Pardon me for my non-interest in the theological correctness of the word Mammon as rightly spelled as Mamon (with a single M at the middle). My intent is not to go into the etymology debate which is vast and too theorized for this piece.
I will rather then mention appropriately the evolvement of the term and its meaning from Church history briefly.
First, Mammon is not money as presented by the gospel of Matthew but it has always meant ‘riches’as derived from Latin and Aramaic, or ‘wealth’ as derived from Mishnaic Hebrew.
The Syrians used Mamon to describe the aforementioned before the New Testament. The important point here is not what it casually meant but the root of the meaning of such usage in the old cultural settings before Christ actually mentioned it in Matthew chapter six. Mamon or Mammon is significantly rooted in what is characterized by absolute trust or confidence in riches.
At the sermon on the Mount, Jesus, for the first time unveiled Mammon as a diety and passed a pejorative judgment on it. We will surely look at that later, but in the meantime, let us look at how Mammon took its identity.
Christians began the use of deprecatory value for Mammon and its lovers in the early Church. It was in the course of early Christianity that the fathers of the faith of Christ realized that Mammon has its appendages of monstrousity in gluttony and unjust worldly gain.
It was later seen as an alternative false god that gives false hope of preservation, conservation and maintainance; a stand that clearly depart from the trust and dedication of self to others and the faith of Christ. Materialism also became one other way by which Mammon is now being identified. Greed, and its negative influence also became a manifestation of Mammonism.
During the middle ages, Mammon was generally personified as a demon of gluttony, richness and injustice.
Peter Lombard said “Riches are called by the name of a devil, namely Mammon, for Mammon is the name of a devil, by which name riches are called according to the Syrian tongue.”
Remember Mammon was never called or referred to as a demon by the Syrians until this moment in history. The debasing influence it has had over the years was collated and it became obvious it was reductive both to communal fellowship and the doctrines of faith.
Thomas Aquinas metaphorically described the sin of Avarice as “Mammon being carried up from hell by a wolf, coming to inflame the human heart with Greed”.
Such usage of language by men of great respect in faith made Mammon acceptance in the early Christain experience as an abomination. During the middle ages, Mammon became fully demonic in status that many Bishops, Clergy and feudal lords benefitted from the fear and trembling that the pew felt about gaining worldly wealth.
The Church was marching on and the demonic hell was losing the battle in the hearts of the faithfuls.
It was during the dark ages, and subsequently that Mammon again raised its ugly head on the Church against the teachings of the scriptures. As the days grow by, more and more evidence of glottonous lifestyle were becoming evident. Mammon then became personified for greed and lust, and has earned itself a reputation for duplicity.
I gave a summary of the history of Mammonism so as to expouse on the doctrine that powers or fuels its acceptance today as a befitting lifestyle for those who also claim to be believers.
Let us look at some of the descriptive words used above in explaining the schemings, beguiling, cunning, crafty, devious, foxy and subtle evasiveness of Mammon. Let us reflect on the artful slick and the wily nature of Mammonism now rephrased in the pentecostal evangelical settings as Prosperity!
A Lizard will not seize to be one just by changing its name! Prosperity message is Mammonism in disguse!!!
Mammon demonstrate its power and influence in gluttony, richness and injustice; and has earned itself a reputation for duplicity. Here is where I will camp in this particular essay. I will continue to look at other aspect in later volumes.
Gluttony is simply excessiveness, in eating or drinking or any other indulgence. Eating or drinking may seem ordinary until you consider why the world is set on a crazy rat race for economic superiority.
No man is fooled with a notion that he/she can take away wealth to the other side of life after death anymore. So if you look at why people indulge themselves in excessive ownership, it is rooted in what to eat or drink. Jesus had to take on that root-reasoning in Matthew 6: 31-32 (Please read).
Richness is a property of an abundant sensation of absolute means, either of wealth or of value or of influence. It is not just being rich, but a very sense of independence from any other source be it divine or earthly. The rich fool became a very god example of such in the Bible (Luke 12: 16-21).
Injustice is simply the exact opposite of justice. It is a misuse, abuse, neglect or outright malfeasance perpetrated without correction, or in some instances sanctioned by either cultural, value or judicial system. It is injustice to break the law of a land and get away free, so it is when one breaks the law of a practice or value system in our mondane world. Injustice can also be within the moral framework of fairness in dealings.
Here is the link with the three words defined above; they are agents of Mammonism. Injusitice is the worst of them because the power of richness and gluttony will oppress the entire community when injustice becomes the central theme as the operational code.
Why would a Pastor enrich himself on the pulpit in the name of prosperity? The answer will be for richness and gluttony, avarice and greed. But if you really go deeper to search for any act committed in the process against another man,then injustice will be right there waiting to be seen as the root sin.
The community of men were made to be dependent on the overall participation of all in fairness and sincerity of purpose. Egalitarian societies are based on the crux of justice and fairness. Egregious societies are rooted in injustice and unfairness in her dealings with one another.
No man has ever been gluttnous or greedy or avaricious if he/she has not first been unjust and unfair. Understanding that connection is huge in unraveling the evil of the prosperity doctrine of Mammonism that has blighted the vast pentecostal evangelical movement in the last 50 years.
No one steals from the pews except he is evil-controlled from the demonic monster called Mammon. People don’t raise money carelessly on the pulpit except they have been bitten by that devil of lust.
No one acquires material possession except the deity of money has pitched its tent with him/her. The lust for money and material possession is rooted in the evil and the monster demon called Mammon.
Now here is the grandmaster control switch from where the message of prosperity has taken its toll on the people and sent many souls against the true message of sustainance by God.
Remember I said Mammon has had its reputation in duplicity! Merriam-Webster Dictionary puts duplicity as “contracdictory doubleness of thought, speech or action…, especially… the bellying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words.
Listen, no preacher on the pulpit will tell you to give your money given to you by God to make a living so that he/she will buy an exotic car.
No! It will always be laced with lies that are easily presentable, and sometimes with Biblical reference that will make you quake with fear even when you part with your money. Just remember, Abraham was only asked to sacrifice Isaac once in his one hundred and seventy five years on earth, and unfortunately for the prosperity teachers he ended up having the sacrificial lamb provided by God in a wonderful way.
As sweet as the message of prosperity is, it is rooted in the mysterious legacy of Mammonism which is demonic and a deity of evil. Some people have become so duplicated they have lied to you why they have to be at different places to further the work of God. Ask them, how many places was Jesus when he was on earth, and why didn’t Jesus owned a donkey himself or a private jet?
Luke 16: 13
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
No man should be deceived with a scripture as direct as this ever. You should be able to use your faculty of reasoning (and the Holy Spirit, if present) to decipher which one of the two masters your
Pastor, Shepherd or Bishop or Minister is serving. Don’t lie to yourself!
Olumide Goodness Adeyinka can be reached at email@example.com