Monday, November 17, 2008

R.C. Sproul on Christianity and Economics

Please listen to this superb lesson on economic systems from a Christian perspective. The recording is about 26 minutes; click on the title "Economics" to listen. Sproul fairly, logically, and Biblically processes through the options of capitalism, socialism, and communism. He takes care to address the concerns of our day that lead to a mass abandonment of all that leads to profit (capitalism) and an endorsement if not embrace of that which theoretically is the more compassionate, the option that intentionally kills profit (socialism).

I ask that you listen, learn, and encourage others to do the same.

Additionally, if you have not yet signed this petition fighting the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act," that is, the act that dissolves any and all restrictions on abortion, please do so at


David Strunk said...

Pastor Don invited me to a lecture at CCU by a Christian economist named Michael Novak. I haven't gotten to listen to the link you posted, but I assume both men come to similar conclusions.

Novak (along with many books he's written on the topic) says that the essence of capitalism, a la Adam Smith's book title long ago, is to grow wealth in economies. Wealth grows, it doesn't get redistributed. It is his opinion that capitalism is the most moral of the systems because it doesn't allow people to remain in poverty, provided that everyone has equal opportunity.

I do, however, think he undersells the evils of capitalism slightly. Capitalism can, but does not necessarily, lead to exploitation and postmodernism (the idea that all ideas are equally valid). And, capitalism also leads to what Joseph Schumpeter called creative destruction. Innovation and enterprise lead to obsolete jobs like factory workers in the midwest. While I think wealth must grow, we must still have compassion (maybe not govt. compassion) for those who only have skills to work obsolete jobs.

In sum, capitalism is best, but it still has accompanying difficulties and possible evils.

Sarah Geis said...


From what I hear about Novak, that lecture should certainly be worth hearing! Let me know how it goes.

You are absolutely right. Capitalism does provide an open door for certain evils, but does not necessarily lead in that direction. In a capitalistic society, people, especially Christians (who have no excuse!) absolutely must exercise compassion without assuming that this is the state's responsibility.

David Strunk said...

Yep, agreed.

I wrote in a misleading fashion a little earlier, because I actually have already attended the lecture. It was about a week and a half ago. It was stimulating and engaging. But, I think he's in favor of bringing democratic capitalism all over the world (if even by force), although he's more of a free trader than anything. I'm not so sure about the force thing.

Check out his book, though, it's a stalwart in academic circles. I think it's called something with "Democratic Capitalism" in the title. Really smart dude.

Sarah Geis said...

Sorry Dave,
That was my fault for reading too hastily. I assumed you were summing up his views from books and articles! Who knows where I got that. I'm glad it was a fruitful lecture, though.

Daniel said...

I would quibble greatly with the idea of spreading capitalism or democracy "by force". Especially as a person who is at the least sympathetic to Christian pacifism and at the most going in that direction. Even the most conservative of political scientists will say that democracy/capitalism can't (shouldn't?) work in ALL areas of the world. The biggest example right now is Iraq.

Time will tell if democracy can overturn centuries of Islamic undertoning with the assumption of Sharai law. But don't hold your breathe. I'm sceptical.

David Strunk said...

Well Daniel,
I think I'd argue that democratic capitalism is a stronger world force than Islam, although I don't know how much I wish this were true or not.

For examples, see China, democratic movements in Iran and other places in the Middle East, Cuba (now slightly changing economic policies), and the entire Soviet Union after glasnost and perestroika.

Movements that spread by force such as radical Islam or Communism will inevitably fail, at least I hope so.

Daniel said...

Yes but Islam has been growing for quite a few more centuries than democratic capitalism has been around. I'm still waiting for that "inevitable failure".

And democratic capitalism shouldn't be the weapon of choice (pardon the pun) to take down Islam. The Truth of Christianity sould be. I'd put my eggs in that basket over the other any day.

Doug Groothuis said...

Isn't this RC Sproul, Jr.? Not sure senior speaks on this.

Sarah Geis said...


As odd as it may be, I don't believe that this is Sproul, Jr.

Doug Groothuis said...

OK, Senior can learn from Junior, who has a book out on this topic. Will try to listen when I can.

Sarah Geis said...

I was unaware of that book, so I just added it to my ever growing "to read" list. Thanks. :)