This Reformed Christian primer on work and faith champions the glory of God in all of life’s endeavors by tracing four key themes of economics in Christian confession and commitment and examining markers for human flourishing in the real world of economics, commerce, and markets. With scholarly passion and pastoral wisdom, tempered by the insight of economists, John Bolt presents a winsome case for how God uses the market economy to meet human needs.
Written to raise questions and invite further discussion, Bolt offers a robust Reformed perspective on stewardship, property, capital, and morality. From this, he explores a variety of issues, including the human need for liberty, the challenge of consumerism, concerns about fairness and justice, and evangelicalism’s mixed history in applying Christian compassion in politics and economics.
What stands in the way of the human quest for improvement? How does the reality of sin affect the degree to which we can achieve economic shalom today? And despite every good intention, how do we avoid the horrific track record of failed utopias that have spilled oceans of blood and created mountains of misery? Read, learn, and respond as Bolt leads a rousing Reformed discussion of faith, work, and economics.
Table of Contents:
Part One: Four Key Themes of Economics in Christian Confession and Commitment
1. ‘Does the Bible Really Teach That?’
2. Created for Creative Production
3. ‘It Takes a Village’?
4. ‘Hope That Is Not Embarrassed’
Part Two: Real-World Shalom: Markers for Human Flourishing
5. ‘To Market, to Market…’
6. Free to Be (Ir)Responsible?
7. ‘It Isn’t Fair ‘!
8. ‘The Poor You Will Always Have with You’
John Bolt (PhD, University of St. Michael’s College) is professor of systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has taught for more than twenty years.
"A marvelously stimulating book. John Bolt is correct: there is much “underbrush” that has to be cleared away in Christian discussions of the free market, both pro and con. Bolt does a lot of the clearing, and he does so with much theological wisdom (drawing helpfully on the 19th-century neo-Calvinist tradition) and appropriate caution on matters where caution is often seriously lacking. We need this book—I hope it gets widely discussed!" - Richard J. Mouw, Professor of Faith and Public Life, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Thoughtful and grounded in the Word, this primer should awaken those hypnotized by the folly of the world to see a brighter tomorrow. Rather than seeing our work and wealth as fodder for war, Dr. Bolt affirms that both redound to the glory of God, Whose image we all bear. Drawing from the wisdom of Kuyper and Bavinck, Economic Shalom is faithful to God’s Word and helpful to all those who call upon His name." - R. C. Sproul Jr., Associate Professor of Systematics and Philosophy, Reformation Bible College, Sanford, Florida
"Economic Shalom is a thoughtful, carefully argued treatise in defense of ordered liberty. Bolt provides a rare combination of deep theological reflection and sound economic thinking in his analysis of the world of work, social structures, and political economy. I recommend this title to anyone who wants an articulate integration of the Christian faith, coupled with an excellent understanding of economic reality." - P. J. Hill, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Wheaton College, Senior Fellow, Property and Environment Research Center
“In the midst of a cacophony of discordant voices touting the latest utopian visions of economic flourishing for all, Economic Shalom is a welcome and delightfully exhilarating breath of fresh air, filled with accessible biblical wisdom and hopeful realism. Peering through the illuminating lens of a robust Reformation tradition, the author graciously confronts the misguided pied pipers of class envy, toxic guilt, material scarcity, and coercive wealth redistribution. Emphasizing human dignity, individual liberty, wise stewardship, virtuous citizenry, free markets, and the power of gospel transformation, John Bolt does a masterful job of calling the church to vocational faithfulness, generous Christian compassion, and the fostering of economic opportunity for all. This book is essential reading for every thoughtful follower of Jesus who is serious about vocational faithfulness, the common good, and human flourishing. I highly recommend it!” - Tom Nelson, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, Leawood, Kansas, Author of Work Matters