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Sunday, May 28, 2017

For Self-Proclaimed Christians in Trumpeting America

A little something for self-proclaimed Christians in Trumpeting America. Not my opinions, just quotes. Judge for yourselves whether or not this is your religion. Yeah, yeah, it's a lot of quotes.  And that's the point -- an overwhelming mass of testimony. And this isn't even all of it:




"Blessed are you poor,
for yours is the Kingdom of God.
. . . . But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your credit."
--Jesus (Luke 6:24)

"Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?'
So Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but One God. ... One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me. ….It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"
(Mark 10:17-30)

(See Matthew 21:12–17,
Mark 11:15–19,
Luke 19:45–48,
& John 2:13–16)
"'No servant can serve two masters,
for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and money.'
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money,
heard all these things, and they ridiculed Jesus."
(Luke 16:13-14)
"So likewise, whoever of you
does not forsake all that he owns
cannot be My disciple."
--Jesus (Luke 14:33)

James (Yakov)
"Listen, my beloved brethren:
Has not God chosen the poor of this world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom
which he promised to those who love him?
But you have dishonored the poor man.
Do not the rich oppress you
and drag you into the courts?
Do they not blaspheme
that Noble Name by which you are called?"
(James 2:5-7)

"Come now, you rich, weep and howl
for your miseries that are coming upon you!
Your riches are corrupted,
and your garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and silver are corroded,
and their corrosion will be a witness against you
and will eat your flesh like fire.
You have heaped up treasure in the last days.
Indeed the wages of the laborers
who mowed your fields,
which you kept back by fraud, cry out;
and the cries of the reapers
have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury;
you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned,
you have murdered the just;
he does not resist you."
(James 5:1-6)

One Heart & One Soul

"Now all who believed were together,
and had all things in common,
and sold their possessions and goods,
and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple,
and breaking bread from house to house,
they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
giving Credit to God
and having Grace with all the people.
.... Now the multitude of those who believed
Peter & Paul
were of One Heart and One Soul;
neither did anyone say
that any of the things he possessed was his own,
but they had all things in common."
(Acts 2:44-47 & 4:32)

"...persons who are depraved in mind
and bereft of the truth,
imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
…But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation,
into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires
that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evil;
it is through this craving
that some have wandered away from the faith
and pierced their hearts with many pangs."
--Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 6:5-10)

"Then Peter said,
'Money and gold I do not have,
but what I do have I give you.'"
(Acts 3:6)
Note that all the recorded early Christian leaders (that I've found so far) unanimously agree that Jesus & the Apostles meant what they said:

Amma Syncletica of Alexandria
(? to 350 AD)
"Those who have endured the labors and dangers of the sea and then amass material riches, even when they have gained much desire more. They consider what they have at present to be nothing, and reach out for what they have not got. We, who have nothing that we desire, wish to acquire everything through God."
--Amma Syncletica of Alexandria (died 350AD)



Augustine (354–430 CE)
"Those who wish to make room for the Lord must find pleasure not in private, but in common property…. Redouble your charity. For, on account of the things which each one of us possesses singly, wars exist, hatreds, discords, strifes among human beings, tumults, dissensions, scandals, sins, injustices, and murders. On what account? On account of those things which each of us possesses singly. Do we fight over the things we possess in common? We inhale this air in common with others, we all see the sun in common. Blessed therefore are those who make room for the Lord, so as not to take pleasure in private property."
--Augustine (354–430 CE)


Tertullian (c. 160–c.220 CE)
"I now come to the accusation that most of us are said to be poor; that is not to our shame, it is to our great credit. Men’s characters are strengthened by stringent circumstances, just as they are dissipated by luxurious living. Besides, can a man be poor if he is free from want, if he does not covet the belongings of others, if he is rich in the possession of God? Rather, he is poor who possesses much but still craves for more. And so it is that when a man walks along a road, the lighter he travels, the happier he is; equally, on this journey of life, a man is more blessed if he does not pant beneath a burden of riches but lightens his load by poverty. Nevertheless, we would ask God for material goods if we considered them to be of use; without a doubt, He to whom the whole belongs would be able to concede us a portion. But we prefer to hold possessions in contempt than to hoard them: it is rather innocence that is our aspiration, it is rather patience that is our entreaty; our preference is goodness, not extravagance."
....
“We who share one mind and soul obviously have no misgivings about community of goods.”
– Tertullian, 160-225 AD
Basil (329–379 AD)

"You are like one occupying a place in a theater, who should prohibit others from entering, treating that as one’s own which was designed for the common use of all.
Such are the rich. Because they were first to occupy common goods, they take these goods as their own. If each one would take that which is sufficient for one’s needs, leaving what is in excess to those in distress, no one would be rich, no one poor.
It is absurd and disgraceful for one to live magnificently and luxuriously when so many are hungry…If one who takes the clothing off another is a thief, why give any other name to one who can clothe the naked and refuses to do so?The bread that you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold that you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor. … How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping?”
– Basil (329–379 AD)

