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Passions over 'prosperity gospel': Was Jesus wealthy? (*BARF ALERT*)
CNN ^ | 12/25/2009 | John Blake

Posted on 12/26/2009 6:09:29 AM PST by markomalley

Each Christmas, Christians tell stories about the poor baby Jesus born in a lowly manger because there was no room in the inn.

But the Rev. C. Thomas Anderson, senior pastor of the Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona, preaches a version of the Christmas story that says baby Jesus wasn't so poor after all.

Anderson says Jesus couldn't have been poor because he received lucrative gifts -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- at birth. Jesus had to be wealthy because the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for his expensive undergarments. Even Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, lived and traveled in style, he says.

"Mary and Joseph took a Cadillac to get to Bethlehem because the finest transportation of their day was a donkey," says Anderson. "Poor people ate their donkey. Only the wealthy used it as transportation."

Many Christians see Jesus as the poor, itinerant preacher who had "no place to lay his head." But as Christians gather around the globe this year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, another group of Christians are insisting that Jesus' beginnings weren't so humble.

They say that Jesus was never poor -- and neither should his followers be. Their claim is embedded in the doctrine known as the prosperity gospel, which holds that God rewards the faithful with financial prosperity and spiritual gifts.

A clash of gospels?

The prosperity gospel has attracted plenty of critics. But popular televangelists such as the late Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin and, today, Creflo Dollar have built megachurches and a global audience by equating piety with prosperity.

(Excerpt) Read more at edition.cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Theology
KEYWORDS: antichristian; moapb; propsperitygospel; wwjd
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Yet another disgusting attack on Christianity...this time from the "name it and claim it" prosperity gospel folks...all too joyfully reported by our "friends" at CNN.
1 posted on 12/26/2009 6:09:34 AM PST by markomalley
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To: markomalley
Fr. Z's fisking of the article (link)
2 posted on 12/26/2009 6:17:28 AM PST by monkapotamus
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To: monkapotamus

Father Zuhlsdorf is a tremendous blessing.


3 posted on 12/26/2009 6:19:25 AM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

All this time I was thinking that Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room at the inn, not because they couldnt afford one.

Wasnt there a crowd on the move at the time because hey had to register in their home towns.?

I doubtJesus family was rich, but I gather they were of Middle income range. Joseph had a trade after all.


4 posted on 12/26/2009 6:26:16 AM PST by Venturer
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To: markomalley

All this time I was thinking that Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room at the inn, not because they couldnt afford one.

Wasnt there a crowd on the move at the time because hey had to register in their home towns.?

I doubt Jesus family was rich, but I gather they were of Middle income range. Joseph had a trade after all.


5 posted on 12/26/2009 6:26:20 AM PST by Venturer
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To: markomalley

Nothing like these scam-artist “Christians” trying to gull the gullible into sending them more of their Social Security dollars.
Pointing out just one example of his ignorance of Scripture, Jesus was approximately two years old when the Magi arrived with their gifts. That is why King Herod ordered the murder of all baby boys two-years-old and under.
Jesus said, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20) These scammers depend on ignorant Christians who don’t read The Book, but only watch TV.


6 posted on 12/26/2009 6:27:22 AM PST by kittymyrib
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To: markomalley
I don't see this an an example of Christian bashing. This is a legitimate theological debate going on within Christianity right now. Its out there for everyone to see. Do a little research. Coming from CNN I think it was a fair and balanced account of differences of how people want to interpret the Bible. This is a well documented Christian debate. Now the motives behind the reasoning of claiming Christ was rich, I'll let you decide.
7 posted on 12/26/2009 6:28:32 AM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: kittymyrib
kittymyrib,

I didn't want to come right out and say it, but you are dead on. I see it all the time. People who can least afford it sending in their last dollars in the hope they will become more wealthy. Well someone sure is becoming more wealthy from this philosophy, and living in quite wealthy houses.

8 posted on 12/26/2009 6:32:37 AM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: Venturer

Joseph was a capitalist!


9 posted on 12/26/2009 6:36:20 AM PST by 3catsanadog (If healthcare reform is passed, 41 years old will be the new 65 YO.)
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To: markomalley

Was Jesus wealthy?

Who cares...I celebrate His life, words and deeds....


10 posted on 12/26/2009 6:38:51 AM PST by Le Chien Rouge
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To: markomalley
Jesus was a rich GOP organizer who drove an SUV.
And that was before his birth.
11 posted on 12/26/2009 6:39:08 AM PST by MaxMax (Obamao can't play in the Olympic reindeer games)
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To: WILLIALAL
I don't see this an an example of Christian bashing.

