October 19, 2019

Last Word On My Rant

Please read this post first if you haven’t already. Then you can be good and worked up before you read the following.

If you are up to your backside in credit card debt, Dave Ramsey may have some advice for you that may help you get out of debt.

If your marriage is in trouble, going to a seminar like “I Want A New Marriage” may offer you some advice that could encourage one or both of you.

If you need to lose weight, eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables such as Daniel ate could probably help you shed pounds.

There. Happy?

Jesus did not come to offer us advice on how to live a good life. He is not Emmanuel—God with us—so we could become success stories in this life. Jesus came to die in order to break the power of sin and death. The way to life is now open to us, but we can only enter through the death of Jesus, and we can only live again (be born again) through his resurrection.

Do I believe Jesus cares about your marriage, your financial situation, your physical health? Only in this way: He wants you to die to it all.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:31-33 NIV)

Seek first his kingdom. His kingdom can only be entered by death: Jesus’ death, and then our receiving Jesus’ death as our death as well. Each day we must receive his death. Each day we must take up our cross and join Jesus in being dead. Only what is dead can be raised to life.

But if you don’t trust Jesus to live his resurrected life through you in a way that will bring glory to God, if instead you believe you can do it better by chasing after self-help books, CDs, seminars, radio programs, etc., then have at it. Buy them all and keep our economy spinning. On the other hand, if you are starting from a place of death and resurrection, and from this you find something in what Dave Ramsey says to fit with the life Jesus is now living in you, great! Put it to practice. If in this resurrected life you hear Rick Warren say something that encourages you to live a more healthy lifestyle, that is awesome. And if a marriage sermon in your church helps you and your spouse to love each other more, well, that is beyond awesome.

Just remember this. Jesus did not come to just welcome the fiscally sound, the physically fit, and those with rollicking marriages. He opened the door for the losers of this world. In Heaven you will be standing next to those who died in debt, those who weighed more than a VW Beetle, and those who were married and divorced and married and divorced and …

If you are striving to be a winner in this world, I would avoid Jesus if I were you. He wants you to lose. Lose your life, lose your hold on doing things your own way. But if you are willing to be a loser, then (here is where you expect me to say, “You’ll find you are one of life’s winners!” Sorry. Keep reading.) you’ll find great company. Most of the men and women we read about in Scripture were grand losers in the eyes of the world.

Ok. I’m done. Take it for what it’s worth. If you and your church want to have small groups every night of the week to deal with financial, marital, physical and who-knows-what-all challenges, go for it. You’ll no doubt attract a large crowd. As for me, you’ll know where to find me. Look for that small, rundown church that is barely making it, but each Sunday they do one thing: They preach Jesus Christ crucified.

That is the only life for me.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Jeff, for making the main thing the main thing; for putting the cart firmly behind the horse.

  2. Comfort. Convenience. Conformity. Safety. These are the chief impediments I can see to living the Christ-ian life. This is the sermon series I’d like to see, because I don’t know how to get release from these things.

  3. I sit here weeping for the Truth…and I thank you for writing it.

  4. Good to know there are other losers out there. Thanks for posting this.

  5. Like Steve Taylor sung, “Jesus Is For Losers”. I’m so thankful He is.

  6. As a recovering wanna be winner in this world, I am always glad to hear a word to the losers. I like my position as a loser a lot more, it’s a lot less stressful:)

  7. Read 1st post and comments and didn’t comment. Appreciate the effort at clarity Jeff, and more importantly for not backing down. I am with you and your last line, “the only life for me”… there is no other life. I am in debt up to ear lobes, have a failed marraige behind me, but no weight problem. 2 of 3. I can’t change either of them but take comfort in knowing Jesus still laid down his life for me and others in my shoes – sinners in need of grace, not self-help.

  8. Yes, yes, YES!

  9. Jeff, I love what you say. Thanks.

    Is it OK, though, if Gail and I go for the “rollicking marriage” part?

  10. what does Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount mean to you?

    I guess I get what you have been trying to say. Yes, we will not be winners in the eyes of the world. That’s because Jesus brought about an upside-down Kingdom when comparing it to this world. I loved the Imonk’s “when I’m weak” essay, it called us to own our brokenness, humanity, & sin, all of which I agree. But you seem to be moving the dial over to complete lack of care for one’s life, suffering, or service to God. You seem to be saying just do what you always do till you reach that “pie in the sky”. Which I think can be just as bad as “works-righteuousness”. I guess we just see the same cross from different sides.
    peace

    • “You seem to be saying just do what you always do till you reach that “pie in the sky””

      No that is not what Jeff is saying.

