What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty
Financial advisor Dave Ramsey is also an evangelical Christian.
November 30th, 2013
09:59 AM ET

What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN 

(CNN)– Dave Ramsey is rich. And he makes his living telling other evangelical Christians how they can get rich, too.

Host of a nationally syndicated radio program and author of multiple best-selling books, Ramsey targets evangelical Christians with what he calls a “biblical” approach to financial planning, one that focuses primarily on the elimination of consumer debt. His for-profit Financial Peace University is billed as “a biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God's ways."

Much of what Ramsey teaches is sound, helpful advice, particularly for middle-class Americans struggling with mounting credit card bills. I have celebrated with friends as they’ve marked their first day of debt-free living, thanks in part to Dave Ramsey’s teachings and all those white envelopes of cash he urges his students to use instead of credit cards.

But while Ramsey may be a fine source of information on how to eliminate debt, his views on poverty are neither informed nor biblical.

Take, for example, a recent article by Tim Corley posted to Ramsey’s website. Entitled “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day,” the article presents some dubious statistics comparing the habits of the rich with the habits of the poor, including:

“70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.”

“76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.”

“63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.”

One need not be a student of logic to observe that Corley and Ramsey have confused correlation with causation here by suggesting that these habits make people rich or poor.

For example, a poor person might not exercise four days a week because, unlike a rich person, she cannot afford a gym membership. Or perhaps she has to work two jobs to earn a living wage, which leaves her little time and energy for jogging around the park.

A poor family may eat more junk food, not because they are lazy and undisciplined, but because they live in an economically disadvantaged, urban setting where health food stores are not as available: a so-called “food desert.”

Critics were swift to point out these discrepancies and among the critics were some of Ramsey’s fellow evangelical Christians who also noted that, though the book of Proverbs certainly heralds success as a common return on faithful labor, nowhere does the Bible guarantee that good habits lead to wealth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes observed that "under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all."

And far from having contempt for the poor, Jesus surrounded himself with the needy and challenged the excesses of the rich. “Blessed are you who are poor,” he said, “for yours is the kingdom of God. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:24).

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," Jesus famously said, "than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

It’s hard for the wealthy to flourish in the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated because the economy of that kingdom runs so contrary to the economies of the world. It rewards the peacemakers over the powerful, the humble over the proud, the kind over the cruel, and those who hunger to do the right thing over those whose wealth has convinced them they already are.

Ramsey responded to the pushback with an addendum to the original post calling his critics “ignorant” and “immature” and instructing them to “grow up.”

“This list simply says your choices cause results,” he said, again committing the false cause fallacy. “You reap what you sow.”

The list, he said, applies only to people living in “first world” countries, where Ramsey believes economic injustices are essentially nonexistent. While the poor in developing countries are so as a result of external circumstances beyond their control, the poor in the United States have no one to blame but themselves.

“If you are broke or poor in the U.S. or a first-world economy, the only variable in the discussion you can personally control is YOU,” Ramsey says. “You can make better choices and have better results.”

America, he argues, has prospered as a direct result of its “understanding and application of biblical truths” which have led to “life-changing industry, inventions and a standard of living never known before on this planet.”

“There is a direct correlation,” he concludes, “between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth.”

For Christians, Ramsey’s perceived “direct correlation” between faith and wealth should be more troubling than his other confused correlations, for it flirts with what Christians refer to as the prosperity gospel, the teaching that God rewards faithfulness with wealth.

Ramsey’s particular brand of prosperity gospel elevates the American dream as God’s reward for America’s faithfulness, the spoils of which are readily available to anyone who works hard enough to receive them.

But such a view glosses over the reality that America was not, in fact, founded upon purely Christian principles (unless one counts slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow as Christian principles), so we should be careful of assuming our relative wealth reflects God’s favor. (The Roman Empire was wealthy, too, after all.)

It also glosses over the reality that economic injustice is not, in fact, limited to the developing world but plagues our own country as well.

When medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States, there are systemic injustices at work.

When people working 40-hour weeks at minimum wage jobs still can’t earn enough to support their families, there are systemic injustices at work.

When approximately 1% of Americans hold 40% of the nation’s wealth, there are systemic injustices at work.

When the black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for the past 50 years, there are systemic injustices at work.

And throughout Scripture, people of faith are called not simply to donate to charity, but to address such systemic injustices in substantive ways.

