Why the latest manifesto about Christians and economics is important, helpful, and woefully one-sided.
At a conference in March 2017, the Lausanne Movement and Business as Mission Global issued the important, helpful, and much-needed “Wealth Creation Manifesto.” While this manifesto is reflective of important biblical themes, it ignores others and ultimately fails to provide the balanced wisdom and guidance so urgently needed on this important topic.
Astonishing success in reducing global poverty has occurred in the last 40 years—especially the last 20. In that period, more evangelicals have come to understand the extensive biblical teaching about God’s concern for the poor—with a corresponding explosion of evangelical programs working to overcome poverty. From the 1990 Oxford Declaration on Christian Faith and Economics to more recent books on economics and market economies, evangelicals have increasingly devoted attention to how biblical faith intersects with the world of business and economics.
Initially nurtured by Youth With A Mission, a global network of Christian business leaders, theologians and ethicists have come together in an important network, Business as Mission. In 2013, they produced an important document, “Business as Mission and the End of Poverty,” a document that emphasized the biblical concern for the poor and insisted that ending poverty be a central concern of every Christian in business. That 2013 document, followed by the 2014 consultation by the Lausanne Movement on “Prosperity Theology, Poverty, and the Gospel” helped prepare the way for this 2017 “Wealth Creation Manifesto.”
A Crucial Caveat
This manifesto rightly establishes wealth creation as a “holy calling,” established by the Creator. He made persons in the divine image …