The Clear Implications
To summarize and conclude this book, economics is clearly not a spiritually neutral activity. It affects and is affected by the spiritual realm and is one of the main teaching areas in the New Testament. God is very concerned with wealth being obtained by just and wise means that bring dignity and nobility to people. He is utterly opposed to wealth being obtained by unjust, and fraudulent means or by oppression because these means reduce and demean people and are fundamentally unrighteous. God is implacably opposed to idolatry and superstition, which do not generate luck or blessing as their adherents believe but actually bring a curse and poverty. Satan, on the other hand, has come to “steal, kill and destroy” which has obvious economic consequences while Jesus has come that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). By stealing, killing and destroying Satan aims to impugn the goodness of God and cause His creatures to turn from Him.
The Kingdom is a place of abiding and true prosperity, which is first of all spiritual then physical. First prosperity is inward and in Christ, then only later, is it outward in peace and prosperity. In the Kingdom, loving God, not money, is the bottom line and seeking first the Kingdom and God’s righteousness is to be the focus of life. The Kingdom is a place of just wealth creation where God gives His people the power to make wealth by righteous means that they may provide for their families, pay taxes, bless others, help the poor and assist those who minister the gospel. This wealth creation takes place by diligently applying specific and focused wisdom and knowledge towards a productive economic goal in the context of a righteous relationship with God and respectful and just relationships with men and women. As a community the Kingdom involves the mutual meeting of economic means and is international in scope with for instance, churches in Corinth and Macedonia helping those in Jerusalem who were suffering from a famine. The Kingdom is not a place of economic injustice and oppression, unfair wages, grasping economic activity or speculative fast money. Rather it is a place where people are valued for who they are, not how much they can earn, and where there is sense of the sacredness and beauty of life. In the Kingdom money is a mere servant being deployed for the glory of God and the blessing of His people.
The market is supposed to be a place of fair trade that operates by the laws of God and men. When it does so God is pleased and just economic activity takes place. Instead it has become corrupt. Powers and principalities governed by the “Prince of this World” – Satan, have taken control of market forces and formed it into a system that is independent of, and largely hostile to, God. As the market has grown in power so its injustices have grown in enormity especially in the areas of currency trading and speculative activity as well as the areas of greatest darkness – such as the arms trade, drug trade, slave trade, sex trade and wildlife trade. This lawless and spiritually controlled market is seeking to throw off all restraint by God and governments in the name of free trade and develop an idolatrous and unjust world market ruled by the violent and ruthless which the Bible calls Babylon.
The terrorists are evil and cruel people that are a direct creation of the work of an unjust global market system, which has provoked and radicalized them. Enraged at the injustices they see in their own countries they have embraced a response to poverty that searches for someone to blame and have chosen violence and retaliation as the cure for injustice and poverty. With their minds imbued with a belief in fate, original design and the will of Allah they see their poverty as being a result of having not served Islamic law with sufficient zeal and faithfulness. They have become omitted to the destruction of Western institutions that are opposed to Islam and which defile its holy lands. In taking this course they have set up a cycle of religious reasoning that will only lead to further destruction and poverty. However God has used them to bring us a warning that things are seriously wrong with world trade and to delay the process of unjust globalization.
Muslims will always disagree with Christians but peacemaking is possible even when cultural and religious differences are irreconcilable. Muslims and Christians do not have to kill each other. When justice is established in the market then peace will be established between nations. Peace without justice is unstable at best and impossible at worst. The poor and the radicalized can largely be won over through economic justice and the hope of a reasonable prosperity.
The Church is the body of Christ who is the King of Kings. Jesus wishes to rule the world with equity and justice. Though this will have to wait until the Millennium for its complete fulfillment we are still called to do His will on earth as it is done in Heaven. To do this we need to adopt the virtues of leadership such as noble-mindedness and wisdom and justice and to pursue Spirit-filled personal mastery and a solution-focused approach to social problems. In doing so Christians need to learn to abandon ineffective and untargeted approaches to social change and embrace wisdom and understanding. The Church is not in a war over religious practices as Christ has made them irrelevant to knowing God. The Church should call all people to faith in Christ not to belonging to this system or that.
The task of attaining economic justice is highly centralized and revolves around maybe 1000 or so key people. While millions are affected a relatively small handful of people control the levers of the world economy. These people mainly live in North America and Europe and are in easy reach of the church and many probably go to church. For the first time this century many of the world’s leaders are openly Christian – including President George W. Bush and Tony Blair. They will listen to Scripture. Thus God has set His Church a definable and achievable task.
Satan, the prince of trade, wishes to set up His Babylon. He will oppose the Church at every turn. The Church will not win the battle for economic justice and godly prosperity easily.
Yet in recent years God has ensured the Church has adequate information on spiritual warfare. We are no longer unarmed, unaware and gullible. We have the facts, the power, and the contacts to start to make a difference. If we win the battle for economic justice then fundamentalist Islam will collapse, the borders of previously closed Muslim nations will be opened, and millions even billions will be freed to hear the gospel.