The goal of Above All Earthly Powers is to explore the intersection of theology and economics, a task that we call viewing “economics in light of the Gospel.” For this reason it was encouraging to read an editorial in the Wall Street Journal this week entitled “What the Bible Teaches about Capitalism.”
Before delving into the content of this editorial by Aryeh Spero (which this blog will do today and tomorrow), is worthwhile to note that the WSJ editors validate the existence of an intersection of economics and religion. They do not envision free markets operating apart from a moral compass or without a biblical foundation.
Their point is underscored by the fact that more than 1,100 words are devoted to this editorial, or about a half of a newsprint page. This is especially noteworthy in a newspaper with the highest circulation in the country — 2.1 million readers (compared to USA Today with 1.8 million readers and Above All Earthly Powers with significantly under 1 million readers).
While the entire editorial is worth reading, one highlight is its emphasis on the fundamental goodness of work. Not only is mankind tasked with subduing all of creation, every individual bears the command that six days you shall labor, and do all of your work (Exodus 20:9). Work is not a result of sin entering the world, but rather people have been inherently created for working and resting.
The Bible also demands honesty and even transparency in all of life, and this is especially relevant in free markets. Spero quotes Leviticus 19:14, You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God, to make the point that businesspeople should not “act deceitfully or obscure the truth” from those who depend on honest information.
Spero also notes “the Bible is not a business-school manual” which means that discernment and wisdom are necessary to apply these timeless principles to be ever-changing modern environment. It is to this task, gentle reader, that we will turn in tomorrow’s post.
Part 1 of 2