Wednesday, June 06, 2007
What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?
What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? by Dr. D. James Kennedy (1994)
I've been reading through this book and have been really blessed. Today's society makes being a Christian a challenge because of negative connotations. Dr. Kennedy goes through the positive contributions that Christians have made to civilization. It is refreshing!
Today I was reading about "Free Enterprise And the Work Ethic", Chapter 8.
"If Jesus had never been born, it is unlikely that capitalism and the free enterprise system - which has brought unparalleled prosperity to billions of people - would ever have developed."
Dr. Kennedy, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7). So many other religions teach principles that are devastating for a society's economy. He gives an example of Islam and it's fatalism which "has kept the Muslims from progress because human initiative can accomplish absolutely nothing, and all that is, Allah has fated; therefore they are left in perpetual stagnation." If you look at Muslim countries you see the super rich and then the majority of their people. It's this majority of people who live in abject poverty with women and children treated as chattel. But countries with a majority of Christians have a better standard of living for the majority of the population. You still have the super rich and the poor but the majority have a good standard of living.
In the Ten Commandments are God's views on private property (Thou shalt not steal -and- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house or anything that is thy neighbor's, Ex 20: 15-17) Private property is the foundation of capitalism and it is the means of production and the motivation for production.
In Acts 5 Ananias and his wife sold some land and gave some of the money to the Apostles. They lied and said they were giving it all when actually they conspired to withhold some. God struck them dead for lying about it. The Apostle Paul said, "While it remained, was it not your own?" This is an implication that their property was their own. It was not wrong to own it. I think it was wrong to lie about the price. It showed pride in their desire for the congregation to think they were giving all in order to recieve appreciation and status. The fact that they hoard away a portion and lie about it shows a greedy heart. They weren't trusting God but were trusting their little hoard, their little secret savings.
Dr. Kennedy reminds us God gave Adam a job BEFORE the Fall. Work was not a curse. God commanded Adam to tend the Garden of Eden. This shows work is an important part of man's life and can be satisfying, fulfilling, can exercise mankind's creativity and initiative. It was AFTER the Fall that work was affected by sin in the world and the results of a Fallen Earth. Jesus brought dignity back to work. He was raised in a carpenter's family and he helped Joseph many times. He probably took over Joseph's carpentry business after Joseph's death until Jesus turned 30. Then He could leave it in His brother's hands and commit Himself to ministry. If work wasn't too good for God's Son, the Messiah, then it's not too good for us.
He gives a good summary of the roots of free enterprise. Christians, who practise Christian principles, have a better foundation for prosperity. We all know that Christians are still human beings and still sin, but if we are living as Christ admonishes us...
1) We aren't consumed with anxiety and worry which frustrates a limits a person's ability.
2) We have the supernatural aid of God, who gives us the strength, ability and opportunity.
3) We have wisdom and creativity that comes from God.
4) We are given the power to persevere when others might give up.
5) We have a purpose, other than ourselves.
He says this is called the Christian Work Ethic.
"(Christians) produce more than they even want of this world's goods. Therefore, they are enabled to give far more. They are enabled to save far more. They are able to invest more...They no longer drink or gamble away their money, and often for the first time they begin to save for the future."
I don't spend my money on liquor, beer, cigarettes, pornography, gambling, prostitution, drugs, clubbing, etc. But I do give to my church and others. God blesses this giving and trusts us with more.
He looks back in history and made some interesting observations.
"Even as recently as 1780 in Germany, fewer than 1,000 people earned $1,000 a year or more...The greatest growth, therefore, dates beyond 1776. From 1800 to 1850, with inflation out of the picture, real wages quadrupled. From 1850 to 1900 real wages, after inflation, quadrupled again so that in the nineteenth century actual wealth and income increased 16 times over. The world had never seen anything like that before! This was true in England; it was even more true in America, where free enterprise had its freest reign."
"To decapitalize any nation would be to reduce it to the plight of India, where people eke out a living pushing a plow just as in the Middle Ages."
"It is incredible to me that we - who have achieved the greatest materialist, economic civilization the world has ever known that, even in the midst of a depression, we are so vastly better off than most of the nations on the face of this earth - are willing to trade this in and to adopt the system of socialism, which over and over again has reduced the level of living of the average person greatly."
"In this century, we've seen government eat away some of our prosperity by trying to carry out by force the Christian ideal of helping the poor. We believe this has been a misguided effort that has hampered prosperity and has actually hurt the poor by hurting productivity. Because state-sponsored welfare has not considered what the Bibe says about human nature and what it says about economics, these programs have overall been an abysmal failure. We have more poor per capita than when we started. Because of it's messiah complex, today the government preempts the work of the church and tries to meet the problems of poverty by government-subsidized programs."
"Should we not be concerned for the poor? Absolutely. Local churches, private charities, families being concerned about people, community charities helping people - these have been the ways that America solved this problem for almost 300 years...We have decided to help the poor through the socialistic method of government intervention, which has never worked anywhere else."
"For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10
"The apostle knew that people incline toward evil and so we incline idleness and laziness. Some will avoid all opportunities to work if they can, but the apostle makes it clear if one will not work, he or she is not to eat...This verse does not refer to a person who is not able to work. The Scripture has a great deal to say about caring for (the disabled)."
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