      Jeff is pointing to Christ and not to himself.

  11. david carlson says

    and he also calls us live for him, including our possessions. If there are members of a congregation who are not doing that, and can’t because of bad financial decisions, should the church:

    A – Ignore it. After all, all they really need is the preacher telling em their bad.
    B – Be practical and offer biblically based help with their finances so that they can live and treat possessions as God would have each of us do

    I am glad to take B. But that’s just me.

    • Or…….. was Jesus pointing out the young rulers self-righteousness and using money as an example of law. The law/gospel distinctive is very important for this passage and the sermon on the mount.

      • what is the Law/gospel distinction in the sermon on the mount? I would love to hear your take.
        peace

        • Matthew 5:
          The Beatitudes. See the following video http://www.youtube.com/user/Revfiskj#p/search/0/E2DNQxxZlSk

          Matthew 5:21-38. His demands are perfection. Just as what God demands in the 10 commandments is law, what Jesus demands is law. Here He expands upon the intent of the law which we cannot fulfill. So that is why He begins Matthew 17 with what He provides, His righteousness for us.

          What God demands (including God in the flesh, Jesus’) is Law.
          What God provides is forgiveness in the crucified Christ, i.e. the Gospel.

          • there are times in everyone’s life where they will have to make hard decisions. This is where the sermon on the mount comes in. It is Jesus’ blue print on how a follower of Jesus is SUPPOSED to act. We will come up short, –Jesus offers the grace we need when we ‘miss the mark’ (sin). I love the Grace of God but I also know following Jesus is costly. This is Jesus’ kingdom vision, this vision can change the world! Seeing the sermon on the mount as only a problem that does not fit in a Law/Gospel diagram – is a real problem. I can’t believe Jesus would spend so much time preaching the Kingdom of God – so we could try and explain away it’s meaning. —– I guess we will just disagree —love you anyway – the sermon on the mount requires it 😉
            peace

        • The problem is that the common American preaching is that God makes demands and Jesus is there to help us meet them with His help.

        • My post meant to say Matthew 5:17 regarding Christs fulfillment of the law not Matthew 17.

    • Yes, Option B – as long as everyone remembers that the purpose of the Gospel is not to provide “Biblically-based help” for your finances.

      The local Citizens Information Centre often runs courses for people needing advice on managing money or getting out of debt. There’s even “a national, free, confidential and independent service for people in debt or in danger of getting into debt”, MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) which provides help and advice.

      It’s entirely possible for a church to work in conjunction with such services and offer facilities for them to host courses or outreach groups on their premises.

      If we’re talking specifically religious charities, the biggest one in Ireland would be the St. Vincent de Paul society:

      http://www.svp.ie/about-us/history.aspx

      “The aim of the St Vincent de Paul Society is to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need.

      The concept of need is broader than financial hardship, so visiting the sick, the lonely, the imprisoned form a large proportion of the Society’s work.”

      My point here is that there is certainly no reason why the church shouldn’t provide help and advice, but (1) there is nothing specifically Christian about it – I’m not familiar with Dave Barry’s work, but the basic principles of getting out of debt and managing your money are presumably the same. Putting a Christian tweak on it by throwing in a few Bible verses is only misdirection UNLESS (2) we do as the VdeP reminds us – “need is broader than financial hardship” – visit the sick, the lonely, those in prison, those amongst us who need help with more than just paying bills (though that is urgent).

      The ultimate aim of the Gospel is to save our souls. We need to help one another, but “biblically-based help” is no better than secular help unless there’s something more there than just “Daniel 1:3 shows us the qualities necessary for success in our career”*

      (*and what if you’re not “without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace”? Seems you’re out of luck there!)

  12. Well-said. I’ve watched the conversation throughout the week without commenting. My wife and I are working on a church plant, and we’ve determined that resources like these are useful, and we will steer people to them if they need them, but we’ve seen churches that program themselves to death launching the new fad program, the one “magic bullet” that they believe will draw people into their pews (excuse me…stackable chairs).

    We’re starting simple…our goals are communion with God, community with one another, change (internal change that leads to cultural impact), and celebration of the good God we love. If some program doesn’t fit into one of those categories, we’re not doing it.

