The Systemization of Greed

Edited by Drew Friesen

Photo by Kvnga on Unsplash

By Anderson Hultgren

Published November 1st, 2020

            In my travels, I have attended a variety of churches. The discomfort that I have felt in each congregation has varied, yet I wish to tell you of one experience. I will not name the church or location, but I have found it a somewhat typical experience: 
            Entering the church doors, I was greeted with concerned looks. This small town church was not used to outsiders like myself. Attempting an approachable smile, I greet, “Good morning,” searching for the sanctuary doors. After entering, I felt a little aimless, but I found a seat that was somewhat out of the way. My concern was that I would take someone’s usual seat. Several minutes later, the service opened up. It was a lovely service. Although I can’t remember which hymns were sung nor the Pastor’s topic, I do remember being encouraged. That is, until the service was over. After the benediction, I left as I came in, attempting that approachable smile. 
            It can be a lonely thing entering a new church. Current church services tend to focus on the sermon and the worship rather than the people who make up the Church. Biblically, it is not the building that makes the Church but the people. When making disciples, we must hospitably engage with those around us. New goals need to be pursued by leaders and members. How can we restore the wholeness of the church body? 
            One plan of action is to strive for holiness. If we are to “be holy” as “God is holy” (1 Pet. 1:16 ESV), we can learn how to steward disciples by studying God’s strategy. Attending to the church environment, this article will analyze God’s hospitality in the Garden of Eden. In turn, it will suggest a similar strategy for church leaders and disciplemakers. In this article, I will argue that church leaders and members should strive to provide responsibility, food, and community


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth … Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”[1]
- Genesis 1:1, 26a, 27-28 ESV



            [1] Emphasis added. 
            [2] Dr. John Clark of Moody Bible Institute
            [3] Note: Though Life has often been reduced to simple earthly survival, This reduction has been overdone. Life is not only life on earth, but life eternal. Furthermore, life is not only surviving but thriving. Some have called thriving “human flourishing.” Life is known by fruit growing on a tree (Lk. 8:14), the growth of a child, or the character we gain. For the Father not only "raises the dead," but "gives them life" (Jn. 5:21). If you can excuse the phrasing, there is more to life than being alive. Needs attend the nature of survival. As Jesus once said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Duet. 8:3, Mt. 4:4, Lk. 4:4). See, Anderson Hultgren, “Theology of Comfort: Comfort of the Biblical and the Secular” (essay, Moody Bible Institute, 2020),  3; See Miroslav Volf, Tony Blair, Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World (New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 2016) 
            [4] Norman Wirzba, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating Second Edition (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019, Kindle), Loc. 183. 
            [5] Ibid., Loc. 168
            [6] See Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17 in The New International Commentary of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990, digital), I. B. 5:15, “God is not only evaluator; he is also rectifier. He is not long on analysis but short on solution. His remedy is to provide a helper suitable for him (i.e., for the man). The last part of v. 18 reads literally, “I will make him for him a helper as in front of him (or according to what is in front of him).” This last phrase, “as in front of him (or according to what is in front of him)” (k ene dô), occurs only here and in v. 20. It suggests that what God creates for Adam will correspond to him. Thus the new creation will be neither a superior nor an inferior, but an equal. The creation of this helper will form one-half of a polarity, and will be to man as the south pole is to the north pole.”

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