Acton Institute Powerblog

Biblical Stewardship

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An interview at Money & Faith with Dr. Robert Cooley, former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, explores the biblical concept of stewardship.

A key quote: “Church leaders need to remember they have an awesome responsibility to manage well the funds the people of God give each Sunday and to maintain the trust of the congregation in the life and work of the church. As stewards, we also need to be reminded that God holds us accountable not only for the giving of our treasure but also for the giving of our time and talents.”

In addition, Cooley gives some bullet points summarizing the “theology of stewardship.” Cooley concludes, “Stewardship is a lifestyle. It requires all of my time, all of my talent, and all of my treasure. All of my work, all of my wisdom, and all of my will are subject to my relationship with God through Christ.”

Biblical stewardship includes a complex of interrelated ideas. The relationship between work, vocation, faithfulness, charity, and love is exemplified in the Heidelberg Catechism’s exposition of the eigth commandment. The positive aspect of this commandment against theft requires “That I do whatever I can for my neighbor’s good, that I treat others as I would like them to treat me, and that I work faithfully so that I may share with those in need” (LD 42, A 111).

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.

Comments

  • Someone may want to mention the 8th commandment to the pack of jackals working as “contractors” for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

    Typically, the bills for performing maintenance work on a church are 300% of the going rate for repairs performed on the open market. Contractors justify this as the cost of using “union labor”, which is a canard.

    In my experience the labor is performed by day laborers with no insurance, minimal safety equipment or union representation. I would assume that most of the laborers do not have US citizenship, which is a good thing, as I think these guys need the work.

    It is a miserable cycle, with contractors defrauding the Archdiocese for generations, churches not able to afford basic maintenance, and workers getting the short end of the stick.

    Can we sign up the USCCB for Dr. Cooley’s seminary?