The 17-year-old girl who lives in a depressed neighborhood zoned for a failing school system who probably won’t graduate because her grades are suffering because she has to work part-time to help support her family needs more than a few audio books to turn things around.

People are poor for a lot of reasons, and choice is certainly a factor, but categorically blaming poverty on lack of faith or lack of initiative is not only uninformed, it’s unbiblical.

God does not divide the world into the deserving rich and the undeserving poor. In fact, the brother of Jesus wrote that God has “chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him” (James 2:5).

God does not bless people with money; God blesses people with the good and perfect gift of God’s presence, which is available to rich and poor alike.

And that’s good news.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Business • Christianity • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Leaders • Money & Faith • Opinion

soundoff (2,299 Responses)
  1. Jason Reynolds

    Reblogged this on Tennessee Christian News.

    November 30, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  2. demon or 2

    Rachel has less understanding of what Ramsey was saying than a radical christian has of the bible.

    November 30, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  3. anony

    ALL these guys like Ramsey are ALL Christian phoneys.
    Their religion is CAPITALISM not CHRISTIANITY.

    November 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  4. Lynnette

    I am positive that Dave is not teaching in his program that you will be rich. I have taken this course along with my husband and Dave teaches you how to live debt free and get out of debt, definitely something everyone in our country good benefit from. This article is totally off-base and she is just hurting what Christians stand for.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Kurt

      I agree... he did not teach us that all would be rich, but he DID teach that each should have personal responsibility and our own choices and actions have consequences, either good or bad. Also, he did not teach us to blame others, or to look for the government as some kind of equalizer. I feel sad that this socialistic leading author, who may love Jesus, but seems to be looking for a way to dig Dave Ramsey who tries to get believers to actually apply Scriptural principles of honesty, integrity, personal responsibility.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
      • Chris

        Woohoo! The Jews were responsible for being slaves! The Jews were responsible for Hitler! Woohoo I love this Biblical "Personal Responsibility"!!

        November 30, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
      • Andy Klein

        Considering that Jesus, and his teachings, were socialistic in nature, your commentary baffles me.

        And before you say it; I'm a capitalist myself. I'm just noting the cognitive dissonance in your commentary.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Dan M

      I'm not a Christian nor a fan of Ramsey, but the author did misrepresent a bit on what he "teaches." She also committed the same logical mistake she claimed Ramsey did, by saying medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy. That's a correlation not a causation as well.

      November 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  5. Lee Anderson

    The Author forgets to include how Dave Ramsey emphasizes the joy of *giving* to others.

    While someone is working on getting out of debt, they can give in ways other than money.

    It can be as simple as volunteering at a Soup Kitchen, a Shelter or a Habitat for Humanity build. It can be standing with a flag for the family of a member of the military who was KIA.

    To the Author, Rachel Held Evans- Look at the whole picture... not just what you feel you can pick apart to try and make yourself appear to be the "better" Christian.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Chris Fauerso

      Lee – I was hoping someone would comment on how much he teaches about giving. If I recall correctly he teaches that giving is the responsibility of wealth not just an add on.

      While Rachel Held Evens bring up a few fair points such as America was not actually founded on Christian beliefs but rather Deism which can often sound Christian but is entirely secular. However, Rachel needs to stop blogging about what is wrong with the world and Christianity and offer some practical real world solutions.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • bhp

      If you are giving to someone because its joyful, that kinda makes it a selfish act.

      November 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
      • Chris Fauerso

        Don't ever enjoy anything ever...it is selfish!

        November 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  6. Scott

    Dave Ramsey offers a systematic plan that anyone can apply to get out of debt which is financial slavery to the FED and fractional reserve banking that has MADE the rich richer and the poor poorer. Dave is against borrowing from these types except for a 15 note on a house and he recommends paying that off as soon as possible. What could possibly be wrong with that??? And what is Ms. Evan's systematic plan...(crickets...) I kept waiting to hear her suggestions, but I guess it was "more federal government?" Only when individuals take control of their own lives and do something about their environment (like getting out of it if necessary) will their lives change. Blaming others will never work. I realize that Jesus sided with the poor, but the entire federal government is in cahoots with the FED and the banks. They have gotten us 17 trillion dollars in debt to their banking buddies that Dave exposes. There is only one question at the end of the day for the poor: What are YOU going to do about it? No matter where we find ourselves in life, this is the only question that matters. Dave HELPS anybody who answers that question for himself by saying, "I am going to do something about it." Not blame everyone else and depend on government. There are millions of people in this country willing to help those who help themselves.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  7. stephen48739

