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Who should be sovereign over the Economy

Read time: 7 minutes.
Digging deeper

This is something that we know is important, but which we can't really seem to understand, and it happens 'out there' so we can't really control it.

The word does not seem to appear in the Bible so maybe God does not have too much to say. Actually, it does as the Greek 'oikonomia' (anglicised to 'economy') appears in a number of places and usually relates to household management or stewardship. It's used in the context of the Gospel 'the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you' Ep 3:2 but also in Jesus's famous parable of the 'shrewd' manager in Lk 16.

For us

Economy for us means earning or having saved enough to pay the bills so we can live. This has always been so and has always been core to the Creator's provision. Before entering the Promised Land the people affirm the commandments before Moses and he says 'if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.' Deut 28.

Living well has always been linked with living with God and never making an idol out of it, or thinking of ourselves as 'self-sufficient' in the wrong sense - which is so tempting. Jesus spoke about this in Luke 12 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

When God blesses us with 'shalom' it means physical as well as emotional and spiritual wholeness. In our spiritual life we need to follow the Lord so also with our economic life. This is true as a community as well as individually. Britain's growth in the 1700s and 1800s with large capital projects like canals and railways, and trading overseas all required sound management of large amounts of money. So attracting investors' trust in new financial institutions was paramount and many bankers (Barclays, Lloyds) were Quakers and had high standards of integrity. Taxes were low and the government just provided the legal framework. It was similar in prosperous protestant Amsterdam.

So the whole community prospered through improved ethics, despite some trading on that trust to defraud people!

Recent history

Over the last 100 years it can be argued that where communities have suffered loss it's because sound economic (stewardship) practices were abandoned through excessive risk-taking, greed or mismanagement. This is seen in different degrees in the Great Depression, the Enron scandal, the 2008 financial crisis and now 'Quantitative Easing' leading to inflation and taxes.  On top of this is the impoverishing effect of war - waged on their own people (Russia, China) and others (Germany, Japan).  At the heart of these are people who have deliberately rejected God and arrogated to themselves powers they should not have and cannot control.

It's interesting how often a rejection of God's ways leads to loss of good judgement, even intellectual ability, with consequent disastrous practical results. Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. Proverbs 22:16 but The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple Ps 19:7b

Sphere Sovereignty

A key element of God's way is breaking power down into manageable pieces - the archetype is the destruction of the Tower of Babel.  This is reflected in more effective economies being the ones where there is wider participation of people in running things. We see this in Manga Carta 'Great Charter of Freedoms' - drafted by Stephen Langdon, an Archbishop. In the US this was deliberately built into the constitution by the broadly Christian founders. This maps onto the concepts of Sphere Sovereignty derived from the Bible.

This is also seen in the amount of State control over finance. In a crisis, the centre takes more power and money to deal with it, but beyond that narrow aim, it is often reluctant to give it up again. Following the Depression, WW2 and growth in socialist ideology the State and Unions' control of industry was excessive. Nations were experiencing poor productivity, very high inflation, and unsustainable state spending with the related loss of money-value. What was slated as a redistribution of wealth ended up being a redistribution of poverty. Thatcher & Regan repatriated many resources so relinquishing control, encouraging self-sufficiency, reducing the country's debt, and seeing economic recovery.

After the Cold War we were seeing increased centralisation, in economy and politics - Globalisation.  This benefitted those who already had power. The attitude of the EU towards its members increasingly showed bad-faith and bureaucratic inefficiency. Economies stagnated. God was excluded from its constitution. Brexit was seen as apostasy to its ideals of uniformity.


Today we are again seeing massive debt (over 100% of GDP in the UK) based on an intellectually unsound Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) (also called Magical Monetary Thinking) that says governments can simply print money (against bonds) as it owns the currency.  This is not good stewardship - and we are rewarded with increased taxes (ie ceding even more control to the centre) and loss of savings value through inflation.

The Great Takeover

We are also seeing centralising of control with the World Economic Forum, through The Great Reset, with Stakeholder Capitalism wanting to rule our social norms (ie 'civic religion') as well as our money (implicitly recognising the Biblical principle that these cannot be split apart). 

