Why the Biblical financial ideal seems to be one of self-employment, saving, and investing in the lower middle class. Explains why I reject Republican capitalism; and I’m moving in the direction of a Biblical capitalism, which requires financial limits, ethical behavior, and generosity to the poor (David Chilton, Productive Christians, p. 40). An extended book title for my e-book could be: The Bible and Financial Growth: Economic Empowerment for Christians: Derived from the Puritan Idea of Christian Economics and the Biblical Capitalism of Other Christians. This would be a practical manual for Christians, who want to have a keen economic sense, that has been brought fully under the lordship of Christ.
My view aligns the most with Gary North in Wealth and Poverty: Four Christian Views of Economics, but I think Art Gish provides him with some necessary corrections, particularly in the area of living off the land and abandoning Corporate America and competition: see Gish’s book Beyond the Rat Race. Gish is more of a Jesus hippie.
1. Puritan Economic Experiments – this is how I became convinced that working at home is the Christian ideal.
2. Economic Commentary on the Bible: Proverbs – Solomon was the wisest and richest man in the world during his time; and Gary North comments on his economic proverbs. This is good stuff.
3. An Introduction to Christian Economics – I haven’t read this yet, but it looks very systematic.
4. Productive Christians by David Chilton – This book was admired by Gary North as the go to place for a Christian view of economics.
Another book I’d like to look at is Craig Blomberg’s Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions.
Other notable economic philosophers who were Christians:
1. Max Weber – Calvinist – The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
2. R. H. Tawney – Anglican – Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
3. E. F. Schumacher – Catholic – Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered (like Art Gish, Schumacher focuses on the role of community and meaningful work as keys to happiness instead of greed for luxury items; like Thomas Merton, he borrows some ideas from Buddhists and Ghandi, so take with a grain of salt); Good Work (again, this focuses on the role of relationships as the key to happiness instead of social Darwinism and climbing the corporate ladder, refers to the Gospels).
4. Richard Baxter – Puritan – “Directions for the Poor” and “Directions for the Rich” in A Christian Directory, Part 2: Christian Economics
5. Jonathan Edwards – Puritan – Mark Valeri’s The Economic Thought of Jonathan Edwards
6. John Wesley – Methodist – Robert Kingdon’s Laissez-Faire or Government Control: A Problem for John Wesley