Author

Dustin Peck

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Western Christians often struggle to determine what the relationship between capitalism and Christianity should be. Some argue that Christianity and capitalism are in opposition. Capitalism is notorious for its association with greed and the pursuit of self-interest, while Christianity is a religion focused on the giving of self to love and care for others.After all, Acts 2 depicts a very collective original Christian community with no sign of participation in market activities. “And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need”(Acts 2:44-45 NLT).Some Christians use this picture of the collective economic structure of the earliest Christians to argue for the use of socialist systems. However, Christianity was never meant to stay as a small local community of believers. As the message of the gospel and the impact of God’s Kingdom through the body of Christ is spread across the nations and peoples of the world, do the same organizational and economic strategies and systems apply? I would argue that the Christian values of love, self-sacrifice, and community care should stay the same, but the economic system in which they operate on a large scale must not be the same. Christians must reconcile the large scale economic system in which they operate with their faith and also determine if it is conducive to their work for God’s Kingdom. The call for Christians to embody the Kingdom of God not only can be reconciled with free market capitalism, but the two can be quite complimentary. Support for this complimentary relationship between Christian calling and capitalism can be found in three major steps. First, the inherent nature of capitalism must be separated from sin and reconciled with the Christian value system. Second, capitalism must be shown as the best current system for accomplishing the Christian mission and goals of the Kingdom of God on this earth. Finally, it must be argued that engagement of the Christian body in capitalist systems will result in a further improvement of capitalism’s benefit to mankind.

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