Economics 101

Why Should Christians Care about Economic Freedom?

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The kids in my neighborhood were setting off fireworks well past the time the official celebrations ended, so instead of sleeping I had plenty of time to reflect on how to best follow yesterday’s post listing seven implications of the biblical view of freedom. The biblical view of freedom provides a framework for other freedoms, including political, economic, and religious freedom. Today I’d like to focus on why Christians should care specifically about economic freedom.

All truth is from God. As Christians, we very much understand this as it applies to our faith. We even apply this to disciplines like biology and chemistry. Yet we tend to forget that even economic truth is from God. Economic truths help us understand a number of important points.

  • Economics provides us with truths about costs, trade-offs, and the consequences of the choices we make everyday.
  • Economic freedom provides a road map for the best chance to achieve human flourishing.
  • Economic freedom is a measure of the ability of people from any race, gender or faith to trade and use their gifts and skills to serve others. It is the best known path to unleash the creativity of each individual.
  • Economic freedom gives us the best-tested chance to provide an opportunity society for all income levels, not just for the wealthy.

Keeping these points in mind, Christians should concern themselves with economic freedom for the following reasons.

Economic Freedom Fits with a Christian Understanding of Human Nature

We are created in the image of God. The four-chapter gospel and the cultural mandate inform us that humans are created to work. We are unique and have purpose. Therefore, we need freedom to provide opportunities for us to find our vocations, unleash our gifts, and impact the world.

We Are Called to Serve Others, Especially the Poor

Proverbs 29:7 tells us the righteous care about justice for the poor. Poverty is an affront to human dignity. Justice means enabling the poor to elevate their dignity, and helping them escape the trappings of poverty. There is no other way of organizing society that has lifted more people out of poverty than economic freedom.

Economic Freedom Helps Us Flourish

The language of Genesis is full of abundance. We are not called to live in scarcity, poverty or remain in subsistence conditions. God wants us to enjoy the fruits of his creation and the fruits of our labor. We can’t do this alone. We focus on our gifts and trade with others. This results in a level of flourishing otherwise unobtainable.

Property Rights Are a Biblical Principle

Property rights are upheld and defended in Scripture. The eighth commandment is explicit, and property is defended throughout the Bible (see Exod. 21: 28-36, 22: 1-15; Deut. 22: 1-4, 23: 24-25; Prov. 22: 28, 23:1).

Economic freedom is predicated on the property rights of individuals. Such property rights include your talents and labor.

Redistribution Through Coercion Is Not Biblical

The importance of property rights helps us understand the consequences of coercion. The scriptures emphasize limited models of government because it protects our natural, God-given rights. Limited government broadens the path to flourishing.

While measures of economic freedom might not have been developed by Christians, these measurements rely on truths about the nature of man and God’s intentions for humanity, which are biblical. God’s truth will set us free, and economic freedom is part of the fallen world’s path to flourishing.

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