Trying to sew more divisions among Christians. And trying, in every way possible, to make the Gospel appear silly.

All attacks against the Gospel are not necessarily frontal attacks.

12 posted on 12/26/2009 6:39:47 AM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: Venturer
All this time I was thinking that Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room at the inn, not because they couldnt afford one.

The Gospel says there was no room, implying that if there was room, they could have afforded a room.

If Mary and Joseph were actually wealthy, they could have paid an existing occupant enough to let them take over his room.

13 posted on 12/26/2009 6:40:21 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
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To: markomalley
"Mary and Joseph took a Cadillac to get to Bethlehem because the finest transportation of their day was a donkey," says Anderson. "Poor people ate their donkey. Only the wealthy used it as transportation."

Ate their donkey? Does it have cloven hooves? Nope. How about chewing its cut? Also no. Therefore a donkey is not kosher. Jews don't eat their donkeys. Also a donkey is a working animal. Eating it would be like eating your seed corn - you might do it in times of famine as an act of desperation when everyone is struggling for food.

I love arguing that Jesus' family had to stay in a stable because they were poor. The purpose for the census was taxation, so Mary and Joseph weren't poor - they were being audited. That usually leaves social justice leftists' heads spinning.

14 posted on 12/26/2009 6:40:59 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Gore is the fifth horseman of the apocalypse. He rides an icy horse bringing cold wherever he goes.)
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To: markomalley

How is this a “disgusting attack on Christianity”? He makes valid points and it doesn’t negatively impact on Jesus in any way. Can you only be a wise teacher if you’re poor?

His point about the three kings’ gifts makes sense. I’m sure Mary and Joseph didn’t just toss it in the trash after the kings left.


15 posted on 12/26/2009 6:42:20 AM PST by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: markomalley

No my point is; this is a for real debate within Christianity. The division exists and if you don’t want to see it that is fine, but it doesn’t make it go away.
The prosperity Gospel, some feel is the true attack upon Christianity, as it is teaching a false gospel. Would you have it that no one cover this debate? If that is the case, then we might as well stop teaching about the formation of the early church, or the reformation.


16 posted on 12/26/2009 6:45:11 AM PST by WILLIALAL
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To: markomalley

Jesus was a journayman. When you hire a guy to repoint your chimneys he doesn’t show up in a Ferrari, but neither does he show up shoeless.

Works for his daily bread. Charitable enough to share it. Divine enough to multiply it.


17 posted on 12/26/2009 6:51:45 AM PST by InternetTuffGuy
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To: Future Snake Eater

The article assumes a lot, but does not give data supporting the assumptions.
The Magi’s gifts for example. Gold- how much gold? A trunk load, or a couple of grains in a tiny box- a token? The same with the frankincense and myrrh- how much, and how much was it worth at the time? How long would such riches have lasted a family of three? Certainly not till Jesus’ adulthood.
And UNDERGARMENTS?!?! How valuable could ANY underpants
( used at that) ever be in any culture? Perhaps the gambling was more about SHAMING- stripping someone of their last vestige of humanity?
Talk about reaching for an excuse to suck money out of people for another Rolex or Rolls in the name of ‘Christianity’! Man....people like these preachers are gonna burrrrrnnn!


18 posted on 12/26/2009 6:58:44 AM PST by ClearBlueSky (Whenever someone says it's not about Islam-it's about Islam. Jesus loves you, Allah wants you dead!)
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To: markomalley

How is this an attack?


19 posted on 12/26/2009 7:02:32 AM PST by stuartcr (If we are truly made in the image of God, why do we have faults?)
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To: WILLIALAL
The prosperity Gospel, some feel is the true attack upon Christianity, as it is teaching a false gospel.

The article appears to be making the argument that there are the two extremes: prosperity gospel Jesus who was a rich man versus liberation theology Jesus. That's how it frames the argument. Both are heresies (IMHO).

Would you have it that no one cover this debate?

I would rather not have a secular news service cover a debate between two heresies...which implies that one of the two, and no alternative, are right. (And, frankly, it appears to me that the article is biased toward the "prosperity gospel Jesus" caricature)

If that is the case, then we might as well stop teaching about the formation of the early church, or the reformation.

If CNN is going to cover it, that prospect might not be all that bad an idea.

20 posted on 12/26/2009 7:07:51 AM PST by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: ClearBlueSky

“How long would such riches have lasted a family of three?”

