Is believing in the bodily resurrection of Jesus necessary?

by Richard on April 25, 2006

Respected evangelical theologian N T Wright says “No”

“I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection,” he says carefully, citing another eminent scholar, American theologian Marcus Borg, co-author with Wright of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.
“But the view I take of them - and they know this - is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment.
“Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection.

Michael Bird takes issue

What can be said here? Well, first, Wright still thinks that denying the resurrection is not a good thing - so let’s give him that much. Second, Wright has some friends who are non-orthodox in their belief about what happened to Jesus and they still believe that Jesus is (somehow?) “Lord”, e.g. Marcus Borg. He evidently doesn’t want to call them sub-Christian and I can undestand that too. But here is where I must part company with a resounding “Nein”! Here’s my take…

Ben Myers takes up cudgels on Wight’s behalf

I think Mike is exactly right about the centrality of resurrection in the primitive Christian kerygma. But the crucial question is whether any particular theological interpretation of resurrection belongs to the heart of the gospel. And it seems to me that the New Testament itself resists such a view. In fact, the New Testament witnesses don’t offer any precise theological interpretation of the resurrection. None of the Gospels tries to describe or explain the event of resurrection at all—rather, the resurrection is precisely the mystery at the centre of the story of Jesus.

…and a lively conversation ensues in which my friend Kim comments

I don’t like the discourse of “You have to believe X, Y or Z in order to be a (proper) Christian”, and Jenson too says that “doubts about the empty tomb are not in themselves doubts about the resurrection”; and, obviously, the empty tomb is not a sufficient conditon for resurrection-faith. But it does seem to me to be a necessary condition. The exegesis against it is laboured, counter-intuitive, unconvincing. And if a “spiritual body” may be unimaginable, and its metaphorical language verge on collapse - what else?!; while the idea of a “spiritual resurrection” is just plain bizarre.

At the risk of sounding like a horrid fence-sitter, I’m going to agree with everyone I’ve quoted here! The whole point of the Resurrection is surely that it is ‘bodily’. First century Jews would not have been able to talk of anything else. The Resurrection appearances of Jesus make it plain that the risen Christ is not merely some disembodied spirit. However, and this is equally clear, the body of the Risen Christ does have some rather unusual properties as bodies go. He can, for example, arrive through locked doors and then disappear at will. The resurrection is bodily, but as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, the body the days is not the same as the body that is raised: “What you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel…”

I can’t pretend to know what a “spiritual body” might be. I suspect that it takes us to the edge of our language’s ability to speak of these things. But it does seem to me to indicate that, yes, Christ was raised ‘in the body’ but (as a previous Bishop of Durham famously remarked) that raising was ‘more than a conjuring trick with bones’.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Phillip Fayers 04.25.06 at 10:05 am

I think I see where N T Wright is coming from. It’s something which Caleb commented on when he started writing up a series on Revelation. Caleb was writing up notes from a conference and he pointed out that, in the letter to the church at Pergamum they are commended as being faithful, even though they are making some doctrinal mistakes. To quote:

It’s interesting that the church was considered faithful even though their teaching and beliefs were wrong. You’d think that the two wouldn’t go together, but the church was obviously still dedicated to Jesus even though they were doing lots of wrong things.

I think I see the same sentiment in what N T Wright was saying. He’s sort of asking the question “Is doctrine really that important?” Take a look at his piece on How Can the Bible be Authoritative? and you get a better idea of the thinking behind the statements.

2

Eugene McKinnon 04.25.06 at 2:26 pm

After preaching about the Gospel of Judas and how the Gospel of John would be able to counter the work I believe that the resurrection is bodily and that failure to believe in the bodily resurrection leads one down the path to Gnosticism and to other dangerous beliefs such as God the Creator being evil, the Creation and the human body being bad. So ‘yes’ I believe that the bodily resurrection of Christ is essential to Christian belief.

3

Kim 04.25.06 at 2:57 pm

Eugene,

You might like to know how the comment of mine that Richard quotes (above) continues (at Faith and Theology):

” . . . It is, in fact, gnostic - docetic - which is an inevitable characteristic of liberal (idealist) theological thought. Jesus was created blood and guts and he was re-created blood and guts; the new heaven and new earth will contain beauty for the eye (visions) and the ear (symphonies);
meanwhile we eat bread and drink wine.”

