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For your information, inspiration and intercession, please study this ICCP Discussion Document from the Reformation 500 Church Consultation in Wittenberg, Germany, October 2017, in preparation for the upcoming Global Reformation Conference by Livestream, 15-20 July 2019.

 

If you have any suggestions on how these may be improved, or to communicate the support of your church, mission, or ministry, write to the International Church Council Project.

 

PREAMBLE

 

Download the PDF Document here.

 

For the glory of the One who is light, truth and love and in a spirit of humility and a concern for doctrinal purity and unity, we adopt this statement on Biblical principles for economic justice.

Definition: Economics is the study and the implementation of principles for the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.

 

ARTICLES of AFFIRMATION and DENIAL

 

Article I

We affirm that God created man and the earth in which man lives and that man is given stewardship responsibility over the earth and its creatures by the Creator.

We deny that man is no longer responsible to God as steward of earth’s resources.

Gen. 1:28; 2:15; 3:23; Psa. 8:4-8; 24:1-2; 104:14; Heb. 2:8; Rev. 11:18

 

The Bible speaks often about the things of value in this world and of our stewardship for them under God’s mandate. The Biblical references included here are representative of principles that are pervasive through the text of Holy Writ; these given are listed in the sequence of the books of the Bible and not in any priority order.

 

Article II

We affirm that man’s creativity and resourcefulness are a reflection of God’s own image, in which man was created and that a key area in which these traits are evidenced is in economic activities.

We deny that economic activities and efforts are in opposition to either man’s or God’s nature, or to the Laws of God as revealed in the Bible.

Gen. 1:26-31; Psa. 8:4-8; 104:14-15; Prov. 16:11; 31:22; Ecc. 2:24; 3:13; 4:9; 5:18-19

 

Article III

We affirm that the Bible teaches that individuals have the right to hold private property.

We deny that the Bible teaches an economic system in which all property belongs to the community or the state.

Exo. 20:9, 15; Lev. 19:13; Pro. 13:22; Jam. 5:4

 

Article IV

We affirm that the opportunity for the individual to profit from his labours and to produce wealth through his just and lawful endeavors, is a primary motivator in the production of wealth and a key ingredient to a society’s economic health and stability.

We deny that wealth, economic prosperity, or technological advancement may be significantly achieved apart from the individual’s opportunity to gain personally from his lawful efforts.

Deut. 8:18; Pro. 13:22; 1 Tim. 5:8

 

Article V

We affirm that the Bible is the sufficient source for learning the fundamental economic principles which both please God and lead to economic prosperity and stability.

We deny that the Bible is inadequate to teach fundamental economic principles which please God and lead to prosperity and economic stability.

Psa. 111:10; Pro. 11:1; Isa. 8:20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17

 

Article VI

We affirm that the Bible contains those economic principles which are moral and just, principles which ought to be followed by all people, all societies and all states.

We deny that it is morally acceptable for any person, state, or institution to pursue economic gain in opposition to Biblical principles.

Lev. 18:2-5, 24-30; 19:35-37; 20:22-23; Deut. 4

 

Article VII

We affirm that, for the Christian, the primary incentive for the production of wealth, is to be his attitude of stewardship to God.

We deny that a mature Christian attitude is one that seeks economic gain for selfish reasons.

Deu. 8:11-20; Pro. 30:8-9; Hab. 2:13-14; Luke 12:16-21; 16:9-13; 1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:23-24

 

Article VIII

We affirm an economy will prosper to the degree in which its entrepreneurs honor the stewardship-before-God principle.

We deny that a healthy economic or social environment may long be maintained without a practice of the stewardship-before-God principle.

Exo. 23:24-26; Deu. 28:1-68; 2 Chr. 24:20; Pro. 13:11; Isa. 65:11-16

 

Article IX

We affirm that earning profits and gaining wealth in the process of serving the market with goods or services is a good and moral thing when pursued in accordance with Biblical principles.

We deny that profitability which results from serving a free market in accordance with Scriptural principles is inherently wrong or merely selfserving.

Deut. 8:18; Pro. 12:11; 13:11; Ecc. 2:24; 3:13; 4:9; 5:18-19

 

Article X

We affirm that one role of civil government is to create an infrastructure and a climate of justice and order, in which individuals are encouraged to create, develop and produce products and services helpful to mankind and to the earth’s creatures and environment.

We deny that civil government’s function is to manipulate, manage, or control economics, or the productivity of its citizens.

Exo. 20:15; Deu. 1:16-17; 16:18-20; Psa. 125:3; Pro. 29:2; Rom. 13:3-4; Eph. 4:28

 

Article XI

We affirm that economic prosperity grows out of the freedom of the individual to labour and to receive for himself and his family the rewards of his labour and that history demonstrates that this is true.

We deny that civil government has the ability to produce lasting wealth through the organized production, or by the implementation of Marxist, communistic, or socialistic principles.

