Painting with a very broad brush, this is a matter that is very close to the hearts of all U.S. evangelists, all students of culture, all of us concerned with the shallowness of those who struggle more with survival than with thriving in the Great Life with Christ.
I want to change the position of the bar. Rich men were rare in those days so it might have even been but a small concern. More to the point, I want to ask, “Is it possible for the Middle Class to the saved?” There are an awful lot of us, and what we now define as rich is pretty well off the chart in the standards of human history. I can buy fruit any season of the year from almost anywhere in the world and at a price that seems cheap to me. That’s pretty rich by historical standards.
What do the Middle Class think they need salvation from? I believe that the slow drain of Churches in Europe is connected with the slow rise of the Middle Class. Recent trends in Ireland would bear this out. An island that once was famous for its incredible poverty, was also famous for its outstanding Church attendance, and the abundance of the priests it produced. Today, with membership in the EU, the standard of living has risen precipitously, Church attendance has fallen precipitously, and priests are no longer the great item of export they once were. Today, it’s Africa producing the bumper crop of priests. Not much Middle Class there.