But while I, with you, “believe that the bodily resurrection of Christ is essential to Christian belief”, nevertheless, with Wright, we all (don’t we?) know many Christians with (if you like) “impaired” belief who “love the Lord”. Scratch the surface of any orthodox Christian and you will soon enough encounter some heresy. We are certainly not “saved” by “sound” doctrine - which itself would be a form of gnosticism! Sound doctrine is ultimately an eschatological concept. Only in heaven do the saints confess the creeds without need of hermeneutical suspicion and deconstruction!

4

Dave Faulkner 04.25.06 at 3:14 pm

There is a lot I could say, but perhaps this might be helpful? My research supervisor Richard Bauckham used to say that ’spiritual body’ in 1 Corinthians 15 must mean ‘a body animated by the Holy Spirit’. I hope that’s constructive for some.

5

Darius 04.25.06 at 4:33 pm

“Spiritual body” strikes me as a very clever phrase coined by Paul to quell the numerous questions raised in his time by the idea of bodily resurrection.

These questions have been resurrecting ever since.

It is hard for me to see that “spiritual body” has any more meaning than “rounded square,” or “Kleenex cement.”

Thanks for the opportunity to post, Christians with different points of view are often not receptive to dialog…

6

Eugene 04.25.06 at 4:33 pm

I don’t think we are saved by sound doctrine either, we are saved by Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected. And part of that resurrection is that he bodily arose from the dead and so will we.

Eugene

7

Kim 04.25.06 at 5:05 pm

You’re a lucky bugger, Dave, to have had Bauckham as your research supervisor. Along with Wright, he’s got to be one of the most creative of contemporary NT scholars. The eighty pages of God Crucified is truly ground-breaking.

Thanks for his take on the soma pneumatikon of I Corinthians 15:44 - though it is hardly Bauckham’s fault that the exegesis is not in dispute! C. K. Barrett, for example, in his commentary on I Corinthians (published in 1968), likewise observes that “Spiritual does not describe a higher aspect of man’s [sic] life; the noun spirit (pneuma) on which it is based refers to the Spirit of God, and the spiritual body is the new body, animated by the Spirit of God” (the last six words my italics).

Some might say that this is to explain the obscure by the more obscure! But there it is: Paulus dixit. The rest has to left to the theological imagination. A good place to start might be with the aesthetics of the soma pneumatikon, i.e. with idea of its beauty (beginning, to be sure, with the deconstruction of the cat-walk beauty of the fashion industry).

8

DH 04.26.06 at 1:35 pm

I’m with Eugene on this one. The fact remains is that when the disciples andMary went to the tomb the tomb was empty andthe physical body of Jesus was gone. The resurrection was both physical and bodily. Bible doesn’t give details on His resurrected body? Thomas “FELT” the nail pierced hands. True he was able to transfigure Himself through walls but that doesn’t contradict Christs physical resurrection. To deny the physical part of His resurrection is denying essential Christian belief.

Christs glorified body was Spiritual and physical explains it pretty clear.

I knew from the beginning that NT Wright seemed “off” to me but I couldn’t pin point it. Now I know my concern wasn’t unfounded.

9

Kim 04.26.06 at 4:48 pm

dh,

Wright couldn’t be clearer: he himself believes in the glorified body of the risen Jesus, and he thinks that those who do not are “muddled”. Presumably you agree. It is just that Wright refuses to unchurch the “muddled”, to declare that they are not “real” Christians. This is not being “off”, it is what McLaren calls a “generous orthodoxy”, a refusal to judge Christians on a tick-the-box basis.

You often, I fear, jump to conclusions - and your exegesis of John 20:26ff. is a glaring example of such over-hastiness. Jesus invites Thomas to touch his wounds, but the text does not say whether or not Thomas took up the invitation; indeed it suggests that he did not, as “Jesus said him, ‘Do you believe because you see [not touch] me?’” (v. 29). It would seem that for Thomas sight was sufficient.

