The Michael Novak book that changed reality
Acton Institute Powerblog

The Michael Novak book that changed reality

From a 2017 vantage point, it’s easy to forget just how radical this book was, says Samuel Gregg in this week’s Acton Commentary. In penning the Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Novak was the first theologian to really make an in-depth moral, cultural, and political case for the market economy in a systematic way.

Needless to say, Novak’s book generated fierce reactions from the religious left. The opprobrium was probably heightened by the fact that the Spirit confirmed what had become evident from the mid-’70s onwards: that Novak was well on his way to abandoning his previously left-wing positions.

Thirty years ago, however, many Christians — Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, clerical, and lay — were marching in precisely the opposite direction to Novak. Theologians in the Americas and Western Europe were still waxing lyrical about “dialogue” with Marxism. The fight-back led by Blessed John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger against the doctrinal heresies and Marxist analysis underlying liberation theology had only just begun.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton Commentary and other publications here.

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).