they really DESERVE that money in God's eyes (while millions are starving in the same world). Let's take someone who makes $20 million; that person makes 400 times as much as someone whose salary is $50,000. Now, does the person making $50 million realistically work 400 times harder overall than the hard-working $50,000 guy? I can bet he doesn't work even work 40 times harder or FOUR times harder for that matter. (Think about what it would be to LITERALLY work 4 times harder, on every working day, than someone making $50,000). So let's say this wealthy person is a businessman or news anchor or athlete. Does his work possess 400 times the value of a someone making $50,000, such as a teacher? Or does his work possess 100 times the value of someone who is paid generously at $200,000, such as a doctor? When considering that those millions of dollars could be used to save hundreds or thousands of lives if donated to the right place(s), I could almost bet my life that I know what the general scope of God's thoughts on this matter would be. What do you think?

Stan said...

My point was not that it was common. Here's my point. If Jesus meant that we are all to sell all our possessions, then Jesus contradicted Scripture. Indeed, Jesus contradicted Himself. I gave biblical references that say that God gives wealth and it's possible to use it correctly. Jesus would be saying, then, "You know that part of the Bible that says that God gives wealth? Well, He does it sinfully. And you know that part where I told you to use wealth to buy friends? Well, I was wrong." Or, to put it in logical terms, if I can find one clear exception to "All wealth is sinful", then it is a clear indication that not all wealth is sinful.

"Deserve", on the other hand, is a pointless question. First, a doctor is not paid based on production, but on 1) education and 2) need. Gold, for instance, is valuable because it's rare. Doctors are rare and take a long time to get to where they can provide for the needs of their patients. Your approach would be to say, "Well, too bad. Spend all that money in education and all those years in learning and then we'll pay you the same thing that we pay our local carpenters because you don't do more work than they do." Good luck with getting enough doctors. Beyond that, however, "deserve" is not the issue. We deserve eternal damnation and immediate death. Let's not look for what we deserve. God doesn't give what we deserve. But here's the counter question. I understand that you seem to be saying that all Christians ought to divest themselves of all wealth (although that still doesn't line up with Jesus's words of all possessions) because so many people are needy. Our real goal, apparently is to help the needy. Or, in your words, "to save hundreds or thousands of lives". Now that is the social gospel, to be sure, but is it the biblical gospel?

I see where Jesus commanded His disciples to "Go ... and make disciples." I don't see where He commanded His disciples to "Go and save lives" or "Go and eradicate poverty" or "Go and live in abject poverty." If, then, the primary focus is "Go and make disciples" and there are people who have money who need to be made disciples, how many of them are going to hear the Word of all there is available is homeless poor people spreading the Word?

A few other observations. 1) Can wealth be improperly used? Absolutely! If we were to line up all those who have wealth (which, comparing America to, say, Africa, would be 99%), I'd suggest that 95% (being generous) are misusing the wealth they have. 2) Do people get paid high dollars when they shouldn't? Absolutely! I think of entertainers and sports stars who produce nothing and earn everything and I'm right there with you. "Really? Should they be getting that much?" 3) Does everyone agree with me on this topic? Absolutely not. Surely you know of orders of priests who take a vow of poverty, move into monasteries, and remain in abject poverty for the rest of their lives. So, if that is the correct understanding, why don't most genuine Christians do so? Or would you suggest that the few hundred or so that are locked away in monasteries are the only genuine Christians?

I still stand here. Greed is idolatry. The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. Wealth is often wrong. Not always. Keeping consistent with Scripture and Christ, I think that we ought not have a mindset of ownership nor a love of money, but neither does God require that all Christians divest themselves of all possessions. And, I'd like to add that this is probably a big problem in the affluent countries of the world, including mine. But I don't agree that God would legislate communism if He could.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I do believe that saving lives whenever possible should be one of the foremost goals in any true Christian's life. I say this simply in order to avoid hypocrisy.

What if YOU were born into poverty and about to starve to death, while you watch a few 18-year-olds drive by in Ferraris which they inherited?

What if it was YOUR wife or child who is dying of a curable disease because you can't afford the $500k treatment...while an executive in the insurance company which denied coverage to your wife just bought his wife a $3 million ring, or the doctor who could have saved your child just bought his third mansion?

Would you just say "it's THEIR money, they deserve it" or "oh well, life's not fair" and leave it at that? I'll be honest with you...I wouldn't. Because I can vouch that in God's eyes, every human being deserves food and health care more than any rich person deserves luxuries. I don't know how any true Christian can deny that.

Hamster said...

I don't think you can read what you want into what Christ has to say. It's like cherry picking the verses that you want to hear and rationalizing the verses you don't like.
Christ said that if we want to follow him we need to get rid of all our possessions.
Why?
Because possessions keep us from becoming true followers. We can't serve God and money. We can't hang on to our computers and cars and furniture and 401K programs and still be true followers of Christ.

