A Biblical Economic Vision

Drawing heavily on the work of Walter Brueggemann, Bouma-Prediger and Walsh have the following to say about a biblical economic vision:

A covenantal/prophetic perspective “holds that the haves and the have-nots are bound in community to each other, that viable life depends upon the legitimate respect, care and maintenance of the have-nots and upon the restraint of the haves so that the needs and rights of the disadvantaged take priority over the yearnings of the advantaged.” There is nothing naïve or romantic about this economic vision. Classical economic theory is correct: humans are self-interested, indeed, deeply selfish creatures. But rather than take that as a normative given for economic life, a biblical vision responds to such selfishness by prioritizing the needs of the poor and restraining the acquisitive appetites of the rich. Otherwise, the poor will always be oppressed, and the rich will continue to rule with an agenda of privatization and legal structures that protect their rights of profit. Against such privatization, a covenental/prophetic vision of economic life “regards property as a resource for the common good, as a vehicle for the viability of a whole society, as the arena for the development of public responsibility and public compassion.” And when responsibility and compassion become public, they take the shape of justice.

Steven Bouma-Prediger & Brian J. Walsh, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), 142.

6 responses to “A Biblical Economic Vision”

  1. The tension between Capitalism’s reliance on self-interest and Christ’s call to self-sacrifice is a significant issue. Unfortunately, I think too many Christians in the west have fail to recognize how far Capitalistic ideology has become entangled with Christian belief.

    That’s a great excerpt from an excellent book, I’m currently on chapter 3 myself!

  2. after reading this, how could anyone justify being a libertarian and a christian? i mean, i know those people exist, but no sense make.

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