    Would a course on finances make it more possible for people to give? Maybe. Would a course on healthy marriages make us have more stable relationships? Possibly. You could make an argument that those things could fit into one of our aforementioned goals, I suppose. But those things aren’t going to be our focus. We’re going to devote our energy in simple ways.

    I went with my grandfather on a rabbit-hunting trip as a boy, and randomly fired my shotgun into a pasture at nothing, out of boredom. He stopped in his tracks, and said, “Son, what were you aiming at?” I responded, “Nothing.” He said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit nothing every time.”

    Could it be that we as Christians just don’t believe the Gospel is sexy enough to draw the masses into our church doors? That the Holy Spirit isn’t pervasive enough to change us and our lifestyle habits without us showing Him the areas that need to be changed? That the call of Christ on the cross just isn’t compelling enough to turn our hearts?

    I’m reminded of Derek Webb’s great line,

    “Should I read between the lines
    To look for blessings in disguise
    To make me handsome, rich, and wise
    Or is there more I’m looking for?”

    By the way, we have neither stackable chairs or pews…we’re still in the “bring your lawn chair to my living room” stage.

    • The gospel has never waned in its divine power. It is incorruptible. Good news. Amazing news. Powerful. Liberating. Transforming…

      Being that it is, well, ‘simple’ (yet profound), it is easily diluted with add-ons, caveats, laws, traditions, abuses, gilding, superstition, marketing ploys, etc. It is most times so camouflaged by the tents/tabernacles built up around it, it has lost its beacon beam drawing all men to Jesus…

      Today it seems most seekers have to navigate their way thru the maze of money changer’s tables to get to the Temple. Distraction upon distraction let alone downright desecration all getting in the way of the gospel…

      It is the sick in need of a doctor. And the gospel still is the power to save to those very needy people ‘poor in spirit’. Jesus did not come to call the self-helped, but the lost/needy to His side. Jesus, undiluted, pure, unshackled by men’s attempts to window dress Him into something more marketable than His radical call to absolute fealty to the Great King…

  13. “Do I believe Jesus cares about your marriage, your financial situation, your physical health? Only in this way: He wants you to die to it all.

    So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:31-33 NIV)”

    This is what finally makes what you have been saying make sense to me and I can see where you are coming from.

    For me, a portion of dying to self is understanding the concept of stewardship. Not in the context of worrying about the future, but in the context of “how best can I serve God with my time/talents/finances?’ And so I do not have a problem with churches teaching what stewardship means, because it is my daily life, the life that Christ came to redeem. Do I want Dave Ramsey on Sunday mornings? Absolutely not! But I do think there is room in the church for coming alongside others and teaching them how to live as stewards of what God has given them. (I don’t really think it needs to come with a $99 price tag though…)

  14. Randy Thompson says

    If you start a “how to. . .” ministry, life starts looking like, and being shaped by, your “how to. . .” If the only tool you have is a hammer, than every problem starts looking like a nail. I’d prefer to end up looking like Jesus.

    I just read Matthew’s account of Jesus and the rich young ruler this morning. Clearly, the young man had not only read his Bible, but had done what it said. But, he still sensed there was more. Jesus, the one in whom the law and the prophets are “perfected,” invited him to participate in that “perfection” through giving up all and following him. If you read on, the invitation seems to include leaving family, possessions, and wealth behind, so that by giving up everything that doesn’t matter you’re left with everything that does: Jesus and the Kingdom. I more and more believe that your finances, family and citizenship take a back seat to that. Is God anti-family, or against being a responsible steward? Of course not. But, “how to” Christianity runs the risk of making God’s good gifts into idols, if it’s not careful.

  15. I think the implication of the Dave Ramsey program, and most, if not all, Christian based self-help is that we are doing the practical, self-interested things, and thinking that this is what following Jesus is all about. We think we understand the distinction, but we delude ourselves. It’s Churchianity. It’s “do(ing) what you always do till you reach that ‘pie in the sky'”.

  16. Probably good to compare stuff we see today with I Cor 1:26-31. If what we see departs from Paul’s observation, it’s probably smart to shift into the “wise as serpents” mode.

  17. The healthier we can be, wiser we can be with our finances, and the better we can care for our marriages and families, the less of a burden we will be on our neighbor and the more in turn we can help them in their times of need. But sometimes, even as hard as we might try, bad things happen and regrettable decisions are made. I agree that there will be a lot of people in heaven we won’t expect to find there. Probably there will be more than a few people surprised to see you and I there.