That's why even his disciples were disillusioned when they heard Christ say they had to sell their possessions and give the money to the poor. It wasn't going to be an easy thing to do. They weren't going to be able hang on to their inheritance, their houses, their nice clothes , their money and be followers of Christ at the same time.

That's why there are almost no true followers of Christ today other than, perhaps, monks and priests who have given up all their possessions.

Being a follower of Christ is a difficult calling.

Stan said...

Anonymous, I don't know what I said that would cause you to mention "saving lives whenever possible". I don't know what that has to do with the question. It appears that you are saying that if you see someone with money, it would be the right thing for a Christian who is following this particular teaching of Christ to take that away from them and give to everyone. It seems like you're saying that not only should no Christian own anything at all, but everyone should own nothing at all and everyone should share all things in common. Getting that from what Jesus said or in opposition to what I said is beyond me, but rest assured I will have to disagree.

Stan said...

Hamster,

Here's my biggest problem. No one in all of Scripture ever sold all their possessions. Including Jesus. (Remember, He had that very expensive robe that was too valuable to tear when He was crucified, so they gambled for it instead.) If Jesus meant "Sell all your possessions" and HE DIDN'T DO IT, Jesus failed to be a follower of Christ -- truly problematic. If, on the other hand, you say, "Well, no, He didn't mean sell all your possessions", then you're right back where I am. You're "reading in what you want into what Christ has to say". You're not taking Him at what He is saying; you're trying to understand what He meant.

And it's pretty easy for a non-follower of Christ to assure us that He meant something else, isn't it? I mean, you still have a computer, furniture, a bed, possessions, right? So pointing at others and saying, "They ought to live in a way that I'm not willing to live" just doesn't work very well.

Hamster said...

Christ said two things.
1. Sell your possessions
2. Give the proceeds to the poor.

Those are hard things to do.

Maybe a the rich man would have been willing to get rid of his possessions if only he could give them to his wife and kids.

But Christ was one step ahead of him.
He told the man to sell them and give the proceeds to the poor!!!
That's right. Give away everything he owned to STRANGERS...not to his wife or kids!!!

Can you imagine giving up your home, your car, your 401K, your savings, everything...to follow Christ????
It's so difficult that the rich man turned away in sadness BECAUSE HE WAS WEALTHY AND WASN'T WILLING TO SELL HIS BELONGINGS AND GIVE THE MONEY TO THE POOR.

If being a follower of Christ were easy the rich man would have said "OK. I'll put my belongings in storage and put my money in a blind trust" and then I'll follow you."

No way.

Christ asked him to do the unthinkable....separate himself from his worldly possessions.

And the task of leaving all his worldly goods and following Christ was so difficult a request that the rich man turned away and left Christ because he had so much to give up.

Being a Christian isn't just a matter of saying some magic worlds like "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior".

Being a Christian is a lifestyle choice where you leave all your worldly possessions behind...all the things you've worked so hard to buy. The boats, the jet skis, the TV's , the iphones, the furniture, the artwork, the house, the vacation home, the retirement account....all those things that people everywhere strive so hard to KEEP....and trust in God to take care of you like the sparrows or the flowers in the fields. They don't work hard to try to own anything....yet God provides for them.

If we are not willing to give up your worldly possessions to follow Christ...we are no different from the rich man who turned away sad that Christ had asked him to do the unimaginable...part with his worldly possession and all his money.

We are that rich man!!

Hamster said...

We know nothing about what Christ owned or didn't own.
But let's say he did "own" a valuable robe. Do you think he cared much for it. If someone else needed it do you think Christ would have said "NO. get your own. This is mine"?
When you speak of possessions there are many kinds of things you can possess and still be a true follower of Christ.
In my garage I have a black plastic bag full of things that once had great value to me, but now are worthless. In fact, I plan to give everything in that bag to Goodwill when they come around again.
It's true, they are technically my "possessions" but I really could care less what happens to the contents of that bag. If someone stole them, if they were destroyed in a fire , if rats got in and chewed them up...I could care less.
They mean NOTHING to me.

On the other hand, inside my house I have a safe where I keep things I really care about: money, jewelry, documents. If these possessions were lost, stolen or destroyed I would feel a deep sense of loss. I would be depressed. Their loss would affect my life.

These are the possessions that I think Christ was referring to when he told the rich man to sell "all he owned" and give the money to the poor.

These are the things that a true Christian must be willing to part with if he wants to follow Christ.


So, yes, Christ may have owned something...but I believe they were like the things in my black plastic bag. Just stuff with no meaning and no value.

In Thailand devout Buddhist monks must give up all their worldly possessions. They own nothing except their robes. In the morning they go out into the streets and beg for food. They must eat whatever is given to them
They live in the temple or in the forest.

Their lives are much closer to the lifestyle I think Christ was referring to when he said "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Hamster said...

Your comment: "So pointing at others and saying, "They ought to live in a way that I'm not willing to live" just doesn't work very well."