The idea of stakeholder capitalism and multi-stakeholder partnerships might sound warm and fuzzy, until we dig deeper and realise that this actually means giving corporations more power over society, and democratic institutions less. Ivan Wecke '.. something fishy about the Great Reset'

The response of most nations to Covid and Climate demonstrates this desire to centralise control using a pre-determined narrative even when the facts contradict it, and those trying helpfully to point that out are silenced. Have we not seen more visibly with Covid the massive power that pharmaceutical, technology and media companies yield - and it's not been good for personal or community flourishing. 

Another area is food - a key player in this, Bill Gates, is now the largest farm-land owner in the US - what is he intending to do with this? Why is the Dutch government forcing farmers (second biggest world agriculture exporters) off their land?  In all this, the UN is quietly colluding to create global public-private arrangements to control these things - outside of any sort of democratic accountability.

Central Bank Digital currency (CBDC)

Linked to this is control over currency itself - with a push to purely digital currency that will give the central bank control over what you spend money on, possibly via a 'social credit' system as seen in China. People may not be able to give to 'unapproved charities' like Churches or buy more than a few grams of meat, or travel. We might think this will never happen here - but why shouldn't it?  It has already started with PayPal closing down contracts with Free Speech Union without explanation. Organisations in the US have suffered similar problems. 

The tracking of sales has also started in the US (and possibly elsewhere), with legal purchases of guns & ammunition being singled out. You have to ask why credit-card companies are doing this - what do they gain? What are they doing with the data?  It feels like they are picking on a topic that is ambivalent in the US hoping it will gain approval - before extending it to other areas.


This links with 'Environmental, Social, Governance' (ESG) activities where companies are mixing ideological motivations with financial in 'Stakeholder Capitalism' (or social-engineering) as mentioned above.  This may be acceptable when it is clear and transparent, as people can make up their minds who to do business with, but many 'big tech' firms are monopolies or act in concert. However, the policies often seem to be deliberately obscured, maybe to further demoralise those being 'cancelled' or to make people fearful and thus extend their influence. Discrimination is illegal but it needs determined political will to make any change.


Whatever our historic institutions, if civic leaders lose integrity we lose any good the institution could do. The actions of Government, Treasury, Civil-service, Police, Health, Universities and some Church institutions have not been encouraging.

'a democracy depends on widely internalized acceptance of the legitimacy of rules, norms, and institutions. Blind and irrevocable trust in any particular individual or organization is never warranted. But when citizens lose trust in elected leaders, health authorities, the courts, the police, universities, and the integrity of elections, then every decision becomes contested; every election becomes a life-and-death struggle to save the country from the other side’ Jonathan Haidt

We could say, as Churchill did of democracy, that  'nationally regulated free-markets are the worst form of Economy except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…'. 


So the Bible has wonderfully more creative and fruitful responses to all this - we have:  For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard... Mt 20:1-34  and the Parable of the Talents Mt 25:14-30 where Jesus talks about banking for interest and all sorts of subversive things are going on that offend our acquisitiveness whether we have more leftist or rightist views.  Jesus affirms the goodness of work, entrepreneurship, profit and fair payment, but also generosity over small-mindedness,  because that is what God is like. 

He is also not fazed by the literal empire-building: Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth-leaders push for position, Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks, The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers: “Let’s get free of God! Cast loose from Messiah!” Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing. At first he’s amused at their presumption; Then he gets good and angry. Furiously, he shuts them up: “Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet Is spread for him on the holy summit.” Ps 2:4 MSG

We have barely touched on the issues here, but hopefully enough to see that the more we try to embody all the God-honouring things the more we will thrive, and our communities will also. Larry Taunton talks of The Grace Effect where the actions of Christians help the whole community to flourish. This is because they are reflecting the way the Creator intended the world to work.

Part of this is being aware of issues, working out what are 'conspiracy theories' (especially those created by the controllers), and taking measures to support the diffusion of power so that all may prosper - including the would-be controllers!