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Money, Possessions, and Eternity.

Money, Possessions, and Eternity. By Randy Alcorn. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2002. 502 pages. $15.99.

Randy Alcorn, an evangelical pastor for 14 years, now serves as the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries. His book is divided into four sections. The first is " The Challenge of Money and Possessions," Alcorn writes about seeing money from a divine perspective. He criticizes both the excesses of asceticism and materialism. Not only does he address materialism in secular culture he also examines how it affects the church. The best part of this section is his assessment of the dangers and errors of prosperity theology.

The second part is titled "Seeing Money and Possessions in Eternity's Light." Here Alcorn employs many biblical passages to talk about the theme of money, such as the impossibility of serving two masters. He also uses parables to talk about the eternal rewards waiting for us in heaven if we use our wealth correctly. In the close of the section Alcorn proposes a pilgrim mentality where we are always think about how our actions affect our life in the next world.

The third section, titled "Giving and Sharing Our Money and Possessions," applies this vision of the future to our giving, especially to the church. Alcorn writes about tithing as the training wheels that help us to begin offering back to God. He suggests that true joy and rewards arc to be found when we go above and beyond tithing to sacrificial giving. In this section he also addresses the issues of giving to the poor and the ethics of church fund-raising.

The final section is called "Handling Our Money and Possessions." Here Alcorn proposes that everything having to do with money must be done with an eternal perspective. He shares his thoughts on debt, gambling, investing, leaving inheritance, and buying insurance. He also reflects on how to battle materialism in the church family and how we should be teaching our children about giving.

The language and theology of the book are distinctively evangelical, yet other voices also find expression. There are even several quotes from Luther, for example: "I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands, that 1 still possess."

Pastors will appreciate the large collection of biblical passages and be challenged by the critique of several trends in modern Christianity. The book includes a study guide for each chapter. There is great material for discussion on many sensitive topics.

Angela K. Neubauer

Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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Author:Neubauer, Angela K.
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2009
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