Teresa de Ávila (1515-1582) 
"Thank God for the things that I do not own.
.... Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God.
....It is quite important to withdraw from all unnecessary cares and business, as far as compatible with the duties of one’s state of life, in order to enter the second mansion."
-- Teresa de Ávila (1515-1582)
Clare of Assisi (1194-1243 AD)

"We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing.
.... O blessed poverty, who bestows eternal riches on those who love and embrace her!"
-- Clare of Assisi (1194-1253 AD)

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Justin Martyr (100-165 AD)




“We who once took most pleasure in the means of increasing our wealth and property now bring what we have into a common fund and share with everyone in need.”
– Justin Martyr, 100-165 AD

Irenaeus, 130-200 AD





“And instead of the tithes which the law commanded, the Lord said to divide everything we have with the poor. And he said to love not only our neighbors but also our enemies, and to be givers and sharers not only with the good but also to be liberal givers toward those who take away our possessions.”
–Irenaeus, 130-200 AD



“Private property is the fruit of iniquity. I know that God has given us the use of goods, but only as far as is necessary; and he has determined that the use shall be common. The use of all things that are found in this world ought to be common to all men. Only the most manifest iniquity makes one say to another, ‘This belongs to me, that to you.’ Hence the origin of contention among men.”
– Clement of Alexandria, 150-215 AD (Paedagogus, 2)




Ambrose of Milan (340-397 AD)
“Nature has poured forth all things for the common use of all people. And God has ordained that all things should be produced that there might be food in common for all, and that the earth should be the common possession of all. Nature created common rights, but usurpation has transformed them into private rights…God gave the same earth to be cultivated by all. Since, therefore, His bounty is common, how is it that you have so many fields, and your neighbor not even a clod of earth? ….You are not making a gift of your possession to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his."
--Ambrose of Milan, 340-397 AD.



John Chrysostome (347-407 AD)
“The rich are in possession of the goods of the poor, even if they have acquired them honestly or inherited them legally.
Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours but theirs. When you are weary of praying and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him. The dispersion of property is the cause of greater expenditure and so of poverty. Consider a household with husband and wife and ten children. She does weaving and he goes to the market to make a living; will they need more if they live in a single house or when they live separately? Clearly, when they live separately. If the ten sons each go his own way, they need ten houses, ten tables, ten servants and everything else in proportion… Dispersion regularly leads to waste, bringing together leads to economy.”
Cyril of Alexandria (377-444AD)
– John Chrysostom, 347-407 AD

“Give away these earthly things, and win that which is in heaven. Give that which you must leave, even against your will, that you may not lose things later. Lend your wealth to God, that you may be really rich. Concerning the way in which to lend it, Jesus next teaches us saying: ‘Sell your possessions, and give alms, provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail’ … Worldly wealth has many foes … but no one can do damage to the wealth that is laid up above in heaven.”
– Cyril of Alexandria, 378-444 AD

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Gregory of Nyssa (330-395 AD)
“All things belong to God, who is our Father and Father of all things. We are all the same family: all of us are brothers and sisters. And among brethren it is best and most equal that all inherit equal portions.”
– Gregory of Nyssa, 330-395 AD




“Share everything with your brother. Do not say, ‘It is private property.’ If you share what is everlasting, you should be that much more willing to share things which do not last.”
– The Didache, c. 90 AD, (Did. 4:8)

Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD)
"...their property held them in chains . . . chains which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls… And our Lord, the teacher of the good, looking to the future warning us against this, saying: ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ If the rich would do this, riches would not be their ruin; if they stored up their treasure in heaven, they would not have an enemy and a thief within their own household; …. But how can those who are tethered to their inheritance be following Christ? …. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves. The apostle was pointing to our times and to these very men he said: ‘Those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.’"
– Cyprian, 200-258 AD, (The Lapsed 11-12)

Lastly, the testimony of a Roman pagan in the 2nd century AD:


Lucian of Samasota
(c.125 AD – 180+ AD)




“Christians despise all possessions and share them communally.”
– Lucian (pagan author), 2nd century (Peregrinus 13)





30 comments:

  1. Christian values have been grossly corrupted in this consumer-driven society. The trumpnation is just one symptom of a sick society. There's nothing Christian about putting wealth and business first at the expense of the poor and most vulnerable.

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  2. Yes, I'm thinking there are not many Christians that live the way described in these quotes. Many more that live the opposite.

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  3. I've been on this earth more than 60 years and I can count the REAL Christians I know on the fingers of ONE hand! Everybody always yaps about how much "Jesus" they have but their actions invariably prove that to be one big JOKE!