10

DH 04.26.06 at 5:58 pm

Hasty in light of “put my”: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” I think if you look at the original Greek “see” (i2 a : to have experience of : UNDERGO b : to come to know : DISCOVER c : to be the setting or time of) it would include the understood touching of the nail marks. The previous definition of see does include the physical touching possiblity and hense using “see” doesn’t contradict the concept of “touching”. Also, since Thomas believed Christ then it doesn’t make sense to disobey Him when He told him a directive to “touch the wounds”. If he did disobey Christ and just saw I’m sure Jesus would have asked him “why aren’t you heading My voice”.

No one is “judging” anyone but pointing out what God saysin His word. There is a difference. I personally don’t believe any “so-called Christian” who doesn’t believe in the physical resurrection can be a Christian. “If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that GOD HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD (bold isn’t yelling but for claritiy :)) you shall be saved.” This isn’t any person judging but stating what God says about Salvation. Again, there is a difference. Even the Bereans “tested the spirits”. Even Paul says “beware of false prophets and false teachers”. To me it seems strange to go against God’s Word in the Epistles with regard to false teachers,etc. How does “Generous Orthodoxy” address false teachers and false doctrine when Paul addresses what to do with regard to these issues specifically? MacLaren, if in the 1st century church (what he claims to try to be close to) probably would be the type to call Paul insensative, judgemental, etc. to me this seems prejorative but that is my opinion.

11

Sally 04.26.06 at 9:17 pm

I wonder sometimes if our fear of alienating others or refering to the as sub-Christians holds us back from saying what we truly believe. Frankly I am surprised to hear this from NT Wright…or is he simply provoking thought and dialogue again.
I believe for what it is worth in the physical ressurection, but must qualify that with the remark that the physical appearances of Jesus had an other worldly or spiritual quality to them. He was able to appear and diasppear, e.g.in the room behind locked doors the disciples found Jesus amongst them and no-one had opened the door, yet he was physical enough for Thomas to be able to touch his wounds! Walking and talking on the road to Emmaus he simply disappeared after breaking the bread with his fellow travellers.
We may have to accept that this is one of the mysteries of God we will not be able to explain in concrete terms…it simply is. How hars we find it to live with mystery and wonder…

12

DH 04.27.06 at 1:23 pm

Sally, I really enjoyedyour response here. Your explaination wasvery good. One thing wedo know is that it was a physical resurrection.

I was thinking about this the other day,Sally. I wasreading Mark 9 When Jesus showed the disciples Moses and Elijah transfigured in front of them. It also says “After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.”

I was wondering if this was a forshadowing of Jesus being able to transfigure himself through doors and walls after the resurrection? Thanks for your insight on this and the wonderful candor and attitude. You really helped me to understand and confirm what I believe by Faith on this subject.

13

Robert 08.05.10 at 7:22 pm

Anyone who does not believe in the bodily ressurection of Christ is not a Christian and has no chance of salvation. Thus why Paul says “[if] Christ is not risen then your faith is vain; ye ar yet in your sins . . . we are men most miserable.” If you do not believe Christ was ressurected bodily how can you believe that we will be rise again bodily on the last day? How can you say “This corruption shall have put on incorruption, and this mortality shall put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where us your victory?”
A person who does not believe that Jesus bodily should be consistent and say “O Jesus you have no victory,” “

14

b. ludlow 04.04.11 at 1:34 pm

I think the vision Paul saw was different from the disciples etc. He aligns himself with the disciples’ experiences as a witness, but I think he had a vision and the disciples saw him physically.

15

Earl 04.04.11 at 6:32 pm

The bodily resurrection of Christ is non-negotiable. It is the break point between Christian faith and everything else. All intellectual squirming and excuse making not withstanding, one can laud Jesus, admire Jesus whatever without believing in his bodily resurrection. But one cannot believe in Jesus as revealed in the New Testament without believing in his bodily resurrection. To pretend otherwise is not orthodoxy generous or otherwise.

