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The Christian and Money

By Hansruedi Graf
September 2016 | Review by David Cooke
  • Publisher: Chapter Two
  • ISBN: 978-1-85307-257-4
  • Pages: 96
  • Price: 4.50
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Book Review

The subject of the Christian’s relationship with money is an important one. The way we use the money God gives us reveals much about the condition of our heart. On the one hand, ‘money answers everything’ (Ecclesiastes 10:19); on the other, ‘the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil’ (1 Timothy 6:10).

This book covers its topic under four headings: ‘Basic thoughts on the topic of money’, ‘Practical instructions for handling money’, ‘Applications from the parables’ and ‘The work of the Lord and money’.

Many helpful insights are given under these headings on such matters as debts, saving, giving, budgeting, seeking financial advice, the relationship of work and money, the wisdom of making a will, and teaching children how to handle money.

However, it all feels rather fragmented. Moreover, the writer’s dispensational views come through, particularly in a rather unconvincing section aiming to show that money has a different status in different dispensations.

The author draws on a wide number of scriptural passages throughout the book. However, in some instances the applications drawn are rather pedestrian. For example, he spends a page (p.36) considering Abraham’s purchase of a burial plot (Genesis 23:7-16), and simply concludes, ‘God shows us from this example that it is always right — and worthwhile — to be honest in our business dealings’.

At other points, his interpretations of Scripture seem somewhat wooden and contentious. For example, he argues that the biblical warnings against being surety for another’s debts (e.g. Proverbs 22:26-27) are an absolute prohibition — which could cause problems for students needing their parents to underwrite their rent payments! Similarly, he argues that the principle of regular giving which Paul prescribes in 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 requires that giving to the church should always be on a weekly basis, even if we are paid monthly.

In summary, while there are useful parts to this book, overall I was rather disappointed with it. For a more cogent treatment of a biblical approach to money, the recent book by Graham Beynon, Money counts, is to be preferred. However, neither book supplies an appendix showing how to set and track a household budget, which many readers might find helpful.

David Cooke

Banbury

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