Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews. He is the author or coauthor of more than thirty books, including The Jesus Quest, The Paul Quest, and the New York Times bestseller The Brother of Jesus. He is also a frequent contributor to Beliefnet.com and has appeared on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN.
In this comprehensive review of statements in the Bible about economics, wealth and poverty, New Testament scholar and author Witherington (The Brother of Jesus) analyzes canonical texts and their contemporary applications for Christians. Aiming to help the faithful avoid perils of “selective misuse” of scripture (the sin of prosperity preachers who focus on the Jabez prayer and isolated wealth proverbs), Witherington uses a creation theology lens: “all things ultimately belong to God.” While acknowledging the wisdom of Old Testament guidance, the author urges a “New Testament theology of stewardship and giving,” which calls Christians, guided by the Lord’s Prayer, beyond tithing to sacrificial giving. From unpacking perplexing gospel stories like “the dishonest steward” to offering concrete advice on how to separate from a culture of conspicuous consumption (discerning between necessities and luxuries and practicing debt forgiveness are among the practices he advocates), this cogent, accessible scholarly analysis contributes to the current economic conversation and urgently calls people of faith to review and reform their role as God’s stewards. Appendixes include popular Christian myths about money, and a powerful and apt 18th-century sermon on money by John Wesley. (Jan.)
Jesus and money is something of a departure for the prolific Witherington, whose prior works mostly focus on New Testament scholarship. Sadly pertinent to the current economic situation, this book examines Scripture with diligence and intelligence, seeking the teachings of Jesus and his followers on wealth, poverty, giving, and debt. Best of all, Witherington includes an appendix of ten myths about Christians and money that, rightly understood, are stinging rebukes to the adherents of the so-called Prosperity Gospel. VERDICT For all Witherington's scholarship, this work should nontheless be accessible to most readers. It offers ample evidence for Witherington's assertions about what Jesus might have made of our current economic predicament.
Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the author or coauthor of more than thirty books, including The Jesus Quest, The Paul Quest, and TheNew York Times bestseller The Brother of Jesus. He is a frequent contributor to Beliefnet.com and has appeared on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN.
Prequel: Reconsidering the Value of Money in Hard Times
1. "In the Beginning God Created . . ." Getting Our Bearings
2. A King's Ransom: Proverbial Wisdom on Wealth
3. Money in the Bartering World of Jesus
4. Jesus and the Treasure Hunt
5. James's Rich Wisdom
6. Luke on Poverty and Wealth
7. Paul on Work, Remuneration, and the Love of Money
8. John of Patmos and the News Flash for the Merchants and Mr. 666
9. Toward a New Testament Theology of Stewardship, Money, and Giving
10. How to Deprogram Ourselves from a Lifestyle of Conspicuous Consumption and Self-Gratification Appendix 1: Ten Christian Myths about Money Appendix 2: John Wesley's Sermon "On the Use of Money"