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.

Posts by Jordan J. Ballor

The price of being middle class

I was glad to be able to engage P. J. O’Rourke in a wide-ranging discussion for the Acton podcast this week. In this episode of Acton Line, P. J. and I talk about “mutant” capitalism, cryptocurrency (neither of us really understand it), the state of the middle class, the Trump phenomenon, and much more, based on his latest book, None of My Business: P.J. Continue Reading...

A rule of thumb for the Green New Deal

I have a couple rules of thumb that I hope help me cut through some of the noise around various policy proposals and political debates. One has to do with budgetary reform (a topic I covered at some length last week): If the plan doesn’t engage with entitlements, then it isn’t really a serious proposal. Continue Reading...

The Christian life and the common good

In this week’s Acton Commentary I show that the idea that “physical needs must be met before people experience spiritual needs” is older than Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. The key to understanding how this might be lies in a distinction between the order of time and the order of being. Continue Reading...

Tribalism and the dangers of identity economics

Occasioned by some local controversy over a political endorsement by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, in the Detroit News today I have a piece worrying about the implications of what might be called ‘identity economics,’ or “where we only agree to economic transactions with those who agree with us on an ever-growing list of moral or even political shibboleths.” A highlight: The deleterious effects of limiting our economic and social interactions on the basis of visible characteristics like ethnicity or gender are obvious. Continue Reading...

Adam Smith and the morality of commercial society

Over at Arc Digital today I take a look at Adam Smith’s moral teachings, particularly in light of commercial society and Christian theology. This essay serves as a brief introduction to one of the Moral Markets projects I am working on, as well as a teaser for further exploration of the relationship between Christianity and classical political economy. Continue Reading...

Mini-Review: Advice to a Desolate France

Gene Fant, president of North Greenville University, recently attended Acton University as a presidential fellow. He, like many of us, has a bunch of summer reading lined up, and this includes the short treatise from the sixteenth century, Advice to a Desolate France, by Sebastian Castellio. Continue Reading...

First Reformed: The toxic mess of syncretism

There’s a lot to process in Paul Schrader’s latest film, “First Reformed.” The first half of the film sets up as a powerful, even brilliant, study of spiritual desolation and the cross-currents of modern idolatry and traditional religion. Continue Reading...

A trade ‘war’ preemptive strike

Over at Providence today, I say a bit about the Trump administration’s trade policy as well as the President’s rhetoric. Here’s a snip: A sober defense of free trade aspires toward freer and freer exchange, even while it recognizes the necessities of incremental improvements and the messiness of politics. Continue Reading...