  18. If you read the Bible carefully, you will find that weight loss is absolutely essential to salvation. Adter all, “the gate is small, and the way is narrow…” (Matt. 7: 14) How can we expect to squeeze through, unless our “burden” be “light”? (Matt. 11: 30)

    Here endeth the lesson.

  19. Ethan Magness says

    I think that this conversation has trapped us into a false dichotomy. It seems that we are assuming that a church which provides organized help for marriages or personal finances is necessarily soft on the gospel. Isn’t this the same critique that was once leveled at those churches that developed programs to feed the poor.

    I stand in full agreement with this follow-up post except in the implication that our pursuit of the purity of gospel means that we can’t stop to help our neighbor who is in the ditch. These programs can be a problem of course, and I am sure that sometimes they are done only to draw a crowd. But I resent the implication that most pastors and church leaders are out there trying to manipulate others with self-help programs.

    I don’t know why your friends want to study Dave Ramsey or why that church in Tulsa are doing a series on marriage or why Warren is doing that silly diet. But I know why I am planning a social event for 20 somethings and a colleague is leading a marriage retreat for mid February. Its because everywhere I look I see people in ditches or heading toward a ditch and I want to help them. You can be sure that when I have their attention I will tell them about the kingdom and I will call them to look beyond their own needs. But I serve a Lord who didn’t just tell people about the kingdom, he also healed people, and fed people, and I try to follow not just Matt. 6 but also Matt 25 and I try to lead my church to embody both.

    So let’s stay focused on Jesus. Let’s preach the full gospel, the life-giving and life-giving up, world challenging, cross carrying, die-to-self, live for other gospel. and let’s help those in need when we can. And when our attempts to help corrupt our gospel, then lets do better, but let us not give up. If we send the wrong message, let’s do better, but let us not give up.

    I stand to agree with you Jeff that many times our efforts to help those around us can become the main thing instead of a natural implication of our kingdom life, but this is a reason to do it better, not a reason to give up.

    • well said!

    • Yes! This is what has been bothering me about this post and the previous one. It assumes a certain mindset that simply can’t be applied across the board. Are there many churches that are entangled in programs to the exclusion of the gospel? Sure. But not all.

    • Salsapinkkat says

      ‘Like’! We run a Christians Against Poverty debt counselling service at our church providing holistic support, both on the debt front and with all sorts of other support (doing ‘shops’ for people in crisis’, praying with people, becoming friends with them etc). Often they don’t join the church, occasionally they turn to Jesus (hurray!) and the work is hard- but worth doing. We also run a marriage course because some of us are good at encouraging people onwards in their marriages. Surely if people in the Body feel passionately about helping others and are aware that Christ should be the centre, each of us needs to find his/ her own way of extending the kingdom of God, whether in promoting justice and mercy, or love.

    • “I think that this conversation has trapped us into a false dichotomy.” If not “trapped,” it’s still not clear enough in my mind, and I’ve read both posts twice.

      It’s clear that Jesus said our primary focus is to make disciples. But as a teacher/ elder, and based on my experience, I think it requires a sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading in specific individual and local church situations.

      On the one hand, we have people like Apollos, to whom Priscilla and Aquila “explained … the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26). There are books, DVD teaching series and seminars/ conferences like Ramsey’s that serve that end, “explaining the way of God more adequately” to those who already have teaching under their belt but perhaps need clarification, correction or additional practical applications.

      On the other hand, there are individuals like the rich young ruler for whom the question “What must I do …?” requires laying the axe to the root of his life, in this case the man’s wealth. The young man knew the commandments and had kept them, but there was an idol that stood in the way of his becoming a disciple.

      There are lots of reasons that programs and meetings clutter church life and actually distract from the priority of making disciples, and it would take more than a couple of blog posts or comments to explain why. But if we’re careful to make them serve that end we should be careful we don’t abandon useful tools and means because some aspects of they way they operate put us off.

      • I would have to respectfully disagree with your statement that “It is clear that Jesus said that our primary focus is to make disciples.”

        Jesus calls us to BE disciples, first, foremost, and forever. He doesn’t need ANY of us to touch a heart, although he certainly can use us if we are willing.

