Category: Christian Social Thought

genesis-bible“In our search for economic principles in the Bible, we need to begin with the story of Creation found in the first two chapters of Genesis,” says Hugh Whelchel. “Here we see God’s normative intentions for life. We see life as ‘the way it ought to be.’ Man is free from sin, living out his high calling as God’s vice regent in a creation that is ‘very good.’”

Whelchel lists three major economic principles laid out in Creation, the first being creativity and freedom:

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Thanksgiving_Turkey_Dinner_With_Paper_Plates_free_creative_commons_(4139402176)Today at Mere Orthodoxy, I have an essay building on some of my recent posts here exploring a healthy Christian response to the complex results (other than “Trump won; Clinton lost”) of the 2016 presidential election. In particular, I focus on how to be true to the exhortation of St. Paul: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
I write,

Writing to early Christians in Rome, St. Paul the Apostle offered a succinct summary of the Christian ethic in the twelfth chapter of his epistle. It is worth reading the whole thing with the events of the last week in mind, but here I’ll just look at one verse: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Many are weeping and rejoicing after last Tuesday. A Christian who weeps ought to know how to rejoice with those who rejoice. One who rejoices ought to know how to weep with those who weep.

I realize that this is hard to do. Rejoicing with those we agree with is easy. Weeping with those we agree with is easy. Weeping with those who mourn the very thing that we celebrate – that’s hard. Rejoicing with those who celebrate the very thing that we mourn – that’s hard. But that is “the way which leads to life.”

This way is especially difficult, given the self-aggrandizement and demonization of others that have so often characterized this election cycle. Do you think everyone who voted for President-elect Donald Trump is racist, xenophobic, misogynist, Islamophobic, and homophobic? If so, I doubt you are rejoicing with those who rejoice right now. Do you think everyone who voted for Sec. Hillary Clinton is a pretentious, radically pro-choice, uber-progressive, out-of-touch, sore loser? Then you probably aren’t weeping with those who weep today.

As many of us look forward to sharing Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family of diverse political opinions, I submit that this approach could, at the very least, help avoid meltdown and strife this holiday.

Read the whole essay here.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 21, 2016
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acts2-5“The early church was socialist.”

Talk about economics and the church and you’ll eventually hear a Christian make that claim. The idea that the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles supports the idea that Christians should be socialists is an oft-repeated as if it were both obvious and true.

But is it? Art Lindsley explains why those passages do not pertain to socialism:
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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
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stewardship-houseHere on the Acton PowerBlog we frequently talk about stewardship. But what is stewardship? And what does it mean in a Christian context? As R.C. Sproul explains, stewardship is a concept in the New Testament that describes and defines what it means to be a servant before Christ:

Economics and the ethical and emotional issues that surround it are frequent topics of discussion and front-page news items. This is particularly true in an election year, when much of the debate focuses on economic issues. What we don’t see initially is that other issues, such as education and abortion, are also questions of economics. Broadly understood, economics has to do not only with money or taxes or business but with the management of resources. That includes all of our resources, such as the resource of our unborn children and educational materials and policies.

In other words, how we use our resources is the subject of economics, and in a biblical sense it is the chief concern of stewardship. Consider the verbal link between stewardship and economics. The English word economics and economycome from the Greek word oikonomia, which is made up of two parts: oikos, the word for “house” or “household,” and nomos, the word for “law.” So, oikos and nomos together literally mean “house law.”

Read more . . .

The following article is the Acton Institute’s English translation from the Italian “Il Papa e la condanna dei soldi. Parla Padre Robert Sirico” written by  Matteo Matzuzzi and published in the Rome-based daily Il Foglio on November 8.  Readers should note that there is no official English translation of Pope Francis’ November 5 address to leaders of lay movements gathering inside the Vatican. The original speech in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese can be found here.


“It certainly would be absurd to criminalize money if one’s sincere concern is the well-being of the poor. Lamenting the struggle of the poor is not the end goal of moral compassion. Ameliorating their concern is. And at least at the material level, this requires the production of wealth,” said Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the American think tank, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which aims to promote a free, virtuous and humane society.

Rev. Sirico shared his views with the Italian daily ll Foglio following the Pope’s long speech delivered last Saturday before an audience of charismatic lay movement leaders who had come to the Vatican for their third world gathering. During the audience, Pope Francis relaunched his accusation that money is “an idol that rules instead of serves, which tyrannizes and terrorizes humanity.”

Francis

Pope Francis regularly speaks to leaders of cultural and social change during specially arranged private audiences inside the Vatican.

It is money, continued the Holy Father, “that rules with the whip of fear, inequality, economic, social, cultural and military violence. [It] generates ever more violence in a seemingly unending downward spiral. There is a basic [form of] terrorism stemming from the global control of money on earth and which threatens all of humanity.”

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Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 7, 2016
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your_vote_counts_400_clr-300x300Tomorrow millions of Americans will to the polls to cast their votes. And many other millions of Americans will not.

Why bother voting when no individual vote makes a difference in any election or political decision? Why bother casting a vote that has no meaning? ​

Micah Watson, associate professor of political science at Calvin College, provides an answer:
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pile-of-grainThe Bible seems to provide contradictory assessments about wealth, says David Kotter and Dr. Joshua Greever. To see if this were truly the case they examined every case in the Bible where an individual was identified as having substantial material possessions and the means of acquiring these goods was disclosed. They found that in the 21 cases meeting these criteria, the means of acquisition was a reliable indicator of whether a person received approval or disapproval:
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