Theology 101

The Four-Chapter Gospel and Other Adventures

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The journey of integrating faith, work, and economics could be quite an adventure. Along the way, we’ll meet new ideas that could shake things up a bit.

Ever heard of the four-chapter gospel? Many of us having been living with a two-chapter gospel, and the implications of the shift are pretty significant.

Our journey will involve taking an in-depth look at the topic of work in the Old and New Testaments. Many Christians hone in on the implications of the New Testament but miss out on the rich meaning of work derived from the larger meta-narrative of God’s work throughout history – past, present, and future.

Christians must also understand the principle of all work as calling. We are to live our lives in the light of this truth.  As we look at the history of work as experienced by the church during the last 2,000 years, it’s easy to see how we have wandered so far from this reality. As a result, many have a hard time making sense of their lives outside of church on Sunday, Bible studies, and mission trips.

If properly understood, the biblical doctrine of work can help us bring a new sense of purpose to our lives and, through our work, radically impact our culture.

We will discuss these fundamental aspects of the biblical doctrine of work here on the IFWE blog and in our research. From that basis, we will weave in a discussion of economics, seeing how our own calling in work and the world of economics are inexorably intertwined. Here are some of the key themes we’ll be addressing along the way:

  1. The four-chapter gospel vs. the two-chapter gospel.
  2. What it means to be made in God’s image.
  3. The cultural mandate.
  4. The realities of work and scarcity after the Fall.
  5. Calling and comparative advantage.
  6. Economic freedom and the road to flourishing.
  7. How to best care for the poor in a biblical manner.
  8. God’s kingdom.

As faith, work, and economics begin to align, many will see for the first time that we have a serious stake in the economic environment in which we live and work. We will see that we must cherish and sustain an economic environment that provides us the freedom to flourish in our work for the good of others and the glory of God.

Our goal at IFWE is for you to understand the richness of the meaning of work, live out how you were designed with creativity, and find great purpose in what you do, whether it’s paid or volunteer work. We want you to be able to think biblically and wisely about how best to steward your work and by so doing, benefit and transform the world around you.

In our strained economy, we are all daily reminded of both our personal need and the call to care for those around us.  We pray this journey we take together will equip you to channel your passion to love your neighbor in the most effective way possible. In the words of Martin Luther, one of the best ways to do this is through your own work.

Short of Christ’s return and reign on earth, we will find that there is no economic proposal that can bring about the utopia that some today are promising. The good news is that economics gives us a tool to manage the hard fact that we no longer live in the Garden of Eden and there is scarcity. It also provides us an avenue, through our work, to reflect and declare the reality of Christ’s coming kingdom, in which there will be abundance and shalom.

Download ‘All Things New: Rediscovering the Four-Chapter Gospel’ and begin your adventure into a deeper understanding of faith and work today. 

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Further readings on Theology 101

  • At Work
  • Theology 101
Truth That Defines Our Relationships & Our Lives

By: Russell Gehrlein

7 minute read

Editor’s note: Russell Gehrlein was a special guest on the syndicated radio program The Plumb Line, hosted by Jay Rudolph,…

  • Theology 101
How to Find Work-Life Balance Through Sabbath Rest

By: Dr. Andrew Spencer

6 minute read

Searching the phrase “work-life balance” online produces an avalanche of results. The recommendations provided to create a work-life balance vary…

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