Does Luke Want All Christians To Be Poor? (Part 1)

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No house slave is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he, himself, will be devoted to one and think little of the other. You are not able to serve God and wealth. Now the Pharisees, who were being lovers of money, were hearing all these things and were ridiculing him [Jesus].

— Luke 16:13–14[1]

Luke’s Gospel has been the focus of numerous studies on wealth and poverty, and, as the longest New Testament (NT) document, Luke is integral to our understanding of faith, work, and economics (FWE). Popular approaches to Luke’s teachings include: a “prosperity” approach that views Luke through the windows of wealth,[2] and a “liberation/social” approach that understands Luke from the plight of the poor.[3] However, both approaches are problematic.

For example, the so-called “prosperity” approach equates spiritual health with material wealth. Like Job’s “friends”—who assumed that, given Job’s suffering and lack, Job was an egregious sinner (Job 4:7–8; 22:5)—many prosperity proponents believe that wealth is indicative of godly living. Luke reveals that this statement may (Luke 7:5; 19:1–10) or may not (Luke 12:16–21; 18:18–25) be true. Christians should not give merely to receive (Luke 6:34–35). The gift of salvation is free (Rom 5:15–16; Eph 2:8–9). …Read More.