Acton Institute Powerblog

Confusing Capitalism with Consumerism

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Rebecca Hagelin of the Heritage Foundation picks up on my thoughts on consumerism and capitalism and expands on them helpfully in a column.

We should all take her observations about stewardship to heart. I have been a student and a leader of Crown Financial Ministries curriculum, and during my time at Calvin Seminary was even part of a study group to suggest revisions of the curriculum to better reflect Reformed theological sensitivities. I’ve also recently gone through one of Dave Ramsey’s books.

If you’re struggling with debt and controlling your spending, invest your time in one of these or another practical and biblically-grounded guides to responsible financial stewardship.

And speaking of stewardship, participants in this year’s Acton University get the privilege of hearing Dr. Scott Preissler, who is Eklund Professor and Chair of Stewardship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s giving a talk on “Stewardship and Charitable Giving.” Acton’s own Stephen Grabill is giving a lecture titled “A Theology of Stewardship.” And as his ActonU bio states, you should keep your eyes peeled in coming months for the forthcoming Stewardship Resource Bible: ESV, of which Dr. Grabill is the general editor.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Wingnut

    If you’re involved with capitalism WHATSOEVER, you are bought-into a felony pyramid scheme-o-servitude-infestation, and that’s all there is to THAT. Either you condone, promote, and join slavery/inequality systems, or you stay Christian. You either compete, or you cooperate. You either bill and timecard, or you share. Simple.

    REAL Christians learned long-ago that pyramid schemes are JUST LIKE the pyramids we failed-at building in the farmyards as children. While the upper 1/3 is “heads in the clouds”, the people on the bottom ALWAYS GET HURT from the weight of the world’s knees in their backs. All REAL Christians know better than to condone and promote forced labor/exploitation, and inequality. No man is created equal under capitalism. All men are created at the wellbeing-level that their parents have rat-raced up-to upon the felony servitude pyramid scheme… at the time of birthing. Such self-lies are EASILY seen (thru).

    To check for capitalism blindness, do you see the widespread “pay-up or lose your wellbeing” Chicago mob-like felony extortion… within capitalism? Also, do you see the parental policy reversal from share share share, to fight fight fight… when capitalism-imprisoned children turn 18 and get “sharktanked” into ‘grown-up”-ness? Some are born “set for life” and some are born “set for servitude and taking orders”. Time to wakey wakey. See the pyramid scheme symbol on the back of the USA dollar? See the pyramids out in the Egyptian dessert? Symbols, anyone?

    Thank you for not censoring.

    Larry “Wingnut” Wendlandt
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    Bessemer MI USA

  • James Richardson

    I find Larry “Wingnut”‘s opinion exactly that. A wingnut.

    I understand that people are as you put it “set for life” and others are as you put it “set for servitude”.

    However, our government and the capitalistic society isn’t to blame because one family worked their butts off and made something of themselves and another family didn’t?

    What I enjoy about the capitalist market as well as the democracy in America is the FREEDOM and the OPPORTUNITY to do what you want to do. If you want to be a lazy bum. Fine. Be a lazy bum. If you want better than your family had it growing up, fine. Go get it. If you want to become super wealthy, fine. Go get it.

    However, noone gets “sharktanked” whatsoever. Some people’s starting line and/or obstacles on the road of life might be tougher (such as mine), but everyone has the equal opportunity experience “the good life.”

  • Roger McKinney

    And if I don’t see “widespread “pay-up or lose your wellbeing” Chicago mob-like felony extortion… within capitalism…” or “parental policy reversal from share share share, to fight fight fight…” am I blind? What makes you, Wingnut, think you have such good vision?

  • Wingnut

    Hi girls! I decided to take the conversation over to a more open-minded and self-scrutinizing group of bloggers… so you’re all invited to…

    In an attempt at fairness, don’t forget to return here and stay tuned to the Acton blogs. Any place that allows free speech… is alright with me… even IF its posters can’t find much of a counterpoint leg to stand-on.

    MaStars AntiCap