A Theology of Political Economy

 

Saturday, February 26th

10am CST

 

Cornerstone Institute’s Saturday Seminars
An online lecture with Q&A

 

A Theology of Political Economy

Historically, Christian thinkers have constructed theology in the context of the historical, political, and economic realities that they faced. This includes both biblical times and the post-apostolic world. Abraham made his trek to Canaan in part so that he could follow Elohim rather than the pantheon of gods and goddesses of the Mesopotamian heartland. Similar situations arose under Joseph, Moses, David, and the explicit experience in Babylon. Biblical characters such as David and Daniel paint slightly different portraits of response to and leadership of power depending on the context. The same can be said of early Christians facing the authority of the Sanhedrin and the Roman political machine.

In the post-apostolic world different political theologies arose, not always in agreement with one another. Tertullian advocated withdrawal from the world and a kind of common purse in congregational life. Augustine, who penned the first exhaustive work on political theology, took a different tack. Thomas Aquinas wrote a “theology of everything” in his Summa, including a political and economic theology and came very close to developing the basis for capitalism. In the Reformation, it would be Calvin, not Luther, who painted a way forward in the various reforms that he advocated in business, banking, care for the genuinely poor, and politics.

Similar assessments can be offered for the evolution of the modern state and its responses to the various challenges brought about by industrialization and the rise of modern medicine, food production, and the challenges associated with the elimination of scarcity, especially in third world countries. In this context modern philosophy has played a role, especially with Kant, Hegel, Marx, and the postmodern philosophers Derrida, Lyotard, Foucault, and Rawls. Theologians have interacted with these thinkers, as they have with the “Big Three” in economic theory, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes to develop truly Christian economic theories.

How are Christians to reply to this in terms of solid Biblical interpretation? Chad Brand has given extensive consideration to these issues in both the classroom and in publishing. He has written two books: Seeking the City: Wealth, Poverty, and Political Economy in Christian Perspective, and Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship. In these books he attempts to chart a way forward by looking back.

He will address these issues in the Saturday Seminar.

 

 
Chad Brand is a teacher, preacher, and author living in central Tennessee. He taught theology, church history, and political theology for twenty-five years at various colleges and seminaries, eighteen years of which were at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisvillle, KY. He is editor and/or author of sixteen books, including The Apologetics Study Bible, the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, and Seeking the City. He and his wife, Tina, make their home in Monterey, TN, and have three grown children and ten grandchildren.

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