Maybe as long as it took to escape to Egypt and survive while there and then return. I just read “The Case for Christmas” and Mr. Strobel said the gifts could have been used for their escape.


21 posted on 12/26/2009 7:14:00 AM PST by imskylark
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To: ClearBlueSky

I have no idea if he’s right or wrong, I’m just shaking my head in wonder at how people think that this idea is pure blasphemy, when the reality is that it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. It wouldn’t negate Jesus’ teachings in the slightest.


22 posted on 12/26/2009 7:22:07 AM PST by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: markomalley

Well Jesus wasn’t poor that is for sure as he came from a working father family

And when He is asked about the balm used on his feet he says The POOR you always have with you

And he tells the one guy who says he does everything that religion requires to sell his garments and give the $$$ to the POOR

He never identifies Himself as a member of that group


23 posted on 12/26/2009 7:22:35 AM PST by uncbob
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To: markomalley

Let me see if I understand this....Oral Roberts became wealthy “selling” religion, therefore Christ was rich. Sounds a little like the “reasoning” of Sir Bedevere of Monty Python and the Holy Grail fame—witches floating as they are made of wood, you know.


24 posted on 12/26/2009 7:34:05 AM PST by Oldpuppymax (AGENDA OF THE LEFT EXPOSED)
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To: Future Snake Eater

I agree. Rich is relative to the culture and time . It’s like hearing that bread was 10 cents a loaf way back when so we think- WOW, how rich would we be if that were the cost of living now, with current salaries. But salaries then went about as far as ours do now.
Even if Jesus were wealthy or even well-to-do by the standards of Jews then, he certainly gave it up to walk the desert with the poor.
The whole debate only matters to those who want to USE it to justify their mansions and cars and clothes while claiming to be like Jesus. They don’t want to live humbly, as he must have, so they have to elevate him to their wealthy class. No one can prove anything anyway.
It’s pathetic and repulsive.
I’ve always had this fantasy of Jesus returning and showing up at one of those TV preachers show first( the ones with the $1000 suits and the jewelry and million dollar production) to demonstrate his parable about the camel passing through the eye of a needle and the rich.
I would be very worried were I them- talking one way and living another.


25 posted on 12/26/2009 7:37:40 AM PST by ClearBlueSky (Whenever someone says it's not about Islam-it's about Islam. Jesus loves you, Allah wants you dead!)
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To: markomalley
There is a very simple response for this. Matthew 19:16-30, which includes these two passages:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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."


26 posted on 12/26/2009 7:38:37 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: ClearBlueSky

Everything you say assumes that God wants us to be poor or at least live like we’re poor. I don’t see that anywhere in the Bible, nor does that even make sense.


27 posted on 12/26/2009 7:41:13 AM PST by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: markomalley

There a number of passages that one can selectively pull out and say that Jesus was either rich or poor. The point is ... none of that is important because none of that has any bearing on Jesus’s message.


28 posted on 12/26/2009 7:41:15 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: markomalley
The same story also appears in Mark 10 and Luke 18. There are some differences but the theme is the same each time.
29 posted on 12/26/2009 7:42:42 AM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Future Snake Eater

I don’t assume that God wants us all to be poor- but Jesus certainly did not denigrate them. I believe God wants us all to be the best we can be- but not at the expense of others.
Preachers who USE the Gospel to prey on the poor are reprehensible. What are they teaching? You too can have a Rolex and a mansion if you get other poor people to give you their last dime in the name of Jesus?
It’s the motivation of those who raise this debate re. Jesus’ social standing that I question. Whether or not Jesus wore expensive undergarments- or none at all- means nothing. It’s not how he looked- it’s what he taught.


30 posted on 12/26/2009 7:53:24 AM PST by ClearBlueSky (Whenever someone says it's not about Islam-it's about Islam. Jesus loves you, Allah wants you dead!)
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To: markomalley
They say that Jesus was never poor -- and neither should his followers be. Their claim is embedded in the doctrine known as the prosperity gospel, which holds that God rewards the faithful with financial prosperity and spiritual gifts.

Mary and Joseph gave the purification offering that God's law allowed for the poor. Just cheaping out? I don't think so.

< spit!>

"That's so pathetic, to say that Jesus was struggling alone in the dust and dirt," Anderson says. "That just makes no sense whatsoever. He was constantly in a state of wealth." --from the CNN linkey

"Class, can you say 'kenosis'?"

Living Word Church's (mute speakers before clicking) statement of faith is astonishingly brief, orthodox on it's face, but the way things are phrased make me think he'd be deaf to a traditional Protestant understanding of law and gospel. Best, probably, not to ask him about the imputation of the active obedience of Christ ("no hope without it!").

