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Discerning the diverse biblical voices on wealth


Lydia Harder’s Saturday workshop at Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012

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July 17, 2012
-Rachel Bergen

Vancouver, B.C. — What does it mean when diverse voices speak differently on biblical topics? How does one discern the truth and how to live accordingly?

In Lydia Harder’s Saturday workshop at Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012, Exploring Diverse Voices on the Issue of Money and Wealth, the theologian and pastor of Hagerman Mennonite Church in Ontario, used Walter Brueggeman’s framework of comparing and contrasting the different voices that discuss wealth in the Bible.

These voices include the foundational narratives of the Torah, the Gospels and Acts; the prophets, the wisdom writers, and the psalmists and prayer writers.

Harder offered a framework for looking at all the different voices addressing the Bible, including their messages, their core convictions, how they function in community, their kind of authority, how they communicate, their place in community, and the dangers or temptations.

The framework enabled people to recognize the differences and similarities between the messages on money and wealth in each book of the Bible.

The foundational narratives show God’s people how to bless all people. Prophetic words disrupt the world by presenting new visions, while wisdom literature teaches through human experience, and the psalmist offers understanding through a relationship with God.

“Do they all say the same thing about wealth?” Harder asked.

“The authorities come at it slightly differently and we need that whole conversation.  Our communities aren’t complete if we don’t have all of these components in them.”

But most significantly, participants left the workshop with the understanding that Jesus’ example is the most important.

“Jesus is the wisdom, the most foundational truth, the ultimate prophet.  Jesus brings together all wisdom in the bible and conventional wisdom that we have,” Harder said.

See complete coverage of Assembly 2012