Hating Wealth And Wives? An Examination Of Discipleship Ethics In The Third Gospel -- By: Christopher M. Hays

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 60:1 (NA 2009)
Article: Hating Wealth And Wives? An Examination Of Discipleship Ethics In The Third Gospel
Author: Christopher M. Hays


Hating Wealth And Wives?
An Examination Of Discipleship Ethics In The Third Gospel

Christopher M. Hays

Summary

The Gospel of Luke often couples instructions on the proper use of wealth with teachings on family relations, sometimes addressing these topics in a tone that smacks of antipathy. The present essay contends that the twin ‘hostilities’ towards wealth and family in the Gospel of Luke derive from theological roots, specifically, from Luke’s endorsement of the imitation of Christ and his teaching on eschatological judgement. To support this thesis, and to delineate certain contours of Lukan ethics, this investigation offers examinations of Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-35; and 17:20-35.

Introduction

With the essay ‘Die Armut der Jünger in der Sicht des Lukas’ Hans- Josef Klauck noted that the themes of poverty and celibacy in the Lukan Gospel frequently occur in close conjunction.1 Convinced that this interrelationship was no coincidence, Klauck went on to argue that the concurrence of the two themes indicated that they functioned analogously; just as Luke endorsed both celibacy and marriage as acceptable behaviours for followers of Jesus, so also Klauck averred that renunciation of possessions and generous use of wealth are viable forms of discipleship.2 Thus Klauck offered a dualistic solution to the thorny issue of Lukan wealth ethics which is broadly similar (though

argued on quite different grounds) to that of Hans-Joachim Degenhardt before him,3 and, more recently, Kyoung-Jin Kim.4 It is not the intention of the present essay to evaluate Klauck’s account of Lukan wealth ethics, nor in such a short scope to offer an alternative solution to this bone of scholarly contention. Rather, I would like to suggest that the ethical topics of riches and family are such happy bedfellows in the Third Gospel (particularly in Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-35; and 17:20-35)5 because they are directly borne upon by two theological subjects important to Luke, viz., the imitation and the expectation of Christ. While these theological themes are only two pillars supporting Luke’s lofty ethical edifice, they do contribute to an account of discipleship that does not disavow one’s biological...

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