Sunday, October 22, 2006

AJC: Was Jesus rich?

Was Jesus rich? John Blake in the AJC presents both sides of this theological/historical debate: "Christians gather around the world each Christmas to sing about 'poor baby Jesus' asleep in the manger with no crib for his bed.

But the Rev. Creflo Dollar looks inside that manger, and he doesn't see a poor baby at all.

He sees a baby born into wealth because the kings visiting him gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh. He sees a messiah with so much money that he needed an accountant to track it. He sees a savior who wore clothes so expensive that the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for them.

Dollar sees a rich Jesus.

'He was rich, he was whole, and I use those words interchangeably,' says Dollar, senior pastor of World Changers Church International, a 23,000-member College Park church, which broadcasts its services on six continents.

Dollar is part of a growing number of preachers who say that the traditional image of Jesus as a poor, itinerant preacher who 'had no place to lay his head' is wrong.

'Did Jesus have money? Well, the Bible was clear. Kings brought him gold,' Dollar says. 'Did Jesus have money? It's clear. He had a treasurer to keep up with it.'

Yet many academic scholars say pastors like Dollar are inventing a rich Jesus for selfish reasons."


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