And the guest speakers list.. Oral, Ken, Jesse, T.D! Oh, yeah!

31 posted on 12/26/2009 8:14:11 AM PST by Lee N. Field (Dispensational exegesis not supported by an a-, post- or historic pre-mil scholar will be ignored.)
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To: InternetTuffGuy
Jesus was a journayman. When you hire a guy to repoint your chimneys he doesn’t show up in a Ferrari, but neither does he show up shoeless.

Works for his daily bread. Charitable enough to share it. Divine enough to multiply it.

Point taken, but consider this: Jesus and His followers ate, bought clothes, presumably lodging as well. Where was the money in all this? Jesus was a wandering preacher. We don't have records of him setting up tents and passing the hat. How did Jesus work for his daily bread when He was preaching?

32 posted on 12/26/2009 8:24:34 AM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

And Jesus would be the first kid of wealth to get sick of the BS that went along with being rich and selfish.

I think if he WERE rich, it would make the story all that much better.

Nothing wrong with that.


33 posted on 12/26/2009 8:33:56 AM PST by Vermont Lt (I have lived here all my life, and now is the first time I am ashamed of my country)
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To: Question_Assumptions

The “eye of the needle” being the door in the great gates of the city walls. Not an impossible task if you have a good camel. But not one you want to try after a few drinks on a Saturday night.


34 posted on 12/26/2009 8:35:36 AM PST by Vermont Lt (I have lived here all my life, and now is the first time I am ashamed of my country)
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To: markomalley
The Lord blesses people with prosperity, but He also says that there will be poor people. Those with means should help the poor.

It takes money to run ministries and take the Gospel to the nations.

When Jesus talked about it being harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel going through an eye of a needle, He was referring to wealthy people love money more than God. The illustration is a heart issue, not a money issue.

35 posted on 12/26/2009 8:48:30 AM PST by stars & stripes forever ( Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness)
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To: Vermont Lt
I think if he WERE rich, it would make the story all that much better.

The story of Jesus does not mention the accumulation of wealth. His adoptive father (aged Joseph) was not rich and Mary didn't bring any money into the marriage. Jesus worked as a carpenter (not a wealthy profession). So on the whole, whatever money was saved up from carpentry would not have supported a Donald Trump lifestyle for three years of preaching. Was He given gifts? Sure. Could He have manufactured all the cash He wanted? Sure. But that was what the temptation in the desert was all about. A repudiation of the things of this world. As well as a repudiation of the lord of this world.

i think that the example that Jesus set for us is that money by itself is unimportant. Sell all you have and give it to the poor is not a condemnation of money, but a condemnation of the attitude and the priorities of the rich kid. And us, individually, and as a society.

36 posted on 12/26/2009 8:50:21 AM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: ClearBlueSky
Preachers who USE the Gospel to prey on the poor are reprehensible.

Well, I would think that goes without saying, but there are too many so-called Christians (and even many good Christians) who think that if you're successful or even, gasp, wealthy, then that means you can't possibly be a Christian, and you're bound for hell. Utterly ridiculous. Jesus' talks about the wealthy more revolved around the idea that wealthy folks are more susceptible to think that they're the ultimate power in the universe, and they consequently lose sight of God. This is obviously an issue, and that's why He brought it up.

37 posted on 12/26/2009 8:50:49 AM PST by Future Snake Eater ("Get out of the boat and walk on the water with us!”--Sen. Joe Biden)
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To: Vermont Lt
The “eye of the needle” being the door in the great gates of the city walls. Not an impossible task if you have a good camel. But not one you want to try after a few drinks on a Saturday night.

Don't drink and ride, eh?

38 posted on 12/26/2009 8:51:28 AM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: stars & stripes forever
When Jesus talked about it being harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel going through an eye of a needle, He was referring to wealthy people love money more than God. The illustration is a heart issue, not a money issue.

Or any other priority or distraction from God. Money is only one example. Are there rich people in Heaven? Sure. Are a lot of rich people guilty of worshipping the contents of their own navels? Sure.

39 posted on 12/26/2009 8:53:48 AM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: uncbob; DieHard the Hunter
"He never identifies Himself as a member of that group."

Matthew 8:20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." --- heh heh, just kidding, folks.