    Before she left office, our Michigan Governor wanted to see what she could buy from a standard issue food stamp card. She got lots of pasta (junk food in Mr. Ramsey's view) . Looking down your nose, Mr. Ramsey, towards the poor, has changed my opinion of your faith. Your wealth has blinded you from those less fortunate. Whether they made poor decisions or not does not make them worthless. Accept the fact that the poor will always be with us. Drop the judgment and pick up some empathy, sir. Read Luke 16: 19 – 31 to consider what Jesus said about a poor man and a rich man.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • lol??

      Isa 3:12
      As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

      There are applications for any culture.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • IndianaHoosier

      Have you ever listened to Dave Ramsey? I listened to his show via iTunes earlier today. A mother of 3 children called up to ask him about ethics of accepting government aid. He advised her to take the aid, that there was nothing wrong with accepting it – but to put a plan in place to get her and her family to a place where they didn't need aid. He gave her ideas on how to get her income up in the long term. He didn't talk down to her. He didn't blame her for being poor. What he did was try to help her stop being poor!

      November 30, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  8. Jon

    After reading this I wonder if Ms. Evans ever read or really listened to Dave Ramsaey. What is dangerous about her writing about both Dave Ramsey or the Bible is tearing either out of context. Maybe a good long course in biblical interpretation would help. I would not accuse Dave Ramsey of prosperity gospel just as I would not accuse Ms. Evans of pseudo evangelical social gospel postmodernism. Dave never equates causation of wealth directly to action. But Ms. Evans is wrong about God not wanting someone to be wealthy in the context of accomplishing His will. Job, Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, Nicodemus, Lydia, and many others were all the wealthiest and/or most successful because God chose them to exercise influence or wield great wealth in order to do what God wills. That is also a teaching of Dave Ramsey. God gives some great wealth and to others they are the poor of the world. But we as biblical believers do not look at wealth as evil nor as poverty shameful. It all rests in faith. Abraham was one of the wealthiest men of his day and had great faith. Mother Teresa turned away from wealth and embraced poverty and had great faith. If Ms Evans knew her Bible better she would know two things: Jesus never changed the financial condition of anyone; and two, it is the love of money, not money itself, that is the root of all kinds of evil. One needs to rightly handled the Word of Truth before one wields it as a sword.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Well

      Wasn't Nicodemus a Pharisee?

      November 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
      • Brandyjack

        What has that got to do with the subject, except try to reinforce a false analogy. If I remember properly, the disciples with any wealth, and serious followers were expected to give their wealth to the common financial purse. Besides there is the parable of the of the widow and the temple treasury. The rich man give a speech about how he had been blessed and gained great wealth. While the widow slipped by and dropped a couple of coins in the treasury for the poor. Christ said, the man had received his reward by making a scene about his blessings and wealth. While the widow, who give what little she had, would be received in Heaven by angels.

        November 30, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Denny

      Jon, good point. It doesn't sound like she ever listened to the guy she is slamming. If that is true, than that is pathetic.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Judging by the list he put out, and his response to criticism about it Ramsey does indeed see bring poor as shameful.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • IndianaHoosier

        I've listened to him and I've never heard anything that makes me believe that Dave Ramsey views being poor as being shameful. But he does view it as something that can be temporary. I agree with him.

        November 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Chris

      If "Dave never equates causation of wealth directly to action," then what does he mean by “There is a direct correlation between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth"?

      Your habits, choices, and character may directly affect your ability to generate wealth, but that doesn't mean that they're the only things that directly affect your ability to generate wealth. Education (and in turn, the quality of your local public schools), good health (a matter of habits and choices, but also genetics and luck), and many other things beyond your control will directly affect your ability to generate wealth. It would be foolish to say that no one is poor because they made foolish choices and continue to make foolish choices, but it is incorrect to say that all people are poor - and stay poor - just because of their choices and things that they can control.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  9. wrm

    "... evangelical Christians how they can get rich, too."

    Stopped reading here. Don't be so obvious.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  10. PeterVN

    Again my old favorite quote applies:

    "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them."

