Rain proceeded to try to make the argument from scripture, by adding to what scripture actually says. Rain said that Jesus gave instructions about "our" riches, when the text does not say that.
I think there may be a bit of legalism happening here. I agree that the word "our" is not found in the Luke 14:33 verse, but what we're trying to do is to understand the spirit of Jesus teachings. What is the purpose of Jesus asking people to forsake their attachments to materialism? It sounds like you've taken the "I do it in my heart approach" which could be fair enough. But what I've noticed is that the "in my heart" teaching seems to have become a loophole for millions of Christians which they use to avoid change. It's so easy to talk about theoretical spiritual discipline. I think this is why Jesus gave a command to actually do it.
You've not yet addressed the teaching where Jesus tells his disciples to go into all the world teaching other people to do as they themselves were taught to do. As for the forsaking of material possessions and living in community, we can see the disciples following Jesus' last instruction to them by teaching thousands of new Christians to forsake their material attachments and to share all things in common. Sharing is a fundamental value of the Kingdom of Heaven. Letting go is another.
If you want to take a message from that text, and apply it to us, the message would probably be to seek things of God first, and not be distracted by material possessions.
Thanks for sharing this. I've very happy to hear that you're willing to consider these teachings from a point of view which you'd normally not agree with. Could you please clarify for me what you think would constitute being "distracted by material possessions?" Thanks.
Rick wrote:So, the "whosoever" is the same in both verses. But the qualifier "you" or hymōn, is not found in John 3:16.
I think this could be another case of legalism rather than getting the spirit behind the teachings. In luke 14:33 the context is that Jesus was talking to a "great multitude". This could have been hundreds of people. The "you" is obviously plural in meaning. Using the example from the discussion rules I posted, the "you" is obviously not meant to be only for the people who happened to be reading the forum on that particular day when the rules were posted. It's a "you" meant for anyone who wants to participate in forum discussions here. It would be legalistic for a person to argue that the rules must be posted afresh for him each time he visits so that he can be certain the rule is meant for him.
I believe you are using a similar logic when it comes to Jesus' teachings on the root of all evil. It would be legalistic to expect Jesus to give a new personal revelation to each person in the world about forsaking materialism when he's already done so to his disciples whom he commanded to pass on the teaching to their disciples and their disciples pass the teaching on to their disciples etc.
Rick wrote:And second, Matthew 7:12 is a basic rule, consistent throughout the NT, that is found inherent in the command to Love God, and our neighbor as ourself. Matthew 7:12 is found throughout the NT.
Forsaking all is also a consistent theme throughout the NT. There are so many verses which talk about it; not only possessions, but friends, family, respectability and even our own lives. Anyway, forsaking is a method for applying the golden rule (i.e. do to others what you'd have them do for you). For example, lets pretend that you need help, but you don't have the money to pay for that help. Wouldn't you be happy if the person decided to help you for free, just because you need the help? Now you can understand the position of the majority of the world. Or maybe you could argue that the example is flawed because you DO have the money to supply all your needs so you don't need to rely on charity from another person. But isn't that a problem, too? Money gives us the freedom to NOT rely on one another for help. I realize the average Christian probably doesn't think about it this way, but that's exactly what the atheist uses money for. He doesn't need faith. He doesn't need to be thankful for food, or rain, or sunshine or life. He's doesn't need to trust an invisible God for his daily bread. He's got money.
When it comes to who we really trust for our daily bread there's not much practical difference between the 9-5 atheist and the 9-5 Christian.
And second, the idea of selling all we own, and living in a "Christian Community", certainly isn't found throughout the NT.
From what I can see, rain posted several verses from the NT about forsaking all. You commented on Luke 12:33 and Luke 14:33 basically saying you believe you are an exception to the teaching about dealing with materialism. What did you think about the examples from Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:34-37 which show the disciples teaching thousands of new Christians to forsake all?
I quoted Luke 12:15 where Jesus warns his followers to beware of covetousness because life is more than the things we own. You didn't comment on that.
There is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus; clearly a teaching about our relationship to money (Luke 16:19-30).
There is the parable about the sower; the seeds which fell in the thorns were choked by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matthew 13:22).
Then there is the parable of the rich man who built bigger and bigger barns to store more of his wealth (Luke 12:18-21). God called him a fool.
In Matthew 6:19 Jesus says not to store treasure on earth, but rather treasure in Heaven. In Luke 12:33 he says we get treasure in Heaven by selling what we have and using it to help the poor. You say this teaching only applied to the disciples of Jesus' time, but you can't really on the same "you" argument that you do for Luke 14:33 because he doesn't say "you". In fact, the record shows that he's talking to an "innumerable" crowd in this context.
In John 6:27 Jesus admonished the people who came looking for him because they were only interested in the food rather than the truth. He tells them to stop working for the food that spoils, but rather to work the works of God. This is nearly identical to what he said in Matthew 6:24-34 where he tells his followers to stop working for money and the things money can buy (i.e. mammon) and to start working for the kingdom of Heaven first.
He says we should not allow worry about food and clothing stop us from stepping out in faith. He says all the world seeks after these things, but that we should not be like them. We are called aside. Set apart. Born again. Transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are meant to be different. We can't do that when we continue living by all the same values of the world.
This them carries on when, in Luke 10:4-7 he gives his followers instructions on how to apply these teachings about seeking God's Kingdom and God taking care of them. He tells them to take nothing for their journey, no food, not extra shoes or cloak etc and that they should eat whatever people share with them along the way. Later, in Luke 22:35 Jesus references this same situation by asking them, "when I sent you without anything, did you lack anything you needed"? and they answered, "nothing".
Jesus performed this experiment with them because he wanted them to see that his teachings were real and they should be applied in practical life. They are not just "in my heart" teachings. They carry real value, but only when they are practiced.
Anyway, I could carry on with dozens more examples of this theme about materialism but I hope by now you'd be willing to acknowledge that this issue of materialism IS a consistent theme throughout the new testament.
I look forward to your response.