We further deny that there is any example in history where civil government organized production, or where Marxist, communistic, or socialistic principles have resulted in the long term benefit of its people, or to the production of wealth.

 

Article XII

We affirm that though all men are created equal in regard to their rights and liberties, yet they are not created equal in their intellectual, creative, or physical abilities nor in motivation, determination, initiative, entrepreneurship, integrity or drive and that these inequities are a factor in an individual’s ability to produce wealth.

We deny that all people have the same intellectual or physical ability and entrepreneurship, or that all people should expect to enjoy the same level of productivity or wealth.

Lev. 19:15; Pro. 17:5; 22:2; Mark 14:7; Luke 19:12-27; Acts 10:34; Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:12ff; Gal. 3:28

 

Article XIII

We affirm that the Christian is called to the compassionate use of wealth which includes a call to sacrificial giving to generously assist the poor and needy.

We deny that a Christian worldview allows for the selfish abuse of wealth.

Exo. 22:25; Deu. 15:7-8, 11; 24:14-15; Psa. 68:10; Pro. 14:21, 31; 19:17; 22:16; 28:8; Eph. 4:28; Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:10,17-19

 

Article XIV

We affirm that God gives the individual the responsibility to make choices as to how he will use his wealth.

We deny that civil government has the duty or right to redistribute wealth, or to direct the individual in the use of the fruits of his labours, so long as the individual is not acting immorally.

Exo. 20:15; Pro. 10:15-16; 22:16; Ecc. 2:24-25; Mat. 25:14-30; 2 Thes. 3:10-15

 

Article XV

We affirm that it is the responsibility of the Church to teach the fundamental principles of biblical economics and to equip its people to discern between

We deny that the learning of, or practice of Biblical economics is optional to the Christian, or that the ministry of the Church may be deemed successful without diligent training of its people in Biblical economics.

Deu. 28:1-68; Psa. 119:142; Rom. 1:20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12

 

Article XVI

We affirm that tithing (which is 10%) is a fundamental Biblical economic principle as is generosity beyond 10%.

We deny that tithing does not apply to Christians today, or that a Christian’s economic duty is fulfilled when tithing is practiced.

Gen. 14:18-19; Lev. 27:30-32; Mal. 3:8-12; Mat. 23:23; Heb. 7:9-10

 

Article XVII

We affirm that every man who practices Biblical economics may expect God’s blessing of provision and increase upon his labours and that God is ultimately sovereign in economics and may for his own purposes withhold economic blessing.

We deny that man should labour without hope, or that there is any formula that will automatically and without fail, result in economic prosperity, or that God’s sovereignty is excluded from the realm of economics.

Job 1:21; Pro. 22:29; Ecc. 9:11; Hag. 2:15-19; Mat. 5:45; 20:11-16; 21:33-43; 1 Cor. 9:9-10; Heb. 11:32-40

 

Article XVIII

We affirm that the Bible condemns excessive taxation.

We deny that civil governments have the right to demand unchecked taxation that effectively confiscates much of the fruit of one’s labours.

1 Samuel 8:14-17; 1 Kings 12:1-24

 

Article XIX

We affirm that while the Bible commands productivity and commands hard work and diligent labour, it does not necessarily promise material wealth and physical health as the right of all God’s people to claim and demand as some in the Word of Faith movement assert.

We Deny that God promises material wealth and spiritual health as a right to all His people.

1 Timothy 6:7-10

 

Article XIX

We affirm that there is only one legitimate economic theory for all people of all cultures, which is the biblical economic theory.

We deny that there are multiple valid economic theories.

Deu. 8:18-20; Pro. 14:34, 20:10; Eze. 5:5-8; John 16:13; 17:17; Rom. 1:18-22; 2:14-16; 1 Tim. 6:3-6; Jam. 4:1-10; Rev. 20:12-15

 

Response to Land Invasions or the Unlawful Seizure of Private Property by Governments, Criminals, or Terrorist Groups

We affirm the Biblical principle of the right and responsibility of individuals to own private property and to wisely steward that property under God, to Whom all the earth belongs.

We declare the seizure of farms by legislation or other means to be unlawful. We recognize for example, that the seizure of farms in Zimbabwe has largely contributed to the economic collapse of that country and has destroyed the livelihood of thousands of farmers and millions of farm workers.

Exodus 20:15-17; Jeremiah 12:4; Romans 3:15-17; 2 Peter 2:19

 

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See also:

Ulrich Zwingli and the Reformation in Switzerland

1. The Authority of Scripture

2. Biblical Hermeneutics

3. The Essentials of a Christian World View

4. The Kingdom of God

5. The Omniscience of God and Human Freedom

6. The Pelagian Controversy

7. The Judicial and Substitutionary Nature of Salvation

8. The Trinity

9. The Eternal Fate of Unbelievers

10. The Lordship of