I'm not trying to throw stones here. Only to point out that there are probably far fewer real followers of Christ than we'd like to believe.
The requirements for being a "follower of Christ" are not simply saying some magic words like "I accept Jesus as my personal savior" and presto...you're a Christian.

Being a Christian means following the teachings of Christ. And Christ is pretty clear in the Scriptures that clinging to personal belongings and storing up wealth for the future are activities that make it hard to become a Christian.

That's why I admire Christ but would never claim to be a true follower. I just don't qualify because I like my worldly life and possession too much..although understand what Christ is saying about collecting "things".
In fact the love of money and worldly possessions is not only the message Christ warned against. It's also the exact same message that Buddha warned his followers about 500 years before Christ was born.

Hamster said...

To the question of what Christ meant when he exhorted his followers to sell their possessions and distribute the proceeds to the poor, you might want to see how the early Christians interpreted Christs words.
In Acts 2:42

They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer.

Fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together, and had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need.

So the early Christians DID sell their possessions, form a commune and distribute the proceeds to those who had need.

Today's Christians no longer practice this

Hamster said...

Your comment"So pointing at others and saying, "They ought to live in a way that I'm not willing to live" just doesn't work very well."

I think you misunderstand what I am trying to say.

It is this: Many people claim to be Christians. When the rich man asked Jesus what he had to do to attain eternal live, Christ replied:‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’

The rich man replied to Christ
All these I have kept,” “What do I still lack?

That's when Jesus dropped the bombshell “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

But the rich man wasn't ready to part with his precious possessions: his car, his house, his jewelry, his artwork, his retirement savings account. And he most certainly couldn't stand to see his possessions, sold and given away to complete strangers...cutting out his wife and kids.

Result: When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Christ was asking the man to sacrifice his most cherished possessions. And he couldn't do it.

I am like that young man. I can't give up my possessions. I am not willing to sell them and distribute the proceeds to the poor.

That is why I cannot claim to be a follower of Christ. I am a great admirer of the man...but not a true follower.

And I believe that most Christians out there are like me. They know what they need to do to have eternal life...but they are not willing to cut the ties between their possessions and following the master

Stan said...

Look, let's go through this slowly. Christ said, "Sell all your possessions." Taking a purist approach and examining every word, taking them at purely face value, we have "sell" meaning "Don't give away or destroy, but put on the market and obtain money for." We have "all" meaning "not some, not most, but every last one." We have "your" meaning "not those of other people, but what belongs to you." We have "possessions" meaning "that which you possess -- own -- outside of your own basic skin." Taking all of this at pure, unexamined, face value, no one ever did this. Jesus possessed clothes. The disciples of the first century possessed places to live, clothing, bedding. In fact, it is not possible to live without possessing something. There are basic necessities that humans must possess in order to survive. Clothing, shelter, food. It is not possible, then, to "Sell all your possessions."

So we step back. We say, "Well, He didn't mean that in a purely, wooden, literal way. He meant ..." and we all step into an interpretation mode. One extreme will interpret to mean "... nothing at all. He just meant that we shouldn't love being rich." Another extreme will interpret to mean "... everything possible. No one on the planet should ever own a house, a car, a dog, or a retirement plan ... anything of any consequence at all." But no one reads it to mean to sell all your possessions. Even the monks who took vows of poverty owned a robe.

So, here we all are, in the same boat. No one takes it purely in a wooden literal fashion except, of course, for the skeptic who assumes that all of Christianity is a lie, so there's no reason to think that this isn't one of them. We're all trying to figure out how much is "all" since none of us understand it to mean "all".

So, going with my point that Jesus may have owned a valuable robe, you suggested that Jesus didn't love it (so to speak). He didn't grasp at it, demand it, live for it. This, you suggest, is what Jesus had in mind. Don't own what you possess. Don't grab onto, covet, cling to, demand what you possess. Be willing to part with anything you have. Funny thing. This is exactly what I said was the point of Jesus's words. We are to own nothing. It all belongs to God. We use it as He allows. We give it as He wishes. We do not possess it, do not "own" it, do not demand or cling to it. What we have belongs to Him. It seems like we're in agreement here, not conflict.

And then you suggest that the only good Christian is the one who lives in a cave, owns only a tattered cloth for clothing, and doesn't even have a job, but only begs for a living. And we're in disagreement again. Given the number of rich people in Scripture that were devout followers of Christ, I'll have to question your conclusion there.

Oh, and, by the way, according to the Scriptures in Acts, the 1st church sold what they owned in excess, not all that they owned. They sold possessions, but not all their possessions. And none of it was mandatory. Ananias and Sapphira were killed not because they didn't give all, but because they lied about what they gave. Early Christians did not form a commune. They did sell excess and give to those in need. That does still happen.

I will say, however, that it is a problem in the American church, but not because we don't sell every last possession we have. Instead, it's because we fail at the simplest command. Like the rich man, we worship our possessions and trust them rather than Christ. That's a far bigger problem than the definition of "Sell all your possessions."