16

Kim 04.04.11 at 7:07 pm

One of those rare occasions, Earl, when you are absolutely right. If the resurrection is “spiritual” or metaphorical, the hell with it. But you might try consistently following through the theo-logic of the physical resurrection of Jesus and its inauguration of the new material creation when it comes, e.g., to ecology, poverty, health care, etc.

17

Doug 04.04.11 at 8:20 pm

Kim, Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world. When it comes to the physical resurrection of Jesus it is for “..as many as receive to them He has given them power to become Sons of God.” The most important thing that Christ has done for us is by Faith in Christ’s death and resurrection eternal life. “Tho I give all I have to the poor and have not love I’m a clanging gong.” That is not to say that we should do all we can for the poor and environment. However we must understand that God’s Kingdom is not of this world and that eternal life and a relationship with Christ with all of our being is the most important.

18

Mendip Nomad 04.04.11 at 8:55 pm

The Kingdom is not of this world? Then why was this world made in the first place? And why did Jesus talk of the Kingdom as being amongst us if it wasn’t of this world. Furthermore, my limited understanding is that the Greek word often translated Kingdom can just as easily, and possibly more correctly, be translated Reign - and surely God reigns in this world?

Also, I’d really like to know from those of you who claim that faith is the one and only key to salvation and eternal life how you understand Matthew 25.31ff. When Jesus describes the separation of the sheep and the goats no mention, none whatsoever as far as I can tell, is made of faith - indeed, neither the sheep or the goats recognised the King. Instead, the deciding factor seems to be only how they reacted to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. Honestly, how do you square that with your “Believe fully in the death and resurrection of Christ or you’re damned for all time” theology? (And I’m not claiming there aren’t other chapters and verses you can quote to contradict this one, but rather that the picture you give of clarity and certainty is simply not there in the way you claim - to quote your seemingly favourite author in the NT, St Paul: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly.”)

19

Earl 04.04.11 at 9:54 pm

“theo-logic of the physical resurrection of Jesus and its inauguration of the new material creation when it comes, e.g., to ecology, poverty, health care, etc.” Can’t see that this is a problem. Individuals are free to make their own decisions as regards any issue. That is only right. There is a problem when such logic is only a stage prop in the mouth of a politician or spokesman seeking to advance a socialist agenda as normative to the exclusion of personal freedom of choice. That is nothing but wrong.

… except when it becomes a tool used by those who seek to push a socialist agenda as normative to the exclusion of personal freedom and independence.

20

Doug 04.04.11 at 10:22 pm

Mendip, you mustn’t proof text (not being harsh or difficult) because elsewhere in God’s Word it states “Without Faith it is impossible to please God.” You state that you aren’t claiming there aren’t other verses that I quote that contradict it but one must look at Scripture in light of Scripture and when one does that the it IS as certian as God’s Word is stated by the explaination given.

Also, one must look at not just physical thirsty, poor, etc., etc. but also Spiritual as well. A person of Faith WILL care for all of those and not only and a person who is not doing that one can question “By their fruit you shall know them.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is greater but also includes the Kingdom of this world. The Kingdom of God is among us by having Salvation by Faith in Him in our hearts and having the Holy Spirit among us as well. You clarification looks solely at this world without looking at the Kingdom of Heaven as well. I agree it is both. However, one must not neglect in look at this “world” the fact of God’s future Kingdom as well. It is a present/future Kingdom which began at Christ’s resurrection and will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ.

21

Kim 04.04.11 at 10:38 pm

Mendip, Matthew 7:6.

With his understanding of the kingdom of God , DH demonstrates that he doesn’t misunderstand the ministry of Jesus by a little, or by a lot, he misunderstands it altogether. Altogether. He’s got more bad theology than a dog has fleas. And he is far less teachable than a mutt. Tony tries. That is his cross at Connexions. But one is enough. Tony experiences living didactic death so that the rest of us might go free (with one possible exception). On Judgement Day businessmen will not say, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” Nor will bloggers say, “I wish I had spent more time talking to DH.” You’re still pretty new here. I’ve been around for over five years. DH is a New Atheist’s dream Christian. Trust me.

