So I stumbled over to the Wall Street Journal Opinion Pages, a daily destination for me on the web, and right at the top was an editorial with this title:
What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism
Before I even started to read I knew that was going to be trouble. I was not disappointed (or maybe I was, I am not sure). As I finished it up and swallowed the bile back down, I noticed that the author, Aryeh Spero, not only had an unusual name, he (she?) is a Jewish rabbi. Nothing wrong with that per se but when you title an essay "What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism", you are going to get a lot of osetnsibly Christian folks to read it. What was missing of course was any sort of interaction with the New Testament which makes sense since the author is Jewish. That didn't stop those commenting on the essay from making the leap from Old Testament teaching against sloth and envy and applying it to Christian teaching. One guy said:
Great article Rabbi. I would add that when Christ chose his 12 disciples, they were not idle, they were at work. so even in the Christian part of our beliefs, we see examples of work being a characteristic that signals to strong, dependable individuals.Which seems to miss the point that not only were the twelve neither strong nor particularly dependable, they also quit their jobs to follow an unemployed teacher around the countryside, a teacher who specifically sent His disciples out without moneybags and depending on the generosity of strangers for their meals (Luke 10:4-8). That comment was pretty typical of what you find in the over three hundred comments (and counting).
I am quite certain that many Christians will gobble this up as theological cover for living however the heck they want as long as they go to church and put a check in the plate. The contention that swirls around money in the church is reason enough for us to be very cautious about how we approach the subject and very careful that we don't mask our own cultural values with Biblical cover.
There is nothing inherently pro-capitalism in the Bible. Nor is there anything pro-socialism. There certainly is not much that would permit one political party or persuasion to claim the Bible as their own. Let the politicians argue about tax policy. We have a Savior to show the world.