Stan said...

My biggest concern, Hamster, is that you have a misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian. And I do mean "concern", not "argument" or "fight" or "debate". Not wagging a finger or trying to get you corrected. My concern is for you.

Hamster: "That is why I cannot claim to be a follower of Christ. I am a great admirer of the man...but not a true follower."

The suggestion here is that the only true follower of Christ is the one who follows Him perfectly. The idea here is that the only way to be a Christian is to be a perfect Christian. The point of Christianity, however, is radically different. The point of the Gospel is that Christ died for our sins, that we are not saved by becoming perfect, but by grace. We don't work at becoming good people; Christ paid for our sin.

Hamster, regardless of the question about selling possessions, I would urge you to seek Christ not to work at being a perfect human being, but to receive the forgiveness He offers and come into a saving relationship with Him. That produces a Christ-follower. That is what Christianity is about.

Anonymous said...

Stan, note that I never implied that no one should own anything. On the other hand, if a billionaire could save thousands and thousands of lives by giving 99% of his wealth away, and mathematically he would STILL be left with a minimum of $100 million after giving 99% of his wealth, I can essentially vouch that Christ would expect him to give at least that much money away. I say "at least" because $100 million is still thousands of times what the average American makes...did the billionaire work 1000 times, or even 10 times, harder than the average American? Realistically, is his SINGLE-HANDED, INDIVIDUAL work contribution worth thousands of times more than that of someone earning $100,000? I think we touched on that before- while I'm not saying that someone's wealth must be exactly proportional to the intensity or value of his work, I can't fathom why God wouldn't expect it to be within reason considering those two variables. No one person deserves to hoard an amount of wealth that could otherwise be used to save thousands of lives- this is what I was trying to get at in my earlier post.

But to be fair we shouldn't single out the super-rich. If a middle class family of four lives in a 6000 square foot house worth $600k, I can essentially vouch that Christ would expect them to be willing to move to a 3000 sq. ft. house costing about half as much (which is still a very nice house, I might add), in order to save the lives of a few people who can't afford health care, or hundreds of starving people.

In general I would be somewhat reluctant to make conjectures regarding the thoughts or expectations of Christ or God, but this is a topic that I am most confident about: saving lives prevails over luxuries. To be more precise, I believe it is certainly possible (and even probable) that God considers ALL luxuries sinful as long as people are unable to afford food or health care, etc. However, my guess is that God might be okay with people enjoying luxuries that they have LITERALLY worked for. That means no million-dollar inheritances, and less obviously, virtually nobody's single-handed work is worth millions of dollars, let alone billions, relative to the average American annual wage of about $40,000 (in the richest country). Of course, those are just my guesses and I could be wrong just like anyone else, but like I said before, this is the one issue about which I would actually feel quite comfortable predicting the thoughts of Christ and/or God.

To simplify what I said, I believe Jesus told the rich man to "sell all his possessions and give to the poor" BECAUSE every human being deserves necessities (food, health care, etc.) more than any rich person deserves luxuries in God's eyes.

Overall, are you saying you disagree with that statement?

Stan said...

Anonymous, let's see if I can clarify.

1. Jesus gave expectations/commands that I do not expect the enemies of Christ to obey. Your average billionaire won't be giving his riches to the poor because Jesus said to. The only way you're going to achieve that is by force.

2. This, of course, would extend to the "rich" that comprise almost all of America. (Indeed, the vast majority of America's "poor" are rich by most of the standards of the world.)

3. I do not believe that the primary motivation of Christ in commanding His followers to release their possessions was so that those with less could have more. Nor do I believe that Christ's main thought was to save lives. I say that with a fair amount of confidence, in fact. Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men that they can see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Biblically, greed is equated with idolatry. Biblically, the love of money (not money, but the love of it) is at the root of all kinds of evil. Relenquishing idolatry and distancing ourselves from evils is important. Bringing glory to God by doing so is paramount. (And, of course, I do not believe that if God thought that "every human being deserves necessities" that He would be incapable of providing every human with the necessities they deserved.)

4. I am not disagreeing with the notion that we love money too much and that we (who claim to be followers of Christ) ought to be surrendering more of what we have to meet the needs of others who don't have.

A question that no one has ever addressed (and, therefore, I'm not asking it of you, actually, but in general) is the question of who will take the gospel to the rich. Many have argued that we ought to be in rags living in poverty owning little or nothing and giving everything we have to others. If that is what God expected of His own, who would take the gospel to the rich? They're not going to listen to these people in rags. Who is going to do it?

Another question I have wondered without answer (so, again, not asking it of you). If there was a magic button put in front of you that, when pressed, would automatically increase the financial condition of every person on the planet so that they were above the necessary income to survive, but it would also increase the riches of the rich proportionally, would you push it?

Hamster said...

1. I believe that Christ was poor and owned very little

Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

2. We know Christ expected his followers to live simply
Mark 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse 6:9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.