22

Mendip Nomad 04.04.11 at 10:45 pm

Doug, sorry, but I don’t proof text, which is specifically why I said “I’m not saying…” Your answer is clearly that it doesn’t stand alone and that those passages that highlight faith in Christ as the deciding factor trump passages such as Matthew 25.31ff where actions speak louder than words of beliefs. That’s fine, it was a genuinely asked question because I’ve always wondered how those things are squared. You place more importance on certain parts of scripture than others - that’s natural, we all do it.

That said, I will say that I am not aware of any reading of the sheep and goats that allows for a “spiritual” reading of it - it is clearly about the physical, ethical interaction of humanity with one another.

As for what we look at scripture in the light of, my tradition states that our faith is built on scripture, tradition, reason and experience - on all 4 of them, not just one, and each must be read in the light of the others. Whatever we might think, it is not possible to read scripture solely in the light of itself.

23

Doug 04.04.11 at 10:53 pm

Well, it appears you are prooftexting in that you are not looking at the parable of the sheep and goats in light of ALL of God’s Word. That was what I was talking about on the proof text part. The fact is one cannot do the the things that Christ states are the evidence of being a sheep without Faith in the first place. Works are the evidence of Faith and without Faith true works for God’s Kingdom cannot be established.

24

Doug 04.04.11 at 10:57 pm

I don’t place one set of passgaes over the other I look at all of them. Christ is always consistent with Scripture.

Kim, you misunderstand Christ’s Kingdom as well. I’m sure you have read the story of Nicodeamus. You misunderstand that God’s Kingdom includes eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord in conjunction without Faith it is impossible to please God.

With regard to “New Atheist’s” “A fool says in his heart there is no God.”

25

Pam 04.05.11 at 8:47 am

Bless you Tony for your ministry with Doug - I’m sure you don’t mind spending time talking to him.

26

PamBG 04.05.11 at 11:09 am

Can’t see that this is a problem. Individuals are free to make their own decisions as regards any issue.

My point would be that those who seem so keen to insist on a particular sort of bodily resurrection also seem to believe in a “spiritual heaven” and often deny that humans have any responsibility for creation. Jesus’ resurrection seems only to be proof of supernatural powers rather than a precursor to the general resurrection. This seems to be particularly true in the US where folk of all stripes are keen to align their religion with the politics (rather than vice versa).

Those of us who think that God can raise anyone in any form and who believe that we are called by God to be stewards of God’s creation rather than exploiters of it often get called non-believers in Christ. Go figure.

27

Doug 04.05.11 at 3:17 pm

PamBG, why do things have to be looked at as either/or? I agree we have a responsibility to creation AND that there will be a resurrection from the dead that the Apostle Paul states “encourage each other with these words”. I’m sorry that peopl who believe in a Spiritual heaven don’t feel a responsibility to creation but these two things are not “zero sum games”. This is definately not a “political thing” as you suggest.

Pam, how about my ministry to Tony? Why is it assumed that there is something wrong with me all of the time? I appreciate talking with Tony and with everybody else for that matter. However, I take issue with Pam saying that there is something wrong with me by the implication of “ministry with”.

28

Doug 04.05.11 at 3:20 pm

“Those of us who think that God can raise anyone in any form and who believe that we are called by God to be stewards of God’s creation rather than exploiters of it often get called non-believers in Christ.”

I believe God can raise anyone, anyone who has placed their Faith and trust in Christ and the One True God alone for without Faith it is impossible to please God. So you see, it isn’t the “care of creation” but to what extent you floow God’s Word on the previous sentence mentioned here.

29

Earl 04.05.11 at 3:26 pm

Believers both Conservative and liberal understand that mankind has dominion over the earth to use it and exploit it. Liberals seem to expect property owners to submit their prerogative of ownership to the collective will, i.e., a socialist or even communist social economic organization. Conservatives support the right of property owners to advance their own interest as primary over any collective will, i.e., a capitalist free-enterprise social economic organization.

It is not unique to the United States that the experience and expression of faith and politics should be closely intertwined. Perhaps it is more vigorous. That is a good thing.

Casting aspersions on the faith of others due to political disagreements is not limited to any single group. Some who engage in discussions at this site have been bluntly criticized and their personal faith in Christ denigrated. Some have engaged in crude name calling, etc.