Actually, He did explicitly and personally "identify" with those who lacked food and shelter --- and thought it was so important for his followers to "get" that, that he once repeated the details four times in the space of 16 verses (Matthew 25:31-46.) He identified with the poor. Which is not to say He was born to beggars: He was born to a craftsman's family. It's not to say He was destitute, except in the end when he was stripped and executed. He moved easily amongst working people, too --- farmers, fishermen, soldiers, servants, stewards, whose situations he often used in His sermons. His statements about the rich are so famously uncomfortable they hardly need quoting.

Interestingly, He also "identified" with the child. Mark 9:37 "Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and receives not only Me, but Him who sent Me."

Those are the only two instances I can think of, the situations of the needy and of the child, when He said "If you so such-and-such to THIS GUY, you're doing it to Me."

40 posted on 12/26/2009 8:58:19 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("But woe to you rich, for ye have received your consolation." Luke 6:24)
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To: markomalley

Jesus’ uncle was Joseph of Arimethia who also owned the tomb. Joseph also owned tin mines. They had wealth at least in their connection to Joseph.


41 posted on 12/26/2009 9:04:04 AM PST by Partisan Gunslinger
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To: Partisan Gunslinger
Jesus’ uncle was Joseph of Arimethia who also owned the tomb.

Please cite your source for that.

42 posted on 12/26/2009 9:09:35 AM PST by Lee N. Field (Dispensational exegesis not supported by an a-, post- or historic pre-mil scholar will be ignored.)
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To: uncbob
We will never know for sure.

Wonder if there were Unions back then?
Carpenters Local #3?

43 posted on 12/26/2009 9:20:58 AM PST by AGreatPer (Impeach Obama)
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To: MarkBsnr

I think with Mary’s bloodline, coming from David, he would have had the ability to generate great wealth by proclaiming himself as a rightful heir. That might have been on the of the temptations alluded to.

In any event, rich or poor, his message was “good.” And that is enough for me.


44 posted on 12/26/2009 9:33:20 AM PST by Vermont Lt (I have lived here all my life, and now is the first time I am ashamed of my country)
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To: ClearBlueSky

Frankincense and Myrrh were more valuable than gold at the time. It seems from family background they were of comfortable means, and the gifts bestowed upon him from the magi certainly made relocating to egypt possible.


45 posted on 12/26/2009 9:36:53 AM PST by Katya (Homo Nosce Te Ipsum)
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To: Lee N. Field
Biblical evidence is that Joseph was the one that redeemed the body from the cross...only a relative could do that, and it actually shows Joseph became the guardian of Mary's family when Jesus' step-father died.

Historical evidence shows that Joseph of Arimathea was Mary's uncle. Do an Alta Vista search on "joseph arimathea uncle" and you'll find plenty.

46 posted on 12/26/2009 9:45:51 AM PST by Partisan Gunslinger
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To: KarlInOhio

I’m too lazy to look, but I don’t think the gospels mention any donkey. Paintings and figurines should not be mistaken for the Gospel.


47 posted on 12/26/2009 10:06:39 AM PST by Arthur McGowan (In Edward Kennedy's America, federal funding of brothels is a right, not a privilege.)
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To: uncbob

“He never identifies Himself as a member of that group.”

He was kind of his own group of one—Emmanuel, King of Kings, I Am, The Word, The Messiah.

So I don’t think it’s meaningful to parse his words on group membership.

The propserity gospel is directly contrary to the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus spoke on that subject. I regard it as rank heresy and deeply embarassing. Jesus’ prosperity or lack thereof is meaningless. God provided for Him every day as God chose. And Jesus accepted that cup every day. One of the themes that plays throughout the New Testament, which His father spoke to Him, is that we are not saved through the things of this world, through water that leaves us thirsty in an hour. Only His living water will refresh us.

That said, some Christians are rich and some poor. Some powerful some not. If they are Christians, they share submission to Him. The notion that wealth is a sign of favor from God surely comes from Satan. If it were true, Howard Hughes was surely the most blessed of all men, fingernails and all. We should be looking more at faith, the ability to submit, the gifts of the spirit and repentence.


48 posted on 12/26/2009 10:21:47 AM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: markomalley

***this time from the “name it and claim it” prosperity gospel folks...***

It should be noted that after the birth of Jesus, Mary was ritually “unclean” for several days. At the end of that time she offered, at the Temple, not a calf, not a goat or sheep, but two doves or pigeons, which was what the extremely poor offered.


49 posted on 12/26/2009 10:57:09 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: markomalley

***Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for his expensive undergarments.****

This reminds me of the debate in THE NAME OF THE ROSE.

“The world waits with bated breath over what we decide here. Did Christ, or did he not, own the clothes that he wore!”


50 posted on 12/26/2009 11:00:38 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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