Today we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of Counting the Cost: Christian Perspectives on Capitalism (Abilene Christian University Press), an edited collection of essays addressing moral concerns Christians have about capitalism. The book was edited by IFWE scholars Anne Bradley and Art Lindsley and includes contributions from 12 theologians, economists, and other academic leaders. The question is, what kind of response have we had to the book?
Over the past year, Counting the Cost has made a considerable impact on readers across the nation, particularly among young Christians on college and university campuses. That’s noteworthy because it’s among that generation that capitalism is most criticized. More than 62 college and university professors and others have requested copies of Counting the Cost for review and potential adoption into the classroom. Samford University and Northwest Nazarene University have hosted events featuring the book contributors, and the students have responded, including this blog we published from an NNU student who grew up on the mission field in China.
Counting the Cost was peer-reviewed prior to its publication and continues to receive positive and constructive feedback from theologians and economists. Nathanael Peach, Associate Professor of Economics, at George Fox University has said of the book:
Counting the Cost is a must-read for Christians who want to evaluate the role of the free market in our modern, globalized world. The book is an honest appraisal of what markets are capable of and their role in many of the most pressing issues of our day. The reader is guaranteed to finish Counting the Cost with a deeper understanding of how capitalism allows us to live out elements of the Imago Dei.
In addition, theologian Andrew Spencer in his book review of Counting the Cost, says the book,
…provides a reasoned and reasonable critique of capitalism that, in the end, commends continued support for free-market economics. This is an important book precisely because it takes the critiques of opponents to free-market economics seriously and addresses them from a distinctly Christian perspective.
Contributing authors to the book include the late Michael Novak, Wayne Grudem, Barry Asmus, Vernon Smith, Doug Bandow, E. Calvin Beisner, Jonathan Pennington, David Kotter, Ed Noell, Joseph Connors, Joy Buchanan, Jonathan Witt, and editors Art Lindsley and Anne Bradley.
Each chapter addresses a different question about the morality of capitalism, such as:
- Does capitalism hurt the poor?
- Promote materialism and greed?
- Harm the environment?
- Allow the rich to get richer at the expense of others?
- Is capitalism really the best system for organizing societies and economies?
We as Christians should take an honest look not only at the system of capitalism but also at ourselves. As Hugh Whelchel has written, we are somewhat to blame for the corruption within business and government:
We reasoned that work was secular and something God did not care about, so we worked just like everyone else around us. Over the last century, we have not been the examples of integrity in the workplace we were supposed to be.
We can make a difference, each one of us, in our own sphere of influence. Ultimately, we must not look for a perfect system this side of heaven, but for the one that gives the most people the chance to flourish. As the late Michael Novak said of capitalism in his classic book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism:
Democratic capitalism is neither the Kingdom of God nor without sin. Yet all other known systems of political economy are worse. Such hope as we have for alleviating poverty and for removing oppressive tyranny—perhaps our last, best hope—lies in this much despised system.
Join us in the conversation and continue to be a light in the place where God has called you.
Editor’s note: Have you had a chance to review Counting the Cost: Christian Perspectives on Capitalism? With the anniversary of its publication, we’re offering 25% OFF in our bookstore for one week only. Use code: CTC2018 Offer ends 8/15/18.
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Photo credit: Karina Carvalho