In 1977, Ron Sider published the significantly influential Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, which criticized the western Christianity’s acquisition of wealth and material goods, and ambivalence towards third world poverty. Sider argued that to follow the example of Christ meant a literal denial of wealth and possessions.
John Schneider, professor of business at Calvin College offers a capitalist response to Sider’s theology of wealth. His book The Good of Affluence argues that the wealth, comfort, and pleasure accessible to Christians in a western culture can be consistent with the demands of following Christ. While avoiding the problems of the prosperity gospel, Schneider maintains that material wealth can be received as a blessing of God. He further argues that economic wealth can be an important asset towards enabling the work of the church.
- As a Christian, have you ever felt convicted because of things you want or own?
- How have you personally responded to the problem of third world poverty?
- Do you believe the luxuries available to those in western capitalist culture’s are appropriate for Christians considering the poverty of those in the 3rd world?