As we start our next six-day work week today, there are many things on our minds. Probably a Christian view of economics is not among those things. We have schedules to keep, hours to fulfill, and, quite simply, jobs to get done. What benefit is a Christian view of economics going to do us?
But, as we know from experience as well as from what we have been taught, perspective makes all the difference in the world. Our world and life view shapes all we do and how we do it, including our daily work.
In the February issue of Tabletalk Dr. Al Mohler penned an article for the rubric “City on a Hill” titled “Toward a Christian View of Economics,” and I believe it is a good piece for us to consider as we start the week.
The principles he sets forth apply not only to corporate economics, but to personal economics as well. When you read these, check your own personal view of work, money, and stewardship with these points. How biblical is your economics?
He prefaces his article with these words:
Regrettably, many American Christians know little about economics. Furthermore, many Christians assume that the Bible has nothing at all to say about economics. But a biblical worldview actually has a great deal to teach us on economic matters. The meaning of work, the value of labor, and other economic issues are all part of the biblical worldview. Christians must allow the economic principles found in Scripture to shape our thinking. Here, then, are twelve theses for what a Christian understanding of economics must do.
And then he gives those 12 theses, the first 5 of which I give you here (find the other 7 at the Ligonier link below). Later in these theses, Mohler has some significant things to say about the family and how healthy families factor into good economics.
1. It must have God’s glory as its greatest aim.
For Christians, all economic theory begins with an aim to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). We have a transcendent economic authority.
2. It must respect human dignity.
No matter the belief system, those who work show God’s glory whether they know it or not. People may believe they are working for their own reasons, but they are actually working out of an impulse that was put into their hearts by the Creator for His glory.
3. It must respect private property and ownership.
Some economic systems treat the idea of private property as a problem. But Scripture never considers private property as a problem to be solved. Scripture’s view of private property implies that owning private property is the reward of someone’s labor and dominion. The eighth and tenth commandments teach us that we have no right to violate the financial rewards of the diligent.
4. It must take into full account the power of sin.
Taking the Bible’s teaching on the pervasive effects of sin into full account means that we expect bad things to happen in every economic system. A Christian economic understanding tries to ameliorate the effects of sin.
5. It must uphold and reward righteousness.
Every economic and government system comes with embedded incentives. An example of this is the American tax code, which incentivizes desired economic behaviors. Whether they work is an issue of endless political recalibration. However, in the Christian worldview, that recalibration must continue to uphold and reward righteousness.