Faith, Hope & the Global Economy
Star Rating: 3
The author is an evangelical Christian with theological and business qualifications. He writes following the global financial crisis and banking, business and political scandals.
He writes passionately, urging Christians in business to be salt and light and not ‘Sunday Christians’. He appeals to Christians as consumers to consider ethical purchases.
Higginson attempts to relate the Bible storyline, from Genesis to Revelation in seven stages, to such issues as design, creativity, work, enterprise, usury, bribery and corruption, exploitation, risk, equity, executive pay, business ownership and profit. His analysis contains some useful insights but at times is forced, such as the transition from Christ’s work on the cross to a discussion of industrial accidents.
Chapter 1 opens as follows: ‘The Christian faith, rightly understood, can be an enormous power for good in the global economy. It stimulates enterprise, reduces poverty, promotes integrity, encourages sustainability and fosters discipleship’. The rest of the book examines this thesis in a generally even-handed way.
This book will be of particular interest to Christians in business, but also to others interested in these topical issues. I appreciated the critique of Max Weber’s ‘Protestant work ethic’, exposure of heretical theologies, including the ‘prosperity gospel’ and ‘liberation theology’, discussion of credit, debt and interest payments, and innovative ways of financing companies and distributing profit.
The author is well informed and well travelled and quotes various examples of heart-warming social enterprises that are bettering many people in developing countries. However, it was chilling to learn that the Enron CEO was a professing Christian who clearly did not relate Bible teaching to life in the office.
Implicit in the book’s message is a plea to preachers to earth their sermons in work situations familiar to their congregation and for Christians in work to be bold and live out their faith.