The book’s a great resource for introducing the Word of God to non-Christians, but I share the uneasiness others have expressed. How wealthy should Christians be? It’s a difficult question for me, because the Bible offers a number of points that I have trouble reconciling.
The Bible makes it very clear that pastors should be paid for the work they do. The problem is a limitation found in the Amplified version that changes the meaning somewhat: “[On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel” (emphasis mine). Maintenance, used in this context, makes me think it’s okay, and even expected, that pastors should live comfortably on the funds of their congregation; unusual wealth, however, doesn’t seem justified by this verse.
So, where do Christians draw the line? My first thought, and the one that’s been rattling around in my head despite all attempts to purge it, is advertising. Wait, don’t misunderstand me – I’m not equating advertising with sin. I’m just saying that if you’re a Christian author or artist and you rely on advertising to promote your product, it might be a good idea to do a self-evaluation of your motives once and a while. Remember, according to this site, “Advertising is mass communication an advertiser pays for in order to convince…the public to…take actions of benefit to the advertiser” (again, emphasis mine).
So, back to Rick Warren. In case you don’t know, he’s the senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Saddleback Church. A quick search at Amazon.com comes up with 50 products. Purpose Driven ® is a registered trademark.
This post has turned out to be a lot of rambling about nothing, unfortunately. Sorry about that. I think ultimately, your economic situation is between you and God, and it’s largely based on your attitude toward the resources He gives you. You may want to think about the widow while you’re working this out.