In an essay in Engaging Economics: New Testament Scenarios and Early Christian Reception, Aaron J. Kuecker contrasts the economics of the Spirit in Luke-Acts with the health and wealth gospel on offer in some “Spirit-filled” churches. Instead of guaranteeing an increase of net worth, the coming of the Spirit opens believers outward in generous use of their gifts and goods. Economics is Spirit or Satanic, a point that Kuecker emphasizes by contrasting Ananias and Sapphira, who falsify the Spirit by their greed, with Barabbas.
In sum, “Possession of/by the Holy Spirit explicitly turns people away from the self and outward toward the broader community and the ‘other.’ The outcome of this allocentric identity is that people, and not possessions, become valued as one’s ‘own’. . . . Spirit-influence thus leads to the use of possessions freely for the ‘other,’ as is exemplified by Barabbas. In clear contrast, the influence of Satan turns people away from the broader community and the ‘other’ and inward toward the self. The outcome of this egocentric identity is that possessions, and not people, become valued as one’s ‘own.’ . . . Satan prompts a treacherous turn away from the community and leads to destruction. . . . The Spirit prompts a turn toward the community and leads to restored relationships and times of refreshing.’”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, June 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm
Permission is given to use material on this site, provided the source is cited, blog entries are republished in full, and the author is notified in advance.