Friday, January 7, 2011

Proverbs 6:5 and Dave Ramsey: Good with finances, Terrible with theology

I was at the local United Methodist Church recently having a coffee at their nook (and using their free WiFi - it's a Weslean coffee nook, right, so I have a free will to use their WiFi) and while there noticed a poster for a Dave Ramsey lecture, in which it made the ridiculous comment about how "Jesus said more about money than love."  What?  Now I can see how this sort of ridiculous, surface-level observation of Christ's teaching would manifest at a United Methodist church, but all the same, this is just patently bad theology. I've posted why I'm not a Methodist before, and the fact that the eldership at this church would give the blanket approval for this painful kind of goofy surface-level Scripture reading is, frankly, very telling.

Jesus said more about his coming KINGDOM than he said about money or love.  Money as spoken of in the gospels wasn't used as a vehicle to give financial advice!  Jesus rather used examples of money to illustrate things such as the importance of using heavenly gifts wisely (Matthew 25:18), expressing the importance of forgiveness (Luke 7:41), or even the sin of polluting God's house with merchandising (John 2:14) - (would that apply to coffee shop/gift shops in Methodist churches?)

But in terms of Ramsey, who apparently thought up this advertisement for his seminars, it's frankly a shame that he'd resort to using such a lame gimmick for his seminars.  I think his financial book, "Total Money Makeover", is fantastic, and I've really benefited from much of his thinking - if nothing else, his loathing of credit cards that I now share.  Budgeting is very important too, and Ramsey does a nice job of breaking this down to a granular level with forms in the book.  I do believe that the Proverbs 6:5 passage he uses is right on in terms of vigilance in fleeing debt-slavery, "Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler", yet at the same time, throughout the book Ramsey also uses a lot of Navigator-style Bible verse quotes that are often ripped completely out of context that always throw me off when I'm reading, because then I'm left puzzled at the usage of the passage in the right context, instead of figuring out what mutual funds to use.

Good advice, but at times Ramsey makes money seem as if it's the end-all, and he would be wise to do a little bit of a deeper reading into Scripture, and really dig into the danger of serving money (Matthew 6:24) which is a flavor that does seem to come across from time to time.  Good financial advice, but misquoting Jesus really isn't the best approach he should take.

1 comment:

  1. I am taking Financial Peace right now and yesterday at class I wondered out loud why Dave quotes Proverbs more than Jesus on Finances. Answer : Proverbs is much much more safe than Jesus.

    Jesus will ruin everyone, in a good way. :-D