American Christianity is largely based on the Protestant work ethic. We truly, honestly believe God wants us to work, work, work, as long as the work in mind is not, like, you know “good works” that lead to legalism.
God wants us working 40+ hours a week making money, that’s how He blesses us with money to support missions and poor kids and stuff. We’ve bought this teaching right along with our $50 study Bibles.
After the Civil War and into the early part of the 20th Century, American Christianity was largely influenced by business. Christian insitutions cannot exist apart from rich businessmen.
Christianity, in order to pay rent, developed a theology to support businessmen, helped them feel good about neglecting their wives, kids and neighbors while they were off working all the time. “Just write a check for Jesus.”
Mr. John Wanamaker was a succesful businessman in the late 19th century and became instrumental in establishing the YMCA. He also helped out a Mr. Dwight L. Moody.
Wanamaker wanted Moody to come speak at a conference for him and deliver a message “tailored more than any that preceded it to the needs of business and professional people who wanted to be freed from the guilt of doing what they were doing.”
In other words, give them a Gospel that allows them to mind the things of the world and yet feel they are doing God a favor. Moody obliged.
Moody is not an exception, he’s merely an example I’m aware of. American Chrisitanity is a Christianity of the businessman. It’s not a Christianity of the poor certainly.
“The power to make money is a gift from God,” this was said by John, as in John D. Rockefeller. It’s not a message consistent with Jesus Christ no matter how badly you want to believe it.