Born in Massachusetts, Russell Conwell attended Yale University and Albany Law School. Conwell founded Temple University and pastored The Baptist Temple in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
An Inspiring Story
In Defense of Wealth
“Money is power, and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it. You ought because you can do more good with it than you could without it. Money printed your Bible, money builds your churches, money sends your missionaries, and money pays your preachers, and you would not have many of them, either, if you did not pay them… The man who gets the largest salary can do the most good with the power that is furnished to him. Of course he can if his spirit be right to use it for what it is given to him” (13).Viscerally, such statements seem disconnected with reality. Many people would love to make as much money as possible but do not possess the opportunities to do so. However, when charitably considered, Conwell’s philosophy seems sensible to a certain extent.
First, Conwell’s opinions resemble pro-business theological arguments. Many Christians affirm profit, arguing that it is an integral piece of the marketplace puzzle. However, profit ought not to be an end; profit ought to be made with the purpose of serving others. How is this position different than Conwell’s where he suggest that the rich can do more good in the world with money? It isn’t.
The Problem of Systemic Injustice
Acres of Diamonds inspires people to pursue wealth. I am not convinced this position is correct. Conwell’s writing carries the foundations of prosperity gospel, a worrisome theology which focuses on wealth creation as evidence of faithfulness. Acres of Diamonds is an influential work and therefore ought to be studied. However, if you are uninterested in the relationship between theology and economic theory, avoid this book.
Verdict: 2.5 out of 5
Posted by: Donovan Richards