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  4. yet, when it comes to homosexuality or abortion they want to follow the bible word for word.

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  5. Christians need to escape consumerism and realize that this world is not just material. True life is found in the invisible things of life: love, hope, and faith.

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  6. Dear Suelo,
    I greatly appreciate the quotes and your zeal to call people to compassionate moneyless living. I myself still use money but I honestly seek to use only what I need and have at different times considered living moneyless. The conflict I often find is that the usage of money is not altogether forbidden in the Bible although certain verses and passages could lead to such ideas. If you have clear evidence that Christians should not use money EVER I would be interested in hearing what evidence you would have for such a conclusion in a noncontentious earnest desire to hear your thoughts and obey God.

    I am by no means opposed to many things you teach and I have benefitted from spiritual and physical/practical advice or teaching on the website you have. My friends and I strive to follow Christ, are nonviolent, and hold our good in common/live communally. Honestly the principles of all the quotes you posted I sincerely believe we seek to follow. I hope you are well. I appreciate when I check the blog and there is a new post. Peace be with you and hope to hear back from you or anyone else who reads this. May Yeshua bless you all.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Ryan. Yes, it's true the use of money is nowhere altogether forbidden in the Bible. Actually nothing in the spiritual walk is forbidden. If it were, it would not be Grace, but law. Grace is coaxed, but cannot be commanded. Even the "Great Commandments" in the Torah Hebrew are not commanded, not in imperative tense. Love cannot be commanded.

      The logical conclusion of anybody following the principles of Jesus is eventually realizing the uselessness of money. If we all followed Jesus' teachings, money would go obsolete automatically. Giving expecting no reward is the antithesis of money. His sending out the disciples without money, to freely give, freely receive, was a model of life under grace. And unmerited giving, favor, is Grace. It's that simple.

      On my website, in the essay "The Seven-Headed Dragon", you might want to read the very brief section "Money Is Law. Law is Money Management. Gratis is Anarchy. Anarchy is Grace", where I show that written law [Greek 'nomos']and money [Grk 'nomismas'] are inseparable and actually the same thing. I'm certain they arose together and they must go obsolete together. Grace, the core essence of the New Testament, is the obsolescence of all law, except the law written on the heart. https://sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/Home/the-seven-headed-dragon

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    2. I would disagree that because grace is freely given us by God that this does not allow for there to be commandments. Granted love cannot be forced; however, neither can true obedience to anything.

      God freely gives all things; however, there are conditions to remaining in this blessing. Yes, it is scarcely one strike and that is it; nevertheless, the idea that God allows everything in the New covenant and the is no law is an inaccurate reading of the New testament text.

      I appreciate much of what is taught on your sites; however, with all due respect, I believe that some things are misguided. Perhaps I'm not sure what you are trying to stand for entirely. Example, if money is an illusion (which it is) and unnecessary (which it also is) and truly enlightened people forsake it altogether, then why not unequivocally state this? Does this become law, command, falling from grace? I think not. Truth ought to be followed by all people. Period. We ought to unapologetically express this. Period. If they choose not to, so be it. Forbear and love them anyway. Wait and hope they change. This is grace; unmerited kindness; this is Yeshua: He taught the people the path to life, delivered the world from the sufferings of death, and patiently with great mercy and forgiveness gives everyone a chance to accept this gift by walking the same path to life.

      Is it wrong for God to have conditions for His gift? Is this law and not grace, work and not free? Nay, for the reception of the gift rests in the power of the recipient: namely, since the gift is to become a partaker of the nature of God, to BE love, it paradoxically cannot be freely given nor forcefully coerced; it may be freely offered and graciously coaxed but it is up to the individual to apply the teaching of their own free will to their lives and thereby become a partaker in Christ's gift.

      Hope this all makes sense.

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    3. I'm not really disagreeing with you here, actually. I'm not discounting commandments, ie schoolteachers. When you are learning to ride a bike, tightrope walking, dancing, typing, or whatever, you begin with instructions, commandments, techiniques to coax your body. It's like a search for the grace that is already there. Then grace takes over and you act on automatic. But if you continue under the commandment, grace is quenched and you revert. If I can't put away the cookbook I can never be a master chef, never know the grace of auto-intuition.

      The New Testament itself, according to the book we call "the New Testament" ("New Covenant"), is not a book, but the law written on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3 and Jeremiah 31). What is written on paper or stone is the letter, the commandment, which kills. What is written on the heart is the Spirit, the New Testament, which gives life. Established Bible religion can't accept this because it would undermine its belief in its own superior position in a world of heathen. It would mean having to accept the Omnipresence of the Word, that the "Gentiles" who don't have our law, our religion, already have this law written on their hearts (Romans 2:14-15). It would mean having to accept that the Gospel is already preached, always has, and always will forever be preached to every creature (Col. 1:23), as the Word is a living Being (John 1) rather than a book (a graven image). It is what existed before Abraham, before writing, before religion, or even language.

