“Sell Your Possessions And Give To The Poor” A Theological Reflection On Jesus’ Teaching Regarding Personal Wealth And Charity

Today’s reader of these strong commandments of Jesus, especially in the global West, cannot help but react in some way. That reaction may be guilt over not obeying, like a low-grade fever that spikes up when these commands are heard anew. Or the reaction may be guardedness or defensiveness, offering reasons why these statements don’t mean what they seem to say. Or, least likely but still possible, some readers may immediately drop everything and sell all that they have so as to be true disciples of Jesus.

Each reaction is understandable and has adherents in the Church today as well as throughout Church history. What is clear is that Jesus’ teachings are strong and stark and must be addressed one way or another.

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Jonathan Pennington received his PhD in New Testament Studies from the University of St. Andrews. He is an Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Director of Research for Doctoral Studies at Southern Seminary.
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