Covenant Wealth

By R. J. Rushdoony
November 01, 2000

The usual economic classifications are wealthy, middle class, and poor. The definitions of each are vague, but the meanings are clear. In each case, the definitions vary with time. Early in the 1929 depression, in a film, showgirls described the hero as "very rich" because his income was $5,000 a year. In those days, a good house sold for $2,500.

Intellectuals have problems with all three classes. They treat the rich as malefactors, the middle class as hopelessly stupid, and the poor are idealized as victims, but they are avoided.

From a covenantal and Biblical perspective, all three classes can be good or evil, depending on their relationship to the Triune God and His law-word.

In the beginning, man was told to subdue the garden and develop it by caring for it. The Garden of Eden was, in a limited space, the place where man was to develop his kingdom work and gain in the wealth thereof. Now we define wealth in terms of money and possessions. God's purpose is that we define it in terms of His kingdom, not in terms of human social status.

Covenant wealth is, first and last, kingdom gain. Thus, I am, in my estimation, a rich man, although, for example, I have never owned a new car and my present one dates from 1980. (In the year 2000, it still does well because it is well cared for.)

Covenant wealth will prosper us usually; but it always prospers God's kingdom.

But some churchmen share the world's views. I have seen well-to-do congregations build monumentally poor and ugly churches as though it was a virtue to do so!

The purpose of covenant wealth is to make this world into God's kingdom. It means developing also the arts and sciences to further His kingdom. This means we apply the Faith to every area of life and thought.

What are we building? What is around us, the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of man?

All of history, and all our lives, can be termed the key form of wealth building, but for whom?

We believe that our work in developing Chalcedon's work is a form of covenant wealth building, but so too is any labor that serves to enhance man's progress under God. Christians need to be encouraged in covenant wealth building which serves not only themselves but all God's kingdom.

Sad to say, who speaks now of covenant wealth? Have we forgotten that God's kingdom requires it of His people?

It is time for us to recognize the need for godly wealth. It will bless both us and His kingdom.

Topics: Economics, Science, Media / Arts, Christian Reconstruction

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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