        The very first Christians spread the Gospel out of joy and wonder, not to increase their ranks or keep anyone else from “going to hell.” It bubbled out of them, and as cliche as it is, true faith in the Risen Christ is caught, not taught.

  20. Jeff writes, ” In Heaven you will be standing next to those who died in debt, those who weighed more than a VW Beetle, and those who were married and divorced and married and divorced and …” Hey, Jeff, that’s ME you are talking about…very in debt, overweight, and though not divorced, I am in a very difficult marriage. That makes me one of those “losers” you talk about. Hopefully, I will be a “winner” in Jesus’ eyes, though. I actually think Jesus does not care that I am overweight, but I care and I would likely hurt less if I weighed less. Thank you for reminding us that the people around us that may not LOOK like good little Christians may actually be the ones walking in the full and glorious light of Jesus. We just never know. Ever. At all. In the “end time” there is likely to be many, many surprises.

    • JD, you ARE a winner. You know those Ed McMahon envelopes that said, “You may already be a winner”? Well, you are! You are a winner!

      Jesus knows that you would like to weigh less, be out of debt, and have a good marriage. But he is not calling you or me to those things. He is calling us to Him and Him alone. And Joanie, he is worth it all.

      Thank you for being here! Thank you for sharing so freely of your heart with all of us. We are richer for it…

  21. Eddie Scizzard says

    “I would avoid Jesus if I were you.”

    That’s my plan, basically.

  22. “preach Jesus Christ crucified.” Respectfully, what does that mean?

    What does it mean for a person struggling to overcome an addiction, or a family with a child on a path to destruction, or a couple whose marriage is failing, or a person whose seeming inability to control their debt has left them suicidal? What does it mean to starving orphans in Haiti?

    I could go on and on, but I wonder whether when we gather as believers we should minister to the needs of each other, and the rest of humanity, as representatives of Christ and constituents of his kingdom.

    What is the praxis of a surrendered life? Worshipping in a “small rundown church that is barely making it”?

    I definitely agree with your suggestion that the commodification of our faith in McChurch distracts from the gospel, but I’m having trouble seeing how the kind of ministries you mention are bad things. It seems to me that they are exactly the kind of things Jesus did while he was in the flesh, and would expect his body the church to continue doing.

    Just my two cents worth…

    • I think it is a matter of focus. If your focus is on ‘doing’, at the expense of the gospel, then you are focusing on the wrong thing.

      If you are focused on the gospel, and as an outcome of that focus comes the ‘doing’, then you are focused on what is necessary.

      Even Jesus turned them away (the crowd) when they came after him looking for another free lunch (the next day after the feeding of the 5 thousand).

      He knew that it wasn’t a program to give them ordinary bread, but rather the True Bread from Heaven.

  23. One of the best pieces I’ve read on iMonk. No joke. This coming from a guy who is a hardnosed evangelical Calvinist.

  24. My only question, though, is this: can a person who claims to be a Christian and yet divorces unbiblically and remarries another person still have a place in the Kingdom of God?

    • Mark,

      I’m a Catholic who instinctively rejected Calvinism long before becoming Catholic was on my spiritual screen.

      Simple answer: YES.

      Long answer: Since you don’t know the details of the marriage, you don’t know what the internal problems of the marriage were. You don’t know, if the people being married the first time had a clear understanding of what marriage means. You don’t know if there was bad behavior hidden from view. (Before the angel came to him, Joseph was going to quietly divorce Mary, without revealing her suspected adultery)

      God is a forgiving God, that is one thing that he wants to do, more than anything else.

      Oh, and by the way, your phrasing of the question sounds like you are asking us to agree with your rejection of the person, “claims to be a Christian”, “divorces unblblically”

      But, from me, you aren’t going to get the answer you want.

    • No more than David, who committed adultery and then had the woman’s husband murdered to hide it, can be called a man after God’s own heart. 🙂

  25. Nice to see a lot of unfamiliar names in front of comments.

  26. I would love to see a reply from Jeff Dunn to Ethan Magness

    • I agree with Ethan. We shouldn’t give up. Churches should enter into the lives of those who call that church their home. That means getting down into the dirt and mud of everyday life, including financial problems, marital problems, health problems.

      Many pastors–such as the pastor of the church with the “I Want A New Marriage” series I mentioned in the original post—have no contact with their members. And by no contract, I mean they (he, in this case) has “ushers” to surround him when he is done preaching so no one can approach him. He does not meet with members of the congregation. He delegates that task to others and services as a corporate CEO rather than a shepherd. This is an organization designed to draw in new members, not meet the needs of those members who are hurting. (I have many, many firsthand accounts of this in practice from this church.)

