Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A review of "The Gospel-Filled Wallet"

Today I am reviewing a short book entitled, “The Gospel-Filled Wallet,” by Jeff Weddle. I was intrigued by the title of this book, immediately ordering and reading it. Money was one of my ‘gods’ prior to coming to Christ so I regularly read on this topic to challenge my perspective on money. I want to always be reflecting on my presuppositions and use of money so as not to be lulled into making it an idol in my life.

This book is a very short overview of what the bible says about money. It is readily accessible and readable. The greatest strength of the book is the direct and significant points the author makes about money; the greatest weakness is his conclusion.

The author argues well that money is so central to our lives that it is difficult and even hard to see how powerful its’ grip can be in our hearts (p. 3ff). I appreciate his insight into the depth upon which we are actually dependent upon money for life and how easily we can trust it.

Yet he makes too strong of a dichotomy between loving and hating God (p. 3); admitting that even he hates God! But I am sure that even he would admit one cannot be truly born again and hate God. As other reviewers have said, such strong statements are a teaching method of Jesus. The apostle John uses the same teaching method in his Epistles (every time I read his epistles, I question if I really am born again!). I must give Jeff credit as most authors will water down such strong statements that Jesus’ words lose their power. I think it is better to see ourselves on a continuum, as most Christ followers are in a process; that is what we call sanctification!

I was frustrated a couple of times by his making statements but not demonstrating their veracity. For instance, he correctly states that the Jews of Jesus’ day had misinterpreted and turned the law upside down (p. 9) but never tells the reader what he means by that statement nor proves it (unless he thinks it is axiomatic). He does the same thing when he defines being rich as “you can meet your needs (p. 23).”

As I said already, my greatest disappointment was the conclusion. Throughout the book he makes such strong and compelling statements only to leave the reader wanting more when it came to his applications. In my mind, I am left with normal run of the mill applications on how to apply this teaching on money. I was left wanting strong statements that would challenge the way I see and use my money!

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