      In the mean time, we have religion and money, and we search the scriptures thinking they give us eternal life. All our commandments must and will finally collapse, and the arms of grace, completely and 100% free and unearned, will catch us. Even Jesus himself stated he could do nothing of himself. Nothing. "Not my will but yours." Grace has zero conditions, dependent upon zero will of our own. But, ironically, it takes us trying to realize that.

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    4. Concerning the first part I agree, I actually wrote a book entitled: Sola Scriptura? Did God intend for the Bible to be the final authority of the Christian faith? The overarching theme is that the true Word of God is Yeshua (John 1:1 as you said) and that following His life and example while being led by His spirit (i.e. the spirit of God) is the true rule of faith if you will. It is somewhat lengthy but anyone may read it for free, it can be found on the website my friend has @ earlychristianlife.com.

      Ultimately it is as Paul writes, that we receive not this Grace of God in vain 2 Cor. 7:1.

      There are many things the Bible does Not explicitly forbid and many professing Christians are strongly opposed to it (ex. Drinking alcohol and smoking). However, things which are strongly admonished against if not forbidden are lovingly embraced and even encouraged (namely, wealth).

      I appreciate your thoughts and lifestyle Suelo. I just wish more people could have common faith in true religion and together worship the One true God in spirit and in truth. Blessings to you.

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    5. "There are many things the Bible does Not explicitly forbid and many professing Christians are strongly opposed to it (ex. Drinking alcohol and smoking). However, things which are strongly admonished against if not forbidden are lovingly embraced and even encouraged (namely, wealth)." Yeah, the irony, huh?

      I hope to read your book on your friends' website.

      Blessings rebounded to you, Ryan.

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  7. I remember when I had given everything I had to my nephew and his wife, which was furniture and appliances. They were just starting out their life together and I thought it would help them. When others at church found out what I had done they were angry. They told me I had ruined their lives. Needless to say I have not been back in years. I'm sure I've read that it is more blessed to give than to receive. They obviously do not agree with that.

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  8. Dear Daniel, everything of your brave steps and researches, is an incredible gift to me. Doing some hermit life for one year now, there were still all these strange phenomena of feeling out of balance. I had this idea it could have something to do with money. Or my need of money. So I found your inspirations, and I am incredibly touched. Right now I cannot say, how deep this will influence me. I also have to say, I feel, I don't understand "the whole" of it. But something in me understands very well, and it feels like the missing link slowly is seen by something in me, that was blind. Thank you very much for your being.

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  9. I wonder if Axial Age religions got started as a result of parts of some societies reacting to the introduction of money and materialism? It seems to me that money can only be introduced into a new society via violence

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    1. Yes! You might be interested in the extremely fascinating book, "Debt: The First 5000 Years", by David Graeber. It's a book about the evolution of money & debt, and he says this very thing. It's been a while since I read it, but I think he even shows how the invention of coinage coincides precisely with the ascetic religions.

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  10. Thank God for the things I do not own

    That is it in a nutshell...people confuse belongings (and trusteeship) with ownership. The middle class are 'owners' and not trustees

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  11. We who share one mind and soul obviously have no misgivings about community of goods.”
    – Tertullian, 160-225 AD

    God is good all the time

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  12. i really dont undersand these self proclaimed christians and there ways but there are so many free things in the uk that they are missing out on. we should all share, we should all be one and look out for our friends.

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  13. Suelo,
    Here is a quote I was reminded of by your blog. It is a quote from St. Augustine, and was in a book about a real estate lawyer turned Catholic minister called "Now I walk on Death Row" by Daniel S. Recinella. He is working as death row minister for the state of Florida, without pay. Anyhow, the quote:" So long as there are people who lack necessities, a person who has mor than he needs is holding the goods of another."

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  14. Christians don't take this verse any more literally or seriously than the ones you chose. Don't you wish they did, especially the last requirement, which seems to be as important as the verses you quote? (They cannot be Jesus’ disciple without hating their own lives). The despicables would then be out of the way and you could give your energies to us followers, minus the Bible verses and all these other preachers, all of which we could care less about. It would save you some time too. Because, if they do accept this verse along with the others, they’re gone, so you don’t need to quote verses. If they don’t accept your version of biblical interpretation, which they don’t, and we don’t care, you don’t need to quote verses. It really seems you’re whistling in a graveyard.

    Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot * be My disciple.

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    1. On the other hand, control freaks and power-mongers, down through the ages, have used the Bible to get their way. It is a powerful tool of control, so I take back the above. Maybe you will have success too.

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    2. Don't forget to include the rest of the passage though, that I quoted above. "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot * be My disciple."

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  15. Ok how do you go from using money to provide for your family, to living without it? Practically and in this real world`?

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