19 March 2009

christians and the economy

Craig Blomberg's recent blog post presents a Christian's view of the economy. I would encourage you to read it, as well as his fuller treatment on the biblical perspective on possessions: Neither Poverty Nor Riches (Downers Grove: IVP, 2001) - an outstanding resource!

Because this is such a big issue right now, I thought that I'd add some of my own thoughts to the subject. One question which interests me in Blomberg's post is whether or not following a biblical worldview of money could be considered un-American. If you listen to the majority of pundits (and, sadly, commentators on comedy channels), then simply hearing the principles of save and spend wisely while living within your means would probably cause you to think of how that would slow down economic growth and hinder stock market performance. But this is precisely what the Bible tells us we should do. And the last I checked, the main standard for Christian living was The Bible and not economic data or stimulus packages. (I freely admit, however, that I am a bit old-skool-orthodoxy on this point.)

On this, here is Blomberg's take:
"If it is inevitable that living in our means, spending only that which we have, and saving frugally while continuing to give generously ruins the recovery, then so be it. It is biblical stewardship. Worshiping at the shrines of materialism and instant gratification played a large role in getting us into the economic mess we are in, so it can scarcely be the answer to getting us out!"

So not does the assertion that we must spend our way out of a recession run headstrong against common sense, it appears that it is also at odds with the biblical message concerning money and possessions. And perhaps our thoughts and actions regarding our resources should be considered in light of how much we can accomplish for the sake of the kingdom with that which we have been given. It seems that the many blessings which have been given to modern Western Christianity have been used more to heap blessings upon ourselves than spread the work of the gospel. Now the fruit of those decisions is coming into season, first with the increasing shallowness of our spirituality and now with the dissolution of our blessing.

[. . . and this is not to say that God is arbitrary, but that our choices matter.]

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