Skip to comments.Chrysostom on the Poor
Posted on 09/15/2010 12:55:37 PM PDT by markomalley
From On Living Simply, Sermon XLIII. (HT: American Orthodox Institute Observer, et al.):
Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich persons gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm.
Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold form the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change peoples hearts first and then they will joyfully share their wealth.
Lest anyone think I post this to cast St. John Chrysostom as some sort of proto-free marketer, that is not the point. He was equally severe with those who had accumulated wealth. Their responsibilities to the poor and to the neighbor were non-negotiable. But those responsibilities were to be exercised freely, in accord with our nature, and without compulsion.
If you cannot remember everything, instead of everything, I beg you, remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs. If we have this attitude, we will certainly offer our money; and by nourishing Christ in poverty here and laying up great profit hereafter, we will be able to attain the good things which are to come, by the grace and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom (be glory, honor, and might,) to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen (On Wealth and Poverty).
More on St. John Chrysostom.
Damning criticism of the “Social Justice”
Achieved by acts of Governance
“Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself” are not just pretty words
But must be acts of Free Will, not under compulsion
REMEMBER THIS - WHAT SAY CHRIST JESUS:
Matthew 26.11 For ye have the poor always with you
Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good
You may do them good, this is optional - not a commandment
CHRIST NEVER SAID: SHARE all your possessions and wealth with the poor.
On the contrary - God is sharing HIS possessions and wealth with all mankind on this present Earth.
CHRIST NEVER SAID: we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.
On the contrary - God is HE which possesses all the wealth and riches of the Earth; it is neither of man nor of the poor.
CHRIST NEVER SAID: If we do not share our possession and wealth with the poor - this is a theft.
On the contrary - God NEVER calls believers a thief.
Chrysostom was a good and righteous man of God, but he was NOT above God in HIS WORD to direct people or Christians to SHARE all your possessions and wealth with the poor. The clearly is un-Biblical; un-Christ (based upon what Christ said and did).
What is great profit?
Great Profit: The Bible as God's Word, and Christ Jesus as the Word of God; did teach in the Epistles of Paul: laying up great profit hereafter is following Paul in watching for the Lord's return; maturing as a Son of God In Christ as a believer; crying "Abba Father" as a Son of God In Christ; recognizing that God is the possessor of all riches and wealth in the earth: God is the possessor of Heaven and Earth.
There are Bible Scripture to back up and support ALL these claims I have presented. God's Word in Scripture clearly speaks to support all these claims.
>> CHRIST NEVER SAID: SHARE all your possessions and wealth with the poor. <<
Actually: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.” — Matthew 19:21
>> CHRIST NEVER SAID: we do not possess our own wealth but theirs. On the contrary - God is HE which possesses all the wealth and riches of the Earth; it is neither of man nor of the poor. <<
Actually, he said we do not even possess ourselves, but our very selves are His, redeemed by His blood, so that we might do His will.
The key, though is that it be done as charity, not compulsion.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” — James 1:27.
It did not say to give them your possessions, but to visit them in their afflictions.
I’ll grant you, St. John Crysostom (”the Golden-mouthed) has a certain outrageousness in his writings. The bible does not call it theft to withhold alms from the poor; it merely demands that they be given.
The Eastern Fathers, including +John Chrysostomos, were not products of the Western Church, the Reformation or the so called Enlightenment. They most certainly bear no similarity whatsoever to modern, American right wing economists or politicians or the devotees of modern right wing economic political or economic theory.
Like it or not, what +John Chrysostomos and the Cappadocian Fathers wrote on Wealth and Poverty represents what the Christian World believed in the Fourth Century and what much of the Eastern Christian World believes to this day. That world and that world view are foreign to today’s Western society and the religious mindset current among politicized Western Christians of either liberal or conservative proclivities.
In any event, rather than read all four of those Eastern Fathers in their entirety, here’s a good overview of what they taught in .pdf format:
Utter nonsense. He spoke against the "Judaizers" who wanted Christians to adopt Jewish religious practices.
“Among the church fathers, some are quite mild in their position toward Judaism while others are fiercely hostile. John Chrysostom, one of the best- known church fathers, is one of the most anti-Jewish.
