The Seven Money Types: Discover How God Wired You To Handle Money, by Tommy Brown
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Zondervan. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
As someone who is no stranger to books that seek to blend the world of business and finance with biblical insight , this book struck me as combining two different approaches in a way that was a bit disconcerting. On the one hand, this book struck me as pandering more than a little bit to unbiblical Talmudic thoughts about important biblical figures, and on the other hand the book struck me in a far more positive light as seeking to legitimize a wide variety of approaches to money while recognizing that every native inclination has a shadow side as well. I enjoyed the book and found it a thoughtful read, but while reading it I could definitely see how some people would find a great deal of offense in both the business and the Judaism side of this book. Given the contentious nature of money and views towards money within Christianity, though, I tend to think that on the whole, the author’s approach towards granting legitimacy to a variety of approaches to money and finances is an admirable one and the biblical exegesis generally solid.
In terms of its contents and organization, this book is very straightforwardly designed, but manages to avoid being too simplistic because of the clever way of mixing biblical interpretation with examples from the author’s own personal life as well as small case studies of various people the author has known as being positive and examples of the various approaches to money. The seven approaches (and their characteristics) are as follows: Abraham (hospitality), Isaac (discipline), Jacob (beauty), Joseph (connection), Moses (endurance), Aaron (humility), and David (leadership). The book includes a quiz so that the reader can determine which of the approaches to finance come most naturally. The book has a practical tone to it, which befits someone who does not come from the world of academia but rather a pastor who happens to also be a financial-development strategist. This book has all of the hallmarks of that approach, an approach that some readers will greatly enjoy and that others will find less compelling because of their native antipathy towards business strategy mixing with discussions about the Bible. All told, the book ends up being slightly more than 200 pages, right in the sweet spot of contemporary books of this type.
With its tolerant approach and its desire to mine the Bible for practical advice, this is a book that will likely be somewhat polarizing to its intended audience. The author generally is able to strike a balance between encouraging believers to maximize their own financial well-being while avoiding the excesses of the heretical beliefs in the prosperity doctrine and also encouraging generosity and service without falling into the excesses of the heretical beliefs in the poverty doctrine. Given the competing demands for our service and financial contributions, whether our focus is on maximizing our own resources, seeking pleasure with the gifts that God has given, being devoted to hospitality, connecting needs and resources, or focusing on ridding ourselves of unwanted debt, this book has a complicated message for a complicated subject. Readers who only see one or two legitimate approaches towards finances in God’s economy will likely find this book’s ecumenical tone towards monetary approaches to be a bit too much to accept, but hopefully the book will help encourage a more balanced approach to finances than has generally been the case within churches.
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