Monday, August 27, 2012

When Jesus Christ Encountered Moneychangers In His Temple, He Didn't Exactly Declare Them "Too Big To Fail" And Give Them TARP Funds

It is amazing how many people idealize Jesus Christ and try to cram him into their own imperfect ideological shoebox. Some say Jesus was a socialist, others say a libertarian, and still others a capitalist.

The fact is, Jesus used whatever worked best in a given situation. In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, He espoused the libertarian approach when He approved of the idea that employee compensation should be strictly a matter between employee and employer, even if it meant not all employees would receive equal pay for the same job.

But Jesus also displayed a socialist side as well when he encountered moneychangers at the temple during one of his visits. Instead of deciding that the moneychangers were "too big to fail" and giving them TARP funds, He reacted quite differently. It's recorded in multiple sources, starting with John 2:13-16:

13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,

14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

From Luke 19:45-48:

45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;

46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,

48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

And from Mark 11:15-19:

15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;

16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.

17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.

19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.

Note that Jesus did not object to the existence of the moneychangers or their profession; instead, He objected to the location. As it is inappropriate for a woman to show up at sacrament meeting wearing a miniskirt, so it is just as inappropriate to engage in moneychanging on ecclesiastical property. Yes, Jesus is spoken of as the Prince of Peace who counseled us to turn the other cheek, but when He encountered the moneychangers turning His temple into a stock exchange, He didn't turn the other cheek; He took out a whip and parted their cheeks with it. My kind of Savior.

So what about the relationship between the LDS Church and the controversial City Creek Mall in Salt Lake City? Analysis of the Lord's encounter with the moneychangers indicates that the Lord does not necessarily object to His church investing in shopping malls so long as His church invests a higher priority in building chapels and temples. The church's share of the profits from the City Creek Mall are intended to give the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints additional income to permit it to continue its mission of preaching the Gospel unto every creature and caring for the needs of the membership even during hard economic times when tithing receipts drop and consumption of welfare resources rises. And considering that the LDS Church has 138 temples in operation, this would indicate the Church has given a higher priority to building temples.

Most importantly, Jesus Christ was always attuned to the will of the Father. When the will of the Father showed that socialism was best, Jesus employed socialism. When the will of the Father prescribed a libertarian approach, Jesus employed libertarianism. And when the will of the Father demanded a capitalist approach, Jesus employed capitalism. Jesus Christ was bigger than all the precepts of men; since He descended below us all at Gethsemane and Calvary, he was allowed to ascend above us all -- but for the purpose of taking us with Him if we choose to follow Him. It is not up to Him to conform to us -- it is up to us to conform to Him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read the revealed word of god regarding tithing the law of it is part of and the proper use of tithing funds. To say that no tithing funds were used to build this behemoth is disingenuous at best.