3. We know that Christ expected his true followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor and follow him

Matthew 19:

21Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

(Luke 14:26-27, 33)So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."

4. And we know that Christ's disciples followed his command literally

Matthew 19:27Then Peter said to him (Jesus), “We’ve given up everything to follow you. "

5. And we know that those who followed the apostles after Christ's death also gave shed their worldly possession

Acts 2: 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

(Acts 4:32). All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions
was his own, but they shared everything they had.

When I read the entire context of the New Testament I see time after time Christians shedding their possessions and sharing with those in need .

It's easy to take apart the words of Scripture to justify anything: slavery, racial segregation, war, killing, polygamy, the "prosperity" gospel, divorce...you name it, and there's a Bible verse that people will use to override the message and spirit of Christ and justify whatever they want the bible to say
That's why so many Christians reject Christ's command to feed and cloth the poor, or his message not to divorce, or his message of peace , forgiveness and turning the other cheek... instead of war.

Read the life of Christ again with an open mind. Get an overview of what Christ was trying to say. What was his important message.
I try not to get hung up on the "popular" Christian causes like abortion , gay marriage , smoking, drugs, drinking, X rated movies.
Concentrate on the things he says over and over and over again.

Here is the message that reoccurs over and over again in one form or another in Christ's messages

Luke 12: 22Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifeb? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Listen to the overall message of Christ.

Stan said...

Hamster,

Here's the thing. The goal here is not -- never has been -- to "take apart" the words of Scripture "to justify" anything. I'm frankly sick and tired of being told that. Attributing to me a despicable motivation like that when I possess no such desire is insulting and unkind ... oh, and wrong. My goal is -- has always been -- to understand what Jesus said and meant.

So, you believe I'm some sort of evil person trying to justify ... what ... whatever you think I'm trying to justify while you are a self-proclaimed "admirer" but not a follower of Christ. You are apparently deeply concerned about whether or not people are rich -- other people, not you. You admit that you have more than you should and are unwilling to do anything about it. You are not concerned, on the other hand, about the mass murders of millions of children and won't do anything about that, either. To you, the "overall message of Christ" is poverty as a lifestyle. This has a very simple biblical term, and it was the one that Christ was most animated about. It's called "hypocrisy". Hypocrisy is when I condemn something in others that I do and demand that they repent but I won't. It was the message of the Pharisees for whom Christ reserved His harshest words.

You don't argue that Christ wants us to sell all our possessions. Therefore, you do as I do; you try to understand what He meant when He said, "Sell all your possessions." But, to you, when I do it I'm trying to justify sin and when you do it you aren't trying to justify something. You just claim to be not a follower of Christ and bemoan those who are for having ... much of anything at all.

So, look, let's try this. It is insulting to me to hear over and over again that I'm trying to justify something I'm not by twisting the words of my Lord and Savior when I'm not. The rule of commenting on my blog is "a friendly discussion of issues", and being intentionally insulting is not "friendly". Further, you've completely missed the message of Christ and the whole of Scripture. It is not "be poor". It is "repent". It is "saved by grace". And while you don't care if unborn children are murdered as a matter of convenience but are offended that everyone with anything (apparently more than you have) is evil, perhaps you ought to take your concerns elsewhere. You believe that true followers of Christ must live in poverty. You don't. Since Christ said, "No man comes to the Father but by Me" and you do not claim to be a follower of the only path to God, perhaps you should look to more serious concerns than whether or not I concur with your reading of Jesus's words on the topic of enforced poverty which you won't follow anyway. Please, if this is your one-note concern, feel free to argue your non-theology on someone else's blog from here on out.

Hamster said...

Sorry you took my comments as personal criticism.
I certainly didn't mean it that way and I apologize if you were offended by something I said that hit a raw nerve.
Nice discussing this with you

Stan said...

No, Hamster, it wasn't a raw nerve. It is the sheer hypocrisy of "You need to do this ... but I have no intention of doing it." It's the "holier-than-thou" pharisaical approach of "You know, any good Christian obeys Christ" without taking the time to figure out what Christ said, understand what He intended, or aim to do it yourself. Jesus comforted sinners in His time, but He cursed hypocrites. Your approach is the definition of hypocrisy.

Follower of Yeshua said...

Living vs. Existing
http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/820862/jewish/Living-vs-Existing.htm

Fellow Bereans,

In consideration of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler, what a test it is to each of us to examine what in our lives are idols and/or a source of pride. What a call by our Lord to set our eyes on things above and trust in Him alone. All that said, many points made in this ongoing discussion were valid and righteous, and yet, there was still a gaping hole in the conversation that left me uneasy. We don’t need to get silly and zealous over the words of our Lord, lest we become like the Pharisees, but this whole discussion that has taken place is certainly a valid one as it causes one to ask, what does it mean to truly follow Jesus. Let us be sober in our examination.