“This bishop of Antioch, Syria, lived in the second half of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. His name means man with the golden mouth,’ but much venom came from this mouth. He is not the first, but certainly the most outspoken, church father who combined horrific Christian anti-Jewish elements derived from the New Testament with originally pagan ones.
“John Chrysostom’s most notorious writings are a series of long anti-Jewish sermons, which he delivered in the main church of Antioch in 386 and 387 CE. They belong to the worst Christian anti-Semitic documents in antiquity. Besides calling the Jews Christ-killers’-claiming they killed the person who was sent to them by God to save them in the Final Judgment-and children of the devil,’ he also adopted various anti-Jewish clichés from pre-Christian pagan antiquity. These include motifs such as the Jews as haters of the rest of humanity and as nonbelievers in any god whatsoever.
“John Chrysostom and others could also reach back to the one statement where the Apostle Paul said the Jews were enemies of mankind. Through John Chrysostom these themes began to be integrated into the anti-Jewish discourse of Christianity. His anti-Jewish sermons have since become very influential.”
Yes, note the absence of any direct quotations, only allegations about what he supposedly said.
You’re in good company. Lots of Christians don’t believe Luther was a Jew-hater either.
Thanks for that summary. Interesting read. Do you know of a more complete online collection of Chrysostom’s writings than those that are compiled in Schaff’s “Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers”?
“Thanks for that summary. Interesting read.”
You are very welcome. For a quick overview, it’s not bad at all, but of course the original writings are a lot better.
“Do you know of a more complete online collection of Chrysostoms writings than those that are compiled in Schaffs Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers”
I know of what is at a minimum a great supplement to Schaff, books.google.com, so long as you don’t mind the format.
Here’s a link to On Wealth and Poverty:
Very very interesting.
I am very gratified to see that the Fathers did not consider wealth per se as an evil; it is the accumulation or the passion for wealth to the exclusion of one’s moral duties that is to be shunned. I was fascinated by the comparison of Basil the Great to John Chrystostom, as well.
“I was fascinated by the comparison of Basil the Great to John Chrystostom, as well.”
I thought that might be your reaction!
Passover Seders, for example. Keeping the Mosaic Law regarding food in contradiction of Acts 15.
You must think "Jesus" was a "Christian," not a Jew.
Not sure what you're going for here. Yes, Jesus was born a Jew and appears to have kept the Law as He fulfilled it.
Read up and report back when you are more informed.
Thank you for admitting that you had nothing to back up your allegations!
Sorry I wet on your Christian-hating parade.
Ok, I'm not really. You deserved it.
Yes, being a Christian does put me in good company, thank you!
I can only thank god that I'm not in the company of bigots, although I do agitate them on Free Republic!
Related link on Vatican Website: Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, 19 September 2007, Saint John Chrysostom (Part 1)
Related link on Vatican Website: Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, 26 September 2007, Saint John Chrysostom (Part 2)
Related Links on the New Advent website:
Saint John Chrysostom writings, etc.
- Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew
- Homilies on Acts
- Homilies on Romans
- Homilies on First Corinthians
- Homilies on Second Corinthians
- Homilies on Ephesians
- Homilies on Philippians
- Homilies on Colossians
- Homilies on First Thessalonians
- Homilies on Second Thessalonians
- Homilies on First Timothy
- Homilies on Second Timothy
- Homilies on Titus
- Homilies on Philemon
- Commentary on Galatians
- Homilies on the Gospel of John
- Homilies on the Epistle to the Hebrews
- Homilies on the Statues
- No One Can Harm the Man Who Does Not Injure Himself
- Two Letters to Theodore After His Fall
- Letter to a Young Widow
- Homily on St. Ignatius
- Homily on St. Babylas
- Homily Concerning "Lowliness of Mind"
- Instructions to Catechumens
- Three Homilies on the Power of Satan
- Homily on the Passage "Father, if it be possible . . ."
- Homily on the Paralytic Lowered Through the Roof
- Homily on the Passage "If your enemy hunger, feed him."
- Homily Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren
- First Homily on Eutropius
- Second Homily on Eutropius (After His Captivity)
- Four Letters to Olympias
- Letter to Some Priests of Antioch
- Correspondence with Pope Innocent I
- On the Priesthood
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