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Bryan Johnson, May 2007. Economic Principles of the Kingdom of God. What did the poor envisage from Jesus proclamation?.
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Bryan Johnson, May 2007 Economic Principles of the Kingdom of God
What did the poor envisage from Jesus proclamation? Jesus was anointed by the Spirit,to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release the captives, economic recovery for the blind, and to set free the downtrodden:to declare the favourable year of the Lord (– the year of Jubilee) Luke 4 :18, 19.
The anointed ministry of Jesus targeted four groups of economically disadvantaged people • The poor – probably destitute poor • The blind – relied on alms • The demon –possessed – if they were like the man at Gadarene – he was tied to tombstones with chains – no income • The unjustly treated – slaves and other dispossessed people in society who received no pay for their labour
The good news of the Kingdom Jesus proclaimed was a holistic message • The kingdom is holistic because God created every aspect of our lives • We are required to integrate the holistic principles of the kingdom into every area of our lives • We expect transformation in every area of our lives from a secular way of thinking to an holistic praxis • No area of life is unholy/sinful after this transformation
Was there an intended economicoutcome in Jesus proclamation of the good news for the poor? • Good news for these four groups had to include economic change • The favourable year of the Lord referred to “jubilee”, a year of economic renewal
The Bible teaches that God has always being trying to develop viable communities among His people as an expression of His pastoral care • Exodus 18-20 – Moses was instructed by God to develop viable community life among the people • Acts 2 – The early Apostles and the N.T. Church • Paul writing to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 3 Viablility is economic, social, infrastructurally developed, and spiritually vibrant
Creation reflected God’s economic genius…… – an expanding global economy • God’s first command to mankind was to be fruitful and multiply. • God envisioned an expanding economy • God made the animal, plant, and fish kingdoms more productive than man, so there would be provision for mankind’s obedience to His command.
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • God’s Nature is to be reflected in us • Principle 1: Creativity • He creates (Gen 1:1) • Take risks to create • Makes something from nothing • Transforms the chaotic into something of beautiful • Transforms the despised/useless into something of beauty • Makes continuous creative development and innovation • His creation is expanding, viable and sustainable • His creation is beautiful and purposeful glorifying the Master designer
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 2: Cooperative endeavour. He works cooperatively (“Let us”1:1). There is no selfishness in His motives. This avoids greed. It facilitates equitable profit sharing. It maximises reward for labour and effort. It eliminates exploitation. • Principle 3: Success “He made”, “it was good” “He transformed” the despised into the climax of His creation. Dust was transformed into Man by the breath of His Spirit. His Spirit enhances intelligence, beauty and creativity.
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 4: Work. God works for six days. His work is of outstanding quality and value that it glorifies Him. Our work becomes an expression of our relationship with and worship of Him.
Principle 4: Work • Human work • To manage the earth • To subdue it • To fill it • Work was cursed in the fall • It became hard work • From gardener to farmer, from fulfilment to frustration • But the command to manage did not change
Principle 4: Work & Productivity • God is the creative worker • His work was good, expressing beauty • Made something out of nothing • Evolved each step into something new • His work was artistic • His work was good • Work is honorable • God’s work can be seen in four categories: creation, providence, judgement, redemption
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 5: Celebration. We commence work with prayer, thanking God as the source of our creative talent. We sing songs, write poems and design artwork in His honour. We eat and feast together. Worship of God becomes a daily activity of joy from a heart of gratefulness. Acts 2 verses 41-47.
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 6: Rest. Savings from well paid work enables rest and holidays. His rest shows good financial planning and management.
Principle 6: Rest • Abuse of work takes two forms: • Idleness • Overwork • Work without rest is one of the major sins • The Sabbath • a symbol of the covenant between God and his people • a time to reflect and rest • out of this reflection, worship. • Christians enter a permanent rest • We rest in the Spirit in our work • But we also take seasons of rest
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 7: Accountability. To God, ourselves, marriage partner and the next generation. God entrusts resources to us to be used wisely in our time and then passed to the next generation for their diligent and wise use. He has made us trustees. • Principle 8: Fruitfulness. God requires us to be fruitful with the resources He provides… see parable in Mark 4 v 20
Principle 9: Replenishment. Our trusteeship requires us to leave creation in a better state than it was received. This facilitates earths ability to provide for an expanding population in keeping with God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. This implies viable and sustainable utilization of resources. Principle 10: Giving. Both sacrificially and out of the abundance of fruitful labour as an act of worship to God. Again this implies good financial planning and management. Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 11: Investment. Savings enables the ability to invest. Investment in people and resources. Can involve very costly and sacrificial personal decisions to develop the innovation required to accomplish the Divine mandate of fruitfulness and replenishment. Capital has the ability to create income, and make innovative ideas a reality. • Principle 12: Redistribution. Wealth sharing so there was a demonstration of justice in the community of God’s people. “Jubilee” redistributed wealth by forgiving debt, and restored land lost through unpaid debt. Debt was a mortgage on future work and limited response to God’s will for our life.
Principle 12: RedistributionThe Jubilee (Lev 25:8-17) Every 7th and 50th year, • It was a time of justice for the unjustly treated. I. LIBERTY • It is synonymous with the year of liberty. • Slaves are to be set free. II. DEBTS ARE TO BE CANCELED. • Economic freedom is inherent in the gospel message. III. CELEBRATION. • Celebration is inherent in the gospel message. IV. REDISTRIBUTION • The means of production, the land was to be returned to the original owners. Redistribution of the means of production is inherent in the gospel message. V. OWNERSHIP • Even the Levites were to have their own home
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 13: Security. Identity and security is created through Land ownership. God’s people gained an identity through the land they owned either individually or collectively. Both methods of land ownership are in scripture. Both are without possessiveness. Abraham and Lot in Genesis; The rich N.T. Christians in Acts 2 who sold their excess property and redistributed the wealth to those in need. They gave to immediate needs and invested in income generation for the poor members of the church. The N.T. community expanded from 3,500 in Jerusalem in 33AD to 25% of Mediterranean population by 300AD. “Jubilee” restored land lost to poor families and forgave debt.
Economic principles of the Kingdom of God - Genesis 1 • Principle 14 : Measurement Money is not evil. It measures the value of labour. Labour is intended to be a form of worship by creative production. God commands His subjects to be fruitful and measures and rewards fruitfulness. It is the “love of money” that is the root of all evil. Money becomes an idol when we love money rather than the God who gave the power to create wealth. Greed possesses the soul of those who have a wrong attitude to money. The rich suffer a hard heart as a result of their love of money. Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
This theme of the Jubilee becomes central to the New Testament In the central passage around which Luke builds his gospel and the Acts, Luke 4:18, Jesus declares his mission He inaugurates the Jubilee eternally. Jesus’ Message of the Jubilee
Middle Class 10% A RANGE OF JUSTICE & EQUALITY Labouring Poor 45% Destitute Poor 40% Jubilee Economics in the Acts Community (Acts 2:42-44) A JUST GOSPEL TRANSFORMING SOCIETY 2nd PRINCIPLE: Cooperative economics 3rd PRINCIPLE: Corporate 5th PRINCIPLE: Celebration 10th PRINCIPLE: Voluntary giving 10th PRINCIPLE: The just gospel 12th PRINCIPLE: Giving to meet needs Rich 5%