By the Lord’s providence, I opened a new window and visited Chabad.org as I had meant to listen to a message entitled “Living vs. Existing”. I believe the points expressed fill in a lot of the missing pieces of this conversation. Both believer and nonbeliever alike would do well to take the time to listen to it and ponder over it, and for believers to further examine it against the Word, and decide for themselves. Before you do so however, let us remember that many Jewish people have not yet come to recognize their Messiah (Jesus), and therefore, most messages on Chabad.org are not in agreeance with Christianity. There is a small side mention or two in this particular message of Kabbalah, which again is not biblical. However, this message is quite fabulous and satisfies this discussion on the rich young ruler and what Jesus was asking of Him.

So Believers, as you listen to it, let us remind ourselves Who we live for, and why we die to ourselves. Let us also remember the darkness that we were rescued from as we respond to the inquiries of those who are yet searching for the Truth. They are caught in the same smoke and mirrors that we once were, and it is only by God’s grace that we can speak from the other side of the fence.

And to you non-believers, you are here for a reason, it is not a mistake. The answer is the Son of God, Jesus, whose name is Yeshua, which means salvation, because He is Salvation.

http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/820862/jewish/Living-vs-Existing.htm

Lizabeth Parr said...

I guess that's why God invented highlighters, so we can highlight all the parts of the Bible that make us feel good, and ignore all the other parts that are too hard. Or we can at least explain them away.

Stan said...

Well, I would want to say to you "I guess that's why God invented brains, so we can try to read and understand what's being said," but I doubt it would help much. If it makes you feel better to think that Jesus was rightly insane to command His followers to "sell all your possessions" when He did not nor did they and it makes you feel good to disregard simple, standard reading techniques that help us understand what is being said, then, by all means, sell all your possessions. I personally consider it rude and unkind to not take the time to understand what someone says to me (and that rudeness is magnified when it's Christ doing the talking), but if you're happy with folks not attempting to understand your words and simply taking you at blank, face value, more power to you. In that case I have to bemoan your apparently woeful ignorance in suggesting that God invented highlighters. Or would you prefer I try to look beyond your simple words and figure out what you actually mean?

Mike said...

Hey Stan

I see that this was posted a while ago, but I hope to get your thoughts on this.

Regardless of how you read this - literally or as hyperbole - Jesus' command for the rich young ruler only further shows how impossible it is for him, or anyone for that matter, to be saved through works. So what if he did give away all his possessions? That does not fix the biggest problem of all: Sin and a broken relationship with God.

We're very much hung up on what we can do to be good or moral people, but Jesus didn't come to end hunger, bring peace, or make us 'better' people. He came to show us that we're rotten to the core, unable to obey the commandments, and in need of salvation. This is the basic gospel - just knowing that there's nothing you can do to earn salvation, and receiving forgiveness through faith in Jesus.

At the same time, there is of course conduct that is expected of someone saved, and you see that in example the Acts 2 church in the individual lives of each of the church members. Living in community, and selling and giving as each member had need, as well as reaching out to the unreached and destitute. These are things characterized as the result of lives changed by God.

I guess my point is that there is an underlying message to the rich young ruler. He could have still given away all his possessions and still not been right with God. It's a story about how much we come up short and are unable to achieve salvation by our own works. In fact, much of Jesus' ministry was exposing the flawed efforts of man trying to achieve their own salvation - just look at the Pharisees, they obeyed every command. Jesus said it best in the very same passage: What is impossible with men, is possible with God.

Thanks again for this topic, I enjoyed reading through it as well as all the comments. Hope to hear your thoughts!

-Mike

Stan said...

One quick point. Jesus could not be "saved through works" because He never needed saving. But I get the gist off your comment.

Certainly Jesus went to great lengths to demonstrate the impossibility of our meeting God's requirements for heaven. We already had the laws, but He said, "You've heard ... but I tell you ..." and heaped it on further. "Oh, you think you haven't committed adultery? Well I'll tell you that lust is adultery. You think you haven't murdered? I'll tell you that hate is murder." He ended up with "You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Not gonna happen.

Now, Jesus did tell the rich young ruler to sell all his possessions, but that was only one of the times He said it. I think that the reason He said it to the young man was because he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth." I think that Jesus said (to Himself), "Oh, you have? Well, let's see about that. How about the first one: You shall have no other gods. Your god is your money. So ..." and He demonstrated that the rich young ruler wasn't able even to keep the first commandment.

I see that, in fact, as the message to us all. Give it all away. Give it all to God. You may retain possession, but it's not your possession. It's on loan. And the moment you begin to think otherwise is the moment you step into idolatry. Literally or figuratively, sell all your possessions.

Anonymous said...

Seriously wow! Got ALOT of people thinking about this didn't you! I hope we are all applying these things to our lives.... as I am challenged too!

jonathan keyd said...

Okay, I know I'm years late with my reply but I've finally figured out the just of the Lord's saying "sell all that you have, and give alms." Just hear me out!

