Acton Institute Powerblog

A Thought on Wealth and Wisdom

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My friend John Teevan of Grace College sends out a newsletter every month called “Economic Prospect.” This month’s edition included this valuable insight:

Here is a short passage from Ezekiel 28:4-5 that speaks to us about overconfidence in producing wealth:

By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.

There is a pattern I had not seen before: wisdom plus understanding plus skill yield wealth. Sounds good and sounds like God’s approval of human ingenuity and skill. There is a problem but it is not wealth creation; it’s that “your heart has grown proud.” Can we be wealthy without being proud? Sure, and the clue comes from the word ‘amass’ which is the opposite of being generous in giving. A Christmas thought.

John will be teaching a course on “Evangelicals and Social Justice” at Acton University next year. Check it out, and send John a message if you’d like to be added to his “Economic Prospect” list.

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.

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