In 1999, Brian Houston wrote a book called ‘You Need More Money’. On the back cover, Houston advertises that this book is about how people can “become a money magnet”.
He claims on the first page in his introduction,
“People love to quote the Bible when it comes to money, wealth and riches (and will sometimes do so out of context), but there is a fascinating verse in the book of Ecclesiastes that says it all:
A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry; but money answers everything.
If that’s a shock to see a statement like that in the Bible—check it out for yourself. That is exactly what it says: MONEY ANSWERS EVERYTHING!”
Brian Houston bases the entire introduction off that one scripture. Not only that, Brian Houston appears to base his entire book on this premise and it appears he has Hillsong apply to this false philosophy.
Ironically, Brian Houston takes the scripture in Ecclesiastes out of context. This is what the context is:
“Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks. Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter.”
What do you see? Is Ecclesiastes telling us “you need more money”? Or is it warning you of foolish leadership and what it looks like?
Here are some commentaries explaining what is happening in the above passage.
From the Pulpit Commentary:
Verse 19. – A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry. Here is a cause of the decay spoken of above. The rulers spend in revelry and debauchery the time and energy which they ought to give to affairs of state. More literally, for merriment they make bread, and wine [that] cheereth life; i.e. they use God’s good gifts of bread and wine as means of intemperance and thoughtless pleasure. So a psalmist speaks of wine as making glad the heart of man (Psalm 104:15); and Ben-Sira says, “Wine is as good as life to a man, if it be drunk moderately: what life is there to a man that is without wine? for it was created to make men glad. Wine measurably drunk and in season bringeth gladness of the heart, and cheer fullness of the mind” (Ecclus. 31. [34.] 27, 28). But money answereth all things; i.e. grants all that such persons want. It requires money to provide rich food and costly wines; this they possess, and they are thus able to indulge their appetites to the utmost. It concerns them not how such resources are obtained – won by extortion from a starving people, exacted in exorbitant taxation, pillaged by unscrupulous instruments; they want gold to expend on their lusts, and they get it same-how, and with it all that in their view makes life worth living.
From Gills Exposition of the entire Bible:
A feast is made for laughter,…. Or, “who make bread for laughter” (i). Not bakers, who make bread for common use, and for all sorts of persons, sorrowful ones as others; but luxurious men, particularly such princes as are before described; they “make bread”, that is, a feast, as the phrase is used, Daniel 5:1; not for mere refreshment, but to promote mirth and gaiety to an excessive degree; being attended with rioting and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness, with revellings and dancing;
and wine maketh merry; or, “and they prepare wine” (k); which is provided in plenty at feasts; and which is sometimes put for a feast itself, and called a banquet of wine, Esther 7:2; which wine makes merry, and men drink of it till they become drunk with it, at such profuse feasts: or, “which maketh life cheerful” (l); as it does, when moderately used: “cheers the living”; so Aben Ezra;
but money answereth all things; is in the room of all things, and by it men obtain everything they want and wish for; it answers the requests of all, and supplies them with what they stand in need of, or can desire: particularly such expensive feasts, and sumptuous entertainments, are made by means of money; and, in this luxurious way, the coffers of princes are drained, and they are obliged to raise new levies, and impose new taxes upon their subjects, to the oppression of them. Or else the sense may be, that princes should consider, and not be so profuse in their manner of living, but be more frugal and careful of the public money, and lay it up against a time of need; since it is that that answers all things, is the sinew of war when that arises, and will procure men and arms, to secure and protect them from their enemies, and obtain peace and safety for them and their subjects, which otherwise they cannot expect.
From the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:
19. Referring to Ec 10:18. Instead of repairing the breaches in the commonwealth (equivalent to “building”), the princes “make a feast for laughter (Ec 10:16), and wine maketh their life glad (Ps 104:15), and (but) money supplieth (answereth their wishes by supplying) all things,” that is, they take bribes to support their extravagance; and hence arise the wrongs that are perpetrated (Ec 10:5, 6; 3:16; Isa 1:23; 5:23). Maurer takes “all things” of the wrongs to which princes are instigated by “money”; for example, the heavy taxes, which were the occasion of Rehoboam losing ten tribes (1Ki 12:4, &c.).s
Brian Houston appears to sincerely believe that the scripture in Ecclesiastes helps give people “a healthy attitude towards money”. Yet Christian scholars teach that these scriptures says the opposite.
Who would you believe? An apparent unrepentant bible-twister or faithful scholars who have committed their whole lives studying God’s Word?
As a ‘touch-not-anointed’ visionary, (a king with his own established nepotistic monarchy), Brian Houston has no problem sucking people dry with his financial scams and neglecting the spiritual state of God’s household while encouraging his church and conferences to “let the party begin”.
Is Brian the “foolish leader” Solomon warns us about in Ecclesiastes, leading people astray?