With examining Jesus' heavenly and sinless birth into the world, we see that he was never a slave to sin nor a slave to the world; He was unlike the rest of mankind (me and you) who are enslaved and indebted to a sinful and worldly life without god...Jesus himself told his followers "But take heart! I have overcome the world." (john 16:33) This means that by the way he lived on the earth, he remained disconnected and didn't love the world that he lived in for his 33 years of earthly living.

Jesus knew that in order for mankind (me and you) to overcome the world and defeat the dark and unseen powers of Satan- as he did, we would need the same power of the holy spirit along with obedience of his straight and forward commands.

Hence, the command "sell all that you have and follow me." Jesus knew that in order for anyone to follow him, they would have to forsake all that they owned in this world, and have to remain disconnected from the world and the things in it. This was done simply in order for one to always be ready for his second return to pick up those who were actually "prepared to leave" (Matthew 25:1-13)

Now as stated, we forsake all to get away from the bondage its en holds. Jesus himself said he was not from this world so he owned no possessions himself, not even his own bed...that doesn't mean he didn't sleep on a bed or have a pair of clothes to wear. because him being human he definitely did have these basic needs- He just didn't personally possess anything or was attached to any worldly item.

So can we have anything after we give/sell it up is the question????? Well In (I Corinthians 7:30-31) Paul said "and they that buy, as though they possessed not" and again he says "and they that use this world, as not ABUSING it"

The Lord wants up to remain disconnected from anything we have in our hands, ready to give it up at any moment....this includes everything even wife and kids.

A big lesson to learn from this act that Jesus COMMANDED to all christian disciples is contentment. where we as born again strangers to the world use only what is necessary to survive and make it. Again in (Philippians 4:11) Paul states that "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" that means satisfied with the fact that he's given up everything and only has what he needs.

But what does he need??? well again Paul states in (I Timothy 6:8) that "having food and clothing let us be content" Jesus said the same thing, knowing that when mankind (me and you) are following him we must be "strangers and pilgrims" to the world, needed only basic needs and expecting God to fully take care of the rest, giving us whatever our body lack...whether it be food, water, clothing, or shelter

Composer said...

To especially jonathan keyd -

1. So List the basics for us?

Do you call a home of your own a basic?

Do you own that home?

Is Rental more appropriate?

Do you have Cars (Plural) in your Family?

Do you own a Car yourself?

Is it an expensive one or a cheapy?

Why not walk or catch a Bus or Train?

Do you have a Bank savings account?

Do you have a Superannuation Fund?

etc. etc.

2. I have two Story book versions that never mention any term Satan in their narrative, so could you try preaching your Satan ideology from them (Both available on the NET!)

3. The biblical jebus is a 100% human fabrication based upon a Historical MYTH!

Stan said...

Composer, I've posted your unnecessarily argumentative and unsupported comment just for the sake of clarity. (I have one basic rule of commenting: Keep it friendly. That was not.)

It's a nice, wholly unsubstantiated statement to make that "The biblical jebus is a 100% human fabrication based upon a Historical MYTH!" (I will generously assume you mean "Jesus".), but the reality is that no substantive historian agrees. There is a lot of disagreement about the details of Jesus (see, for instance, the Jesus Seminar), but no one with any sense can really agree, given the variety of extra-Christian sources as well as eyewitness sources, that the biblical Jesus was a 100% fabrication based on a myth.

And, for the sake of discussion, a fabrication out of thin air without proof or even evidence doesn't make for a good argument.

Oh, and given your propensity to fight without evidence and converse without courtesy, don't expect more comments to be posted from you. It's a simply rule -- keep it friendly -- and you can't seem to handle it.

Composer said...

1. (Source: http://atheisttoolbox.com/bible_facts.php?fact_id=21)

Were the NT Gospels written by eye witnesses?

There is no evidence to suggest that any of the gospels were written by eye witnesses of the events described in them.


2. The sum total legitimate external evidence remains a constant zero!

3. As soon as I call you frauds out you fabricate excuses to silence me so you can keep your incestuous forum amongst like minded dupes & fools instead of wanting to know & hear & face the Facts successful Cult busters like myself unambiguously & legitimately manifest!

I accept your capitulation!

Stan said...

This, dear readers, is what passes for "friendly", "well-reasoned", reasonable debate. I'm sorry that's the best they can do. I'm sorry that they can't even do it without being as offensive as possible. I just wanted you to see the interaction. I'll avoid it in the future.

Stan said...

This is humorous to me. I am not one to dismiss arguments simply because I disagree, so in good faith I went to the source offered above (http://atheisttoolbox.com/bible_facts.php?fact_id=21). I got "Error 404" and the message, "The requested URL /bible_facts.php was not found on this server." Excellent! "Source not found." Very helpful. (Honestly, the claim is that "There is no evidence to suggest that any of the gospels were written by eye witnesses." It is not possible to present evidence of no evidence, so a source for such a claim would be somewhat meaningless, wouldn't it?)