30

Kim 04.05.11 at 4:00 pm

that mankind has dominion over the earth to use it and exploit it.

A “faith” that can issue in an ecological theology that sees human “dominion over the earth” in terms of utility and exploitation is catastrophically, diabolically mistaken. And that’s not “crude name calling”, it’s simply the truth of the matter. Rape and plunder are not part of the divine mandate. To suggest that it is is wicked. With the earth going to hell in a hand cart, ethics trumps etiquette.

31

Doug 04.05.11 at 4:06 pm

Kim, (being humorous to point out the overgeneralization of Earl in your latest comment), Doesn’t God state in Scripture “Be fruitful and multiply over the entire face of the earth.”? Didn’t God give humans dominion over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air?

I know you might take this to overgeneralize myself. The point is no one is advocating rape and plunder. However it appears God has given us dominion and also has called us to multiply over the entire face of the earth. In a humorous overgeneralized way this seems counter to what some environmentalists in the extreme, the ones how Earl described.

32

Doug 04.05.11 at 4:07 pm

…advocate

33

Kim 04.05.11 at 6:01 pm

Made in the image of God, humans are called to exercise radah (dominion) (Genesis 1:26) in the same way God exercises dominion - not in exploitation but in care-taking. Adam is made of adamah (soil) - in English the Hebrew pun might read “God made humans out of humus” (Carol Newsom); hence the verb kabash in the command to “subdue” the land (Genesis 1:28) - it has an agricultural reference: we are to treat the earth as a responsible farmer tends his fields. Humans are to prosper from the earth only as they protect and preserve the earth. The earth is lease-hold, not freehold: hence the sabbatical legislation. Indeed, as Richard Bauckham observes, “These laws are not just about good farming practice, but about keeping the economic drive in human life within its place and not letting it dominate the whole of life.”

But if you want the ultimate tragic irony for Christians who think of creation in the bottom-line terms of its utility value, it’s the connection between the rise of modern atheism and the ruinous modernist project of the technological subjugation of the environment.

34

PamBG 04.05.11 at 6:05 pm

PamBG…I agree we have a responsibility to creation AND that there will be a resurrection

Good. Glad to hear it.

This is definately not a “political thing” as you suggest.

Religion in the US, it seems to me, does align with politics. I know very few other theological liberals here in the US who think that there is anything sinful with abortion on demand (actually, I don’t personally know any, but I’m sure there must be some). Equally, those who identify as theological conservatives are often climate change sceptics and believe in the concept of Just War. Try telling someone in the US that you think abortion is sinful, capital punishment is sinful and that God does not approve of war and watch their mind boggle. They have no idea what slot to stick you in. Yet these are not surprising ideas to most Christians elsewhere - they might disagree but wouldn’t say “How can you hold both liberal and conservative ideas at the same time?”

Believers both Conservative and liberal understand that mankind has dominion over the earth to use it and exploit it.

Buzzz! Thanks for playing. We are to be stewards and conservers, not exploiters.

Liberals seem to expect property owners to submit their prerogative of ownership to the collective will

I expect human life to be priortized over money. I see conservatives as thinking that the right of an individual to get rich should take priority over the welfare of everyone else.

35

Doug 04.05.11 at 7:47 pm

Kim, nothing that I said contradicts what you have specifically on the latest response alone. At the same time I do not believe that my view, albeit Biblical though, leads to a “rise in atheism” or what else you stated. The rise of atheism is atheism itself and the people who are atheists themselves.

PamBG, I agree that some specific things within Christianity are political in nature. However, Christianity on the majority of issues is not political. People are what make it political. ““How can you hold both liberal and conservative ideas at the same time?” I would naver ask this question.

“I see conservatives as thinking that the right of an individual to get rich should take priority over the welfare of everyone else.” That is not true. Myself care for the welfare of everyone else but how that is done is way different than those who have some “massive overnment structure” that society cannot afford. While people, as long as they do it ethically, have the right to get rich; that doesn’t mean that there is a responsibility with that wealth to take care of the poor. However, it is not a mandate that the forible taking of wealth to achieve these goals for that is not biblical in anyway. “Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.”

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