    Ramsey is clearly on the profit end of that.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  11. joe

    "developing world but plagues our own country as well." 20% of those in the bottom fifth of income in the US move into the top fifth by the second generation. The percentage moving out of the bottom fifth into the second and third fifths are even bigger. Problem is that most of these are immigrants.

    The author is wrong and Ramsey is right. There is plenty of opportunity in this country and the large number of immigrants who come here with nothing and by 2 generations are among the richest prove it.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • MrShabazz

      Is it because they listen to audiobooks on their way to work?

      November 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • IndianaHoosier

        In part – probably yes. Take a look at people that are successful (and that often translates into financially successful) and you will find that most of them never stop learning. So listening to the newest Stephen King book won't help you, but trying to learn new skills or new ways of thinking will. And before people complain that poor people can't afford them – most libraries have audio books.

        November 30, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  12. McBob79


    November 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  13. Annette

    I think the author misses the point. I believe people that have good habits and puts them into practice daily will have better results that those who do not.

    If you go to work everyday, they go out to McDonalds for dinner each night, you aren't going to have any money, you won't be healthy and you'll probably end up over weight. Where as the person who goes to work each day, exercises, eats a balanced non-gmo diet, is well on the path to success.

    There are no short cuts. Most people are poor because either they are lazy, they have no imagination (thanks to our schools).

    God helps those who help themselves. He is faithful.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Well

      "There are no short cuts. Most people are poor because either they are lazy, they have no imagination (thanks to our schools)."

      That was a big pile of gratuitous slams against the poor. Get over yourself.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • David

      Ah yes. wealthy Christians comforting themselves with the fallacious "just world" hypothesis. This is similar to the flawed logic that people get sick or poor or abused or victimized because of sin or other bad behavior. The problem with this view is that even JESUS denounced it in the New Testament. Maybe "Christians" should read the book of James, or Matthew 25, or MANY other passages in which the RICH are singled out as not exactly the paragons of moral virtue. Certainly some negative consequences occur as the logic outcome of poor decisions or even sinful behavior. But it is a GROSS oversimplification to state basically that poor people are poor because of some fault of their own. It does, however, make it easier for Rich Christians to sit in judgment ("judge not, lest ye be judges") and avoid helping those who are suffering (cf. Matt. 25). And people wonder why tens of millions of Americans won't darken the door of a local church.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      That's a non Christian slamming of poor Annette but you keep telling yourself that you are a good Christian.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • Brandyjack

        Rather wordy but fairly accurate. I have little use for most "Christians." Having been friends with Catholic clergy, I am not Catholic, I had to admire his willingness to over extend himself for others, especially the poor. Perhaps, the Non Catholic "Christians" can have a new pogrom because Pope Francis wants the church poor and helping the least among us. I mean, just think about it, a major religious figure denouncing excessive wealth, and global trade as not faithful to the teachings of Christ.

        November 30, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  14. gg

    Ms. Evans,

    I believe Mr. Ramsey is correct. I saw the Vietnamese come to southern Louisiana with nothing and build themselves up very quickly. They made lots of good choices.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • pp

      For the most part, Christianity wasn't one of those choices. Digg it?

      November 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • lol??

      Harleys are getting big in Vietnam. Maybe they joined a club.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • CoolCMo

      You do realize that most, in fact almost all, of those Vietnamese immigrants were and are Buddhists who see your militant protestant fundamentalism for the pernicious cancer on humanity that it is, don't you?

      November 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • lol??

        You talkin' about the, "I am not a man." Buddha, the spoiled rich kid?? BTW after the war the rich got out of Dodge in Vietnam.

        November 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Brandyjack

          The rich and wantabe rich kids went to college and made babies, to get forever draft deferments. Just look at the U.S. after they graduated and began to take control of things. Greedy does not cover their behavior and excuses. Worse, I suspect there is a bit of embarrassment and resentment towards the poor, the black, and immigrants. They went to fight, because America asked them to fight. So, the draft dodgers and friends could take the good life; now they have a massive guilt trip and take out their fear and frustration by blaming the same core groups that offered their lives, for not having a life.

          November 30, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  15. lol??