As for the claim, Bart Ehrman, Please Convince Me, Dr. Zukeran, CARM, and J. Warner Wallace (at Stand to Reason) all pop up immediately and quickly as sources arguing that the New Testament was written during the "eye witness period". Paul himself claimed that Jesus lived, died, and rose again and offered 500 eye witnesses, most of whom were still living.

The claim, then, can only be not that there is no evidence, but "We don't accept the evidence, so it doesn't exist", a product of our current Age of Empathy -- "We don't feel like it's so, so it isn't."

Stan said...

This article gives an outline of the evidence for an early New Testament. There is a helpful chart that gives the dating of the earliest manuscripts.

(Note: The earliest known New Testament manuscript is from the Gospel of Mark ... and is possibly dated to the first century. That necessarily puts it in the eyewitness period.)

By the way, the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses. By that I mean that neither Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John were present at Jesus's birth. They weren't there when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Mark, in fact, may not have been there for any of it and Luke doesn't claim to have been. Of course, Mark is historically linked to Peter (who does claim to be an eyewitness to Christ) and Luke claims to have gathered his Gospel from eyewitnesses and careful investigation (Luke 1:1-4). John indicates that "We proclaim to you what we have seen" (1 John 1:3), clearly a claim to being an eyewitness. But in the strictest sense no one was there for the whole thing, (you know, like the angel talking to Mary), so it wasn't written by "eyewitnesses". This demand for the strictest sense of "eyewitness", however, doesn't bode well for the skeptic, since nowhere else do you find this kind of fanatical demand for "eyewitness" accounts in order to be believable. Nor does the fact that Matthew wasn't there for the proclamation to Mary demand a negation the reliability of the account.

Joseph Loerzel said...

If I said "Sell your cars." that means you are to sell all the cars that you have.

Stan said...

Your point?

Anonymous said...

A great thought-provoking discussion. What are your thoughts in relation to the link between what Jesus is commanding regards money/possessions and the mark of the beast - buying and selling. If we are in the 'end times', what should we be doing?

Stan said...

Two thoughts here.

1) I can see no correlation in the least between Jesus's words and the mark of the beast.

2) Christians from the days of Paul until now have all believed they were in the last days, the "end times". Obviously they weren't. We should be doing the same thing whether we are in the end times or not -- obeying Christ, sharing the Gospel, making disciples, glorifying God, expecting hardships.

Amy Larson said...

Thank you Stan for your article. I googled to find verses to include in my de-cluttering challenge on my blog and found this! Great insight!

Anonymous said...

........DON'T BE DECEIVED.........
if this is about selling all your possession, then Yeshua will have to sell his clothes and walk naked and Judas-the treasurer wont have money in his purse

The monks' lifestyle is similar to that of the ancient Babylon priests not Yeshua followers’. Peter was married and some other disciples were too.. so I think the monks are only imitating ancient Babylon and not Yeshua disciples: note that.even the priest in the old testament have families for example "Aaron"

......let me hint u this.....
this days we read peoples speeches word by word just because people of our contemporary society are highly crafty and deploy logic and philosophy in every matters...this will lead to CONFUSION which is the meaning of Babylon.... don't deploy these when it comes to the scripture but rather take the scripture from the beginning for clarity purpose

Stan said...

Kind of my point.

Daryl Farley said...

Stan, awesome blog! This is what I call true fellowship in Christ. Real meat here. It's taken me nearly 2 hours to read everybody.

Here's my take: Stan- All means All. As far as your conversation w/Steve ...casting pearls.

Phillip- I know it's been almost 2 years but I hope you and your wife haven't sold the farm.

Hamster & Caleb- Luke 5-32

Anonymous & Composer- We are all here in Jesus name FOR YOU!

Jesus was answering a direct question from a specific source. He told the rich guy what was required for his own personal redemption. We are likewise required to sacrifice anything that would interfere with our relationship with Jesus, whatever that may be. You will need to search yourself with all sobriety to find out what that may be.

We can see in the clearest capacity, a glimpse of the true nature of God in his demand on Abraham. He will tolerate nothing of a material source to stand between us and Him. As individuals, we are each uniquely qualified by His grace alone, to ferret out those things.

Phil. 4:6 'Be anxious for nothing...' We have one assignment in 2 parts on this planet and nothing else:

1)Love God with all your heart.
2)Love your neighbor as yourself.

God has assigned souls to the unborn. We can't take anything away from them, the same way we have all 'died in Christ' here and now, they are alive in Christ.

All sodomy is against the law. Romans 13: 1-7 says those who are outside the law of the land will be judged. Homosexuals AND hetero-fornicators will be held accountable at the Judgement seat of Christ. There is only one purpose for the elementary canal, period. Ask Christ to come into your heart and judge you now before it's too late. He will turn you, don't think we put ourselves above you, we don't. We are all guilty.

The prince of the air has us all within his grasp at any time. Resist any suggestion that you know in your heart to be false and he will flee.

Joseph Skinner said...

I'll agree with you. WE ARE.