Keep watching the Oikonomia Network’s YouTube channel for unique video resources on the intersection of faith, work, and economics. Several new videos feature groundbreaking ideas from leading authors in this field.
Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, turned in a stellar performance in his interview for the Kern Family Foundation’s Faith & Flourishing series. Pastor Mel Lawrenz asked Brooks how his research as an economist intersects with Christianity:
The view of market anarchy is really not what we’re talking about. Free enterprise is a set of institutions that celebrates entrepreneurship, that celebrates the idea that hard work and merit and personal industry and personal responsibility are good things….Now, for free enterprise and capitalism to work – and this is really important – we must have a healthy culture. Culture comes first. These non-market institutions that are the bedrock of our lives – the faith, the family, and the community…these things have to be well-ordered, and they have to come first.
Brooks also commented that Christians with different backgrounds should learn from one another to advance the integration of faith and our approach to the economy:
We need, all of us who are involved in ethical issues surrounding the economy, to learn a little bit of economics…We need more interaction for Christians to become better economists, and economists to be better – well, if we can, better Christians, but at the very least people of more significant and deeper conscience.
In another video, Pastor Tom Nelson also sat down with Lawrenz to discuss his book “Work Matters,” and what pastors can do to connect Sunday to Monday in more concrete ways. Nelson was participating in our ON Topic webinar series. Speaking to Oikonomia Network faculty, Nelson described the central, biblical importance of work:
When we look at Genesis 1 and 2 and the early Torah, the trajectory of the story that we find ourselves in, as followers of Jesus and as people of the text, is one that begins with an integral idea: that God is a worker and we are made in his image, and his mission is deeply embedded in work…Work is at the very heart of our image-bearing and in our mission in the world …If we have a good grasp of that, then it sets the trajectory of God’s broader story, of the sense of redeeming a fallen creation – that work itself would have gone to smash, it would have had a deep disintegration. So then the story of the gospel flows from this integration.
Nelson traced the centrality of work through the biblical narrative, and its deep connection to our character and integrity:
Noah was righteous [tsaddiq] and he was blameless in his generation. And it is this next word that is so essential to me in understanding our connection of faith, work, and economics. Noah is blameless; the Hebrew word is tom [wholeness]…tom is often missed, and this word group is very important for the Old Testament and the New Testament, and understanding the integral design and integral nature of the Gospel in bringing redemption and regeneration and making us a new creation.
Nelson also discussed how he has helped his church’s congregation grasp the centrality of work to the “integral idea” of the biblical narrative. Check it out!