Jerry Bowyer is our resident economist and author of The Maker versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics
Today, we’re continuing our series on just what a Christian economic worldview should look like and how we can return to God’s plan for a healthy economy.
Last time, Jerry told us that we have to see and think clearly and understand that an economic system fits together coherently with cause and effect. We need to see that the God who made man and the God who made the earth is one God with one mind and we are compatible with one another.
As we start out today, sum up where we’ve been.
- The series begins by examining how things were supposed to be, often referring back to the original creational intent and biblical principles.
- It is emphasized that the economy of Genesis 1 and 2 represents the ideal state of affairs as designed by God.
- However, humanity abandoned this ideal, leading to the economy of Genesis 3 and 4, marked by curses, worsening conditions, and the replacement of God with idols.
- The way out involves returning to biblical principles and organizing nations according to God's original intentions.
- The current state is described as the church era, with nations varying in their adherence to biblical principles and Providence shaping events since the fall of the Tower of Babel.
- The dispersion of nations allows people to vote with their feet and capital, and adherence to God's principles tends to enrich while violation leads to degradation.
- This natural order serves as a protective limit on the evil in the world, even though the original Edenic intention cannot be fully restored.
So how would you then describe where we find ourselves today?
- The present era is characterized as the "church era" where God's influence operates through the church in various nations.
- Different nations exhibit varying degrees of adherence to biblical principles, with some following, some abandoning, and others moving toward them.
- Since the fall of the Tower of Babel, Providence has shaped the world to limit the power of the powerful and protect the vulnerable.
- God's statement about "nothing these people can't do" implies the potential for harm to - one another in a world.
- The dispersion of nations enables people to vote with their feet and capital, influencing the dynamics of global economics.
- Capital movement, exemplified by money flowing in or out of nations like the United States and Europe, demonstrates how adherence or violation of God's principles can impact economies.
- Following God's principles tends to enrich, while violating them tends to degrade and impoverish, serving as a protective limit on the extent of evil in the world.
We can see on full display the evidence of that when we just look at the U.S. taking off like a rocket ship because of our adherence to those principles, right?
- The evidence of adherence to biblical principles is seen in the rapid growth of the US, surpassing much older nations.
- The US outpaced older nations, including old Europe, despite potential flaws in Christian economics in the latter.
- However, there's a recognition that the US is slowing down due to violations of these principles.
- The world operates in a way where there are inherent consequences for both violating and following these principles, creating a system of punishment and reward.
Where do we go from here as the body of Christ and the church?
- The church is where the desired transformation should take place, following Adam's failure and Israel's shortcomings.
- The dispersion of nations at the Tower of Babel limited the power of individual states to act as gods.
- The ultimate solution is seen in Jesus, the new Adam, who succeeded in the garden where Adam failed, and in Pentecost, where language barriers were overcome.
- The church is described as a nation, a holy nation, and a priestly nation, and it has the capacity to do the right thing independently of the nations.
- There is a contrast between Babel, which moved east and caused language confusion, and Pentecost, where nations moved west and understood each other's languages.
- The church embodies God's ideal economy by prioritizing God, productivity, and generosity, avoiding extremes like the health and wealth gospel.
- The church's productivity is crucial because, without it, there is nothing to share, aligning with God's original intent for His people.
We can often be frustrated because we know we have limited impact on the national economy. And yet what we have direct control over is our own personal economy, right?
- Frustration often arises from the limited impact on the national economy, while individuals have direct control over their personal economies.
- Having agency in one's household and local church can counteract frustration, as it allows for meaningful actions on a small scale.
- The choice is between fretting about national issues with limited impact or acting in the right way on a small scale, creating a model for potential imitation by nations.
- The focus should be on doing what is right, regardless of the scale, as God is responsible for the rise and fall of nations.
- God's command is for the church to be the kind of nation it's meant to be, embodying a holy and priestly identity.
What is it going to take for us to get back in line with God's design?
- To get back in line with God's design, there are a couple of key factors.
- First, the church should serve as a model for handling money better than the world does.
- Secondly, the church should adopt a prophetic role, not only doing the right thing but also speaking truth to the nation.
- Inflation, for example, should be seen as more than just an economic or math problem but as an abomination, echoing God's perspective on unjust weights and measures.
- While voting is part of the process, the real power lies in setting a positive example, preaching the truth, and relying on God's intervention.
- The hope is for America to be restored, not just to its former glory but to a higher moral standard.
- Historical examples, such as Sodom and Gomorrah, show that a nation can be salvageable if there is a prophetic voice, even if it's as small as a group of ten speaking the truth.
- Concern arises when there's no prophetic voice, as that could lead to the nation's downfall, but there is still hope if the church raises its voice more clearly.
You can read Jerry Bowyer’s insightful columns for World News Group at WNG.org.
On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- How do you determine whether to keep funds in an IRA or move those funds elsewhere?
- What should you consider in deciding whether to take money out of an IRA to build a house?
Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000. Faith & Finance is also available on the Moody Radio Network as well as American Family Radio. Visit our website at FaithFi.comwhere you can join the FaithFi Community, and give as we expand our outreach.