Let's reflect on what the Bible says about our economy. Have you ever thought, "It doesn't matter what economic system a nation has, none are more 'Christian' than others"; "Just believe in Jesus and that is all that matters"?
I used to think that. I don't anymore. I have come to learn that the Bible actually says some things about money and the economy. There is a lot more talk these days about capitalism. For some reason, capitalism, as an economic system, has taken a beating in the media and in the church. The perception that has gained some ground is that capitalism is based on greed, only for the rich and doesn't care about the poor. Is this true? Is capitalism less biblical than, say, socialism?
I would dare say that capitalism is more biblical. Hold on now, before you get worked up. Capital is savings (Austrian). We are moving toward a Keynesian market (spending and credit). Biblically saving is good and giving is good. Gaining profit is not, by design, greed. It allows greed. Greed is hoarding. But greed is allowed with both capitalism and socialism.
Rev. Jeff Hoverson
Socialism has a bigger problem in that it promotes covetousness, theft and envy. Two of these actually break the Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not covet and thou shalt not steal. It can also cause one to depend on government more than on God. This is idolatry. So, while both systems can allow problems because we all sin, we see that socialism is a much worse system from a Christian perspective. That is why our forefathers were against the communist (socialist) Soviet Union system.
Does the Bible command us to give? Yes, absolutely. It commands that of you and I and of the church, but it does not command us to take it from our neighbor, even if he is wealthy. That is what we do when we vote for laws of socialism. Statistically, people who are more capitalist give more.
So, what about the poorest nations. Again, societies that have come out of poverty have done so by moving toward a free market based society that respects freedom and private property. Again, more in line with the Ten Commandments.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
If we really care about people at the "bottom," we will promote free enterprise (capitalism), and encourage churches and individuals to out-give their government. This is what Jesus said in Luke 6:30, 35. He never condemned being rich, rather love of money. We cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). We are to be givers; we are to be a blessing; that is his goal for us. If you want to raise the floor, you need to lift the ceiling. So, does our economic system matter, biblically? I would say, yes. May you be blessed to be a blessing!
The Rev. Jeff Hoverson is pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church, 710-26th Ave. NE, Minot.