Opinion: Economics and the faithful


“Economy” is the word theologians use for the actions and relationships within the Holy Trinity – the Father, Son and Spirit – and to describe the Trinity’s interaction with the fallen world.

This economy – stemming from the Greek word oikos, “generous handling” – is a mystery of God’s love and heavenly glory. The result is humanity’s salvation.

Man’s economy or “economics” – often called “the dismal science” – is about tangible transactions and temporal value. The result is often opposite “oikos,” and instead is a self-inflicted deterioration of our relationship with the Holy Trinity.

Why? Man wants worldly assets; God demands glorifying faith.

It’s easy to blame science, culture, government and education for diminishing our appreciation of God’s economy. Science belittles belief in the unseen; modern culture destroys the faithful home environment; governments continually infringe on heavenly citizenship; and education has expelled prayer, Bible belief, and God from schools.

In our fallen world, people reflexively understand economics as empirical exchanges: we give something, we get something, we haggle over the cost.

So how does God in His grace, His economy, provide the free gift of salvation through the sacrifice and death of His son Jesus? That’s confusing. We are attuned to trade-offs, not grace. We want to see a price tag.

Curiously, secular doubters frequently rely on this God in whom they don’t really believe. They assume God will be compassionate in judgment in the hereafter. That indicates tacit belief in God, morality, judgment and heaven. Nonetheless these folks stubbornly refrain from expressing the “economic” key and divine absolute to receiving God’s gift: confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In John 14:6, Jesus tells Thomas (later the famous “doubter” of the resurrected Christ in John 20:24-30), “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” You want God? Proclaim Jesus as Lord. Simple.

Way too often modern churches, evangelists and TV preachers, though they undoubtedly know better, mimic the world’s economy by marketing religion to man’s selfish appetites. That may help gather a crowd (and donations), but becomes dismal when a church leverages fears, shame and guilt to keep the seats (and coffers) full. That obfuscates the mystery of God’s love, obscures the community of the Trinity, and overrides the simplicity of God’s gift in Christ. It does not glorify God.

When a church’s “economy” promotes legalisms and worldly self-interest, “religion” becomes a roadblock rather than a highway to the Kingdom of faith.

Economists – reliably unreliable – get the world’s economy wrong all the time.

God’ economy – with the grace of Christ – is a truth that will never fail.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com) notes that in Greek, the opposite of “oikos,” generous handling, is “akribia,” legalism.