In my previous post I began to show that after Jesus’ death, his followers started to soften his message that it was necessary for his followers to give up all their material goods.  In fact, Christian leaders started seeing the virtue of wealth in their communities and began to claim that wealthy people who gave of their goods generously (without getting rid of them all) could help provide salvation for their souls.

Such views become standard within the Christian tradition, creating two intriguing ironies for the religion, one related to the proclamation of Jesus during his life and other connected to the proclamation of the salvation he brought by his death.

Jesus’ own views of wealth came to be reversed by his later followers, making it possible for them to increase their numbers in a world not at all likely to follow his example and message of voluntary poverty for the sake of the kingdom.

On the other hand, precisely these missionary successes led subsequent generations of Christians to modify the original Christian understanding of the complete efficacy of Jesus death for salvation.

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