    Somebody blew off a nasty's comment and there went mine. So in the spirit of there's no shortage of work, just pay, here goes from wiki, Kolyma Highway
    "..............It was constructed in the Joseph Stalin era of the USSR by Dalstroy construction directorate. The first stretch was built by the inmates of the Sevvostlag labor camp in 1932. The construction continued (by inmates of gulag camps) until 1953.
    The road is treated as a memorial, because the bones of the people who died while constructing it were laid beneath or around the road.[3] The land there is permanently frozen so interment into the fabric of the road was deemed more practical than digging into the permafrost to bury the bodies of the dead.[4]"

    A couple mil dead is the rumour, give or take.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Well

      Do you have a point, or do you have a need to copy/paste with no discernable reason?

      November 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • lol??

        Well well well,
        Wasn't Nicodemus a Pharisee?

        November 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  16. Robert Brown

    Thank you Denny. God blessed you with a wonderful post.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Oops, I thought I hit the reply button.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
      • Denny

        I see your comment Robert, Thank You, and may God bless you as well.

        November 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Bob

      Too bad your useless (and nonexistent) deity didn't bless you with the ability to use the Reply link.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  17. Denny

    I would ask the author of the article, what is the gospel? Does she know? This article is a waste of time. Money is NOT 'the root of evil' as it is so often misquoted, but rather "the LOVE of money is a root of all sorts of evil." 1 Timothy 6:10 We can NOT judge someone simply because they have money. Neither is it noble to be poor. God knows our hearts, and only He can judge our motives. Getting back to the gospel. We aren't saved because we live in poverty. Poverty saves no one! "Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...Jesus (John 3:3) This goes for rich or poor. All must be born again to enter in. Jesus made it very clear: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6) This is the gospel message. We don't preach poverty! We preach salvation through faith in the atonment of Christ!

    November 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • GAW

      But still the Bible (Both Testaments) have much to say about the rich and the poor.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Denny, the core premise of your religion, this Jesus "atonment" thing, is complete bull manure. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

      Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
      • Denny

        Bob, I don't know how to repond, because I don't know if I should take you seriously. You don't sound like your asking questions, but rather you sound like your just ranting. You sound angry at God. Do you want me to respond to your "questions"?

        November 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
        • Denny

          Bob, ok, first of all. This "atonement thing" that you refer to. Do you mean God sending His only Son to this evil world, to take on the sins of others? Sins which He Himself never comitted. Is this the "atonement thing" that you are referrring to? This shows the great love of God for the world. God is Holy. We are not. Sin must be dealt with. Do we here on earth ignore criminals when they have broken the law? Why not just ignore them right? isn't that what you are saying. Help me out here. What am I missing from your questions?

          November 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • Sara

          What do you mean by "take on" the sins of others?

          November 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
        • Denny

          Sara, Jesus died on the cross, not for His own sins, but for ours. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". He is the only provision that God has provided so that we might be saved (from condemnation because we fall short). He is the Lamb of God who took the sins of the world. He is our Passover Lamb. Thats why He came to earth. He came as suffering servant, but He will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Sara

          How does Jesus dying on the cross help me?

          November 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • Denny

          Sara, you ask good questions. The whole new testament is all about what you are asking. He died that we might live forever with God. Apart from faith in Christ we will die in our sins and remain seperated from God. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we have passed rom death (condemnation) to life. If you haven't yet done so, you need to ask God to forgive your sins and recieve Christ as your own personal Savior. I did that years ago, and have had His awesome peace with me ever since. God Bless

          November 30, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • ME II

      Is it better to be rich or poor?
      Is it better to be rich or poor when there are people in need?

      November 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
      • Denny

        Here is what is best. "To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And your neighbor as yourself. In this, is all the law and the prophets. We must come to God through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son. Rich or poor is NOT the issue, unless God, by His Spirit, directs someone concerning this, as Christ was doing with the "rich man".

        November 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • ME II

          Why exactly do you think that "loving God.." is best? Or even part of best?

          December 1, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Denny

          Me II, because this is the greatest commandment. Jesus and Moses both taught this.

