Economics 101

The Thinking Christian

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Whether it’s a question of what to make for dinner or which job to take, the majority of the decisions we make every day have something to do with economics.

If economic decisions deal directly with the human person and our relationship with our neighbor, then God’s word must have something to say about economics.

Yesterday’s blog post by my colleague Jay Richards stressed the importance of Christians carefully examining God’s truth in the discipline of economics. In this short video clip on LIFE Today, Jay explains several economic implications woven throughout the gospel:

To properly understand what the Bible says about economics, it’s helpful to understand what economic ideology says about the Bible. Theology (of some sort) has been the foundation for many economic movements in history, including:

  • Marxism.
  • The social gospel movement.
  •  Liberation theology.

The history of economic ideology is not a futile discipline. Studying it can help Christians to protect truth. C.S. Lewis once said,

Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.

Learning to separate good ideas from the bad ones is an important skill. Discernment when it comes to philosophies and ideologies is one aspect of loving Christ with all of our minds.

Theologian and sociologist Jacques Ellul implies in his book Jesus and Marx: From Gospel to Ideology that failure to understand economic ideologies is a dangerous pattern among Christians:

Christians have always functioned in the same way: in a given society, a dissenting ideology comes on the scene. Christians fail to observe it. If the ideology grows, they begin to find it interesting, but they refrain from getting involved. If it becomes the dominant ideology, the traditional ideology begins to decline seriously.

In other words, it’s important to discern the spirit of our age. Understanding economic ideologies helps us do that.

Living a Christian life means to be radically in the world, allowing God’s word to permeate every element of our lives, including our economic understanding.

In my next three posts, I will explore the theological implications of the historical economic movements of Karl Marx, liberation theology and the social gospel, and similar ideologies lingering in Christian circles today.

What do you think? Why is it important for Christians to be thinking about economics? Leave your comment here

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Further readings on Economics 101

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