      On the other hand, there are those churches who do enter in the hurts of their sheep, only to find the sheep bouncing around from pasture to pasture, wanting to be “fed” rather than led. There are numerous pastors of all denominations who give tirelessly of themselves to serve in any way necessary to help those in need, only to be thanked by the person then scampering off to another church in town who happens to entertain better.

      I agree wholeheartedly with Ethan. Let’s not give up. But I stand by my original rant: Programs designed to attract crowds or tickle ears have nothing to do with the Gospel.

      Amen.

  27. I would totally agree with Jeff that the financial, weight loss, marriage, etc seminars and classes that chuches put together are not the gospel, and that Jesus did not come to teach us to do those things. However, we might look at these things as different ways for us to show God’s love. If the church is able to provide programs that help people learn to stay out of debt, eat healthier, have more peaceful families, etc, that seems to me to fall under the same broad heading as feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. That is, the church uses the resources available to alleviate suffering. But again, I wholeheartedly agree that Jesus was not just some self-help guru, and His mission was not to teach us how to have our Best Life Now.

  28. Most folks love to nod in agreement at this sort of ranting, until it’s their sacred cow that’s getting shoved into the slaughterhouse chute. Then the “yeah but’s” start to fly. This many long-winded responses is usually reserved for arguments over a subject like baptism. Well stirred sir.

  29. Can I just give a word on what I think Dave Ramsey does for the Gospel? I certainly don’t think he has an authoritative knowledge of Scripture, nor do I agree with much of what he says when he interjects his faith into his program.

    However, I do know this: money and finance reaches to our core and affects just about every area of our life. This is not unlike faith in that respect. Our faith is weak when we are selfish and we live for immediate pleasures rather than for the long term. Also I think faith is tied to our desire for wisdom and our idea of stewardship.

    That said, this analogy works for things like marriage/family issues and any number of other things. Are they the same as the Gospel? No, but I do think the Gospel permeates your entire life, and these other aspects of life will be changed as well. If these things don’t change, then there is likely an inhibition of the Gospel on your life. The Bible says a lot about money, and not much of it is a command on what you should do with your money, but about having the right attitude about money. Much of what you’ll find is proverbial in nature–that is, wisdom. If you think that the Bible’s wisdom literature is not that valuable, I think you’re missing something. I think you’re missing something when you disparage the use of the proverb “The borrower is slave to the lender.” It’s biblical, and it happens to be true.

    A specific thing I have learned as a result of Dave Ramsey–not necessarily things he specifically said, but conclusions I have come to because of some bits that he has said is that if you are relying on debt to get you the things you want, that evidences either a lack of faith that God will provide for you or an attempt on your part to rush God’s timing. If you don’t think it increases your faith to trust God to provide when you cut up your credit cards, I’m not sure where you are coming from. Also, it is thoroughly biblical that being wise and shrewd and hard-working leads to becoming wealthy. Not that being wealthy is itself the goal–nor that you can be wise and shrewd while also ignoring your family or the fellowship of belivers because you work too much–but because you are not in slave to debt you can be a better slave to righteousness (i.e. using your wealth to serve others)

    There is a difference between being obsessed and worried about money; and paying attention to and being wise with your money. Ramsey teaches the latter, not the former.

  30. First of all, I must say that I hate it when Christians criticize each other as you have done here. (Even when we think we’re right or justified in saying these things.) I don’t think the world will read this and say of us, “Behold, how they love one another.” Wasn’t that the way of the Pharisees to look down their noses at others who didn’t follow THEIR way of doing things?

    Secondly, I believe Jesus died to redeem the whole person–body, soul and spirit. And I believe He wants to transform me–body, soul and spirit. And since the church’s divorce rate is the same as the world’s, I think the church had better be addressing marriage issues. And since Christians are as woefully in debt as the world, the church must address money issues as well. Jesus did! I don’t see how your message and the ‘help’ messages are mutually exclusive. If you want to improve your marriage, isn’t death to self the best way? If you want to get out of debt, isn’t self-denial the best way? Preaching Christ crucified is not just a means to get me to heaven when I die, but it also helps me to be a Christ-follower in every area of my life–body, soul and spirit–as long as I live on the earth.