          December 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Jimmy

      You ought to be careful, though. True, the love of money is the root of all evil. But Jesus did speak harshly about wealth and was, himself, poor. Remember the rich young ruler- Jesus asked him to give away all he had and follow him. The man could not because he was rich. Prosperity gospel is very dangerous and completely contradictory to both the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
      • Denny

        Jimmy, indeed we must always be examing ourselves for our own motivations regarding not only money, but many areas of our lives. God looks at our hearts. We tend to judge people by the externals. We have a very limited perspective, thats why we are often cautioned not to judge others. Although God's Word also tells us to judge wisely. People often cite the rich man that Jesus questioned and say that Christians should be poor. The point is the exact opposite of what most people interpret. It wasn't about him having money, but rather, the fact he loved his money and would not part with it. Jesus said this to this man! Jesus knew that this man had a problem in this area. Jesus never said His people cannot have money.By the way Jesus and the disciples carried a bag of money with them. People of course supported their ministry. The Bible makes it clear thoughout that those with money should use their resources to help others. God's Word never preaches Poverty! Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all had great resources. I don't know where this false teaching arises, but it is indeed false.

        November 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          Suggesting being poor is something shameful is showing a love of money that is non Christian.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • ksheasley

      Did you actually read the article? Because your comment has nothing to do with what Evans said here.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • Denny

        Yes, I read the article. And my comment has everything to do with what she said.

        November 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Sue

      I have no doubt that Rachel understands the gospel; the question is whether Dave Ramsey does. God makes us new and gives us his Spirit. He uses all things to work together for good (that is, toward our holiness) whether prosperity or poverty – but the idea that Americans live in the land of the level playing field and therefore if you're poor it must totally be because of your bad choices (or conversely, if you are wealthy, your good choices) is nonsense. And even more nonsensical is the assertion that such a level playing field exists because America has lived biblically! Rachel gives just a few examples of national sin we ought to be on our knees about. And if Ramsey didn't take the correction well but urged his critics to "grow up," well, I'm wondering if he knows what repentance is.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
      • Mark L

        Dave understands it very well. I don't think Rachel has ever been through his entire program, though. Dave talks about being a generous giver, encourages those throughout his program to do so as well, and gives away quite a bit of his own money. Maybe instead of taking a cheap shot against one thing Dave said, she should look at the entirety of his program, and how many people he has helped.

        November 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • Sara

      Someone should ask you the same question. Modern Evangelical Christians are more unaware of the true gospel versus atheists. Christians have made a mockery of Christ and his teachings.

      November 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  18. joeyespinosa

    We have lived in the 10th poorest county in the US for the past 3 years. It has been eye-opening, and has changed a lot of our previous "firm" mindsets.

    I agree with Mr. Ramsey in that choices do matter, and I agree with many of the comments in that the poor have many disadvantages against them. But the danger in both of these mindsets ("It's your fault!" and "It's not your fault!") is that they don't give practical instruction for the rest of us.

    If you think of it either way, you can easily fall into the trap of being "right" and unhelpful. If you think that people just need to work harder and make better choices, then what are you doing to help people make better choices? And if you think that there are injustices that are keeping people back, then what are you doing on a personal level that is helping relieve those injustices?

    I wrote about this some here: http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/equality-is-not-equity/

    November 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • Sheelagh

      You tell it, sister... I'm immensely tired of the prosperity gospel, as I am of the "nothing is our fault" view of us Americans. The truth? There is much luck leading to our relative comfort levels ("chance"), and the widening wealth divide in the United States is a horrid statistic. It will haunt us.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • joeyespinosa


        (But it's "brother," not "sister.) 🙂

        November 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Sara

      I think once anyone has uttered the word "fault" they've already grossly oversimplified the problem. We're all in this together, and all of our actions and social structures affect one another. When you make a bad decision, you, me, your family, your genetics and our society are all a part of it. What we need to do is focus on what needs to change, and assigning blame is just a distraction.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Sara

      I think once anyone has uttered the word "fault" they've already grossly oversimplified the problem. We're all in this together, and all of our actions and social structures affect one another. When you make a bad decision, you, me, your family, your genetics and our society are all a part of it. What we need to do is focus on what needs to change, and as.signing blame is just a distraction.

      November 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  19. Kelcy

    Get real folks. Ramsey is rich not because of biblical principles but because he makes money off of other christians (that probably cannot afford to pay for his books let alone going to his speeches). They are making him rich. It is just like all the other christian evangelicals on tv, radio, revivals, etc. They live the high life although those they take from are living the poor life and will always be poor.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Bruce Leroy

      Do you have any facts to support that thwy cant afford it? Or are you just a fool that proclaims that?

      November 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.