We do not believe that the Bible explicitly endorses capitalism or any other economic system. Yet the Bible has much to say about economic principles, and as Christians, we should embrace its wisdom as we make economic choices in our everyday lives. It should also lead us to embrace systems that are more closely in alignment with the principles expressed in the Scriptures.
Faith at Work: Economic Flourishing, Freedom to Create and Innovate
Faith at Work: Economic Flourishing, Freedom to Create and Innovate is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Advocacy Department and Institute for Faith, Work & Economics.
God, faith and the power of prayer are truly remarkable. My unwavering relationship with our Heavenly Father has kept me going during my lowest of lows, and has emboldened my hope of brighter days ahead.
The promise of religion has much more to do with the next world than with this one. None of the great religions can be pursued seriously except upon this view. They also promise benefits in this world.
I remember the first time I saw real poverty. It was the early 1970s, so I would have been 7 or 8 years old. Flipping through a copy of National Geographic magazine, I found a heartbreaking photo. It showed a malnourished African boy, about my own age, with flies on his face and a distended belly.
This powerful expression of freedom was written in recognition that we are accountable to God and that rights are given to man from God, not by government -- that no temporal power can exercise authority over the individual's conscience or aspirations.
At the beginning of the 19th century, only duchesses wore silk stockings; by the end, even working girls did. At the beginning of that century, few had eyeglasses; by the end, eyeglasses were in frequent use. Dental care advanced somewhat (much more so, however, in the 20th century). Longevity rose steadily, and infant mortality began to decline (again, much more so in the 20th century).
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 about economic matters. The meaning of work, the value of labor and other economic issues are all part of the biblical worldview. At the same time, we must recognize that the Christian worldview does not demand or promote a particular economic system.
A couple of years ago, The Huffington Post's blog "Wait But Why" created "Lucy," an imagined embodiment of today's emerging adult.
In the early 21st century, there are few ideas that can be identified as universal. Few ideas span multiple disciplines of human knowledge, from philosophy to economics, from religion to world health policies, from ethics to psychoanalysis, from medical practice to jurisprudence, from trade policies to energy management to music performance, from water treatment to watercolor instruction.
Since 1990 extreme poverty has been cut in half worldwide and is continuing to plummet. The Brookings Institution projects that this kind of poverty might more or less disappear by 2030. Globally, infant mortality, malnutrition and illiteracy are all declining.
The poor will always be with us, but such a sobering reality does not free us from an obligation to work to alleviate the ravages of poverty. On the contrary, Jesus' statement only serves to remind us that every generation will face the question of how best to fulfill our holy obligations to them.
Some say income inequality is the defining issue of our time. One of the most famous tweets ever came from Pope Francis, who wrote, "Inequality is the root of social evil."
Too often in our descent into the policy minutia of budget and trade deficits, fiscal and monetary policy, we overlook the broader and bigger picture.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, claims business is under attack today. Speaking to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in February, he said, "Humanity has been lifted up by business, and yet it has been completely hijacked by its enemies who create a narrative that business is selfish and greedy and exploitative."
Armed with Stanford undergraduate and MBA degrees and a fairly new Christian faith, I founded a business in the mid-1970s with $5,000 and a grocery bag of computer connector parts. Inmac started on the idea of selling computer accessories by mail order and expanded from there.
As the 2008 financial crisis receded, U.S. household wealth rebounded by this year to the astounding record of $89 trillion.
Presidential candidates, elections and even political parties come and go, but one issue has forever been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of a majority of American minds: the economy and jobs. Even as the ethnic face of America has evolved from one generation to the next, this constant has always been with us. In fact, a Gallup poll taken this year confirmed this again.
Why not socialism? A right use of freedom has tended to encourage human dignity, creativity and flourishing.
"A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death," wrote Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. "A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society."
As the plane began its descent into the Los Angeles airport, I saw thick columns of smoke billowing up from the city. That day in 1992, the Los Angeles riots opened my eyes and heart to the needs of my community. As the overseer of 50 churches in the area, I was haunted by questions about the strife that had overtaken my city: "Why is the city on fire? Where is the salt and light?"
He stood proudly laughing as I retrieved my red flag from a ditch. "Wave it, son!" he encouraged.
"A truly strange thing has happened to American Christianity," says a writer at The Washington Post's On Faith blog.
Between 2010 and 2012, the Latin World Evangelical Alliance, or Confraternidad Evangelica Latina (ConEL), conducted a survey of 7,169 leaders of the evangelical church in seven countries of the Latin world.
Money is often seen as intrinsically bad or perhaps a necessary evil in the world. However, we must not forget the important role money plays in wealth creation and in facilitating the efficient exchange of goods and services.
The promise of America is a dream.
Innovation and creativity are credited with much of the vast material wealth and cultural richness that has been built in the West.
In December 2005, I sat with my wife in a small Chicago theater watching a charming production of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
The Fellowship of Companies for Christ International is redefining the rules on business. Markets with a conscience thrive.
As the second-generation owner of a commercial construction company near Washington, D.C., I have explored the driving force behind my work. I prayed for a vision and landed on this: Use your influence to create environments where people can experience abundant life.
On the Feb. 13, 2015 episode of ABC-TV's "Shark Tank," my friend, Liz Bohannon, and her husband, Ben, presented their Ugandan-based footwear company -- Sseko Designs -- to the famous board of billionaire investors.
I have had the privilege of being born, raised and shaped by Detroit. Seeing the world through the lens of this beautiful but broken city has framed my view of human flourishing in ways that are truly amazing and counterintuitive.