"Rich, Delighted Christians"
The Good of Affluence:
Seeking God in a Culture of Wealth
John R. Schneider
Eerdmans, 243 pages, $24
The problem of "God and mammon" is as old as Christianity itself, observes Schneider, a professor of religion and theology at Calvin College. He presents a theological interpretation of Scripture on the place of material affluence—in other words, is it okay to be a rich Christian?
In Schneider's view, "being affluent in a certain way—I call it 'delight'—indeed reflects the good created order of God." His primary aim, he writes, is to give intellectual leadership to those wealthy Christians who are "moved by their good fortune" yet deeply troubled by it at the same time.
The first half of the book probes Old Testament examples of wealth and need, while the second half focuses on illustrations from Jesus' ministry and the New Testament. Schneider also tackles the role of affluence in light of global poverty and environmental concerns. Integrated into the text is an often biting critique of Ron Sider, mainly in the context of Sider's book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Schneider's well-developed arguments will doubtless irritate and stimulate readers on both sides of the debate.
The Good of Affluence: Seeking God in a Culture of Modern Capitalism is available at Christianbook.com.
On the site of the Acton Institute of Religion and Liberty, Schneider wrote an article about why he wrote the book and explained its thesis.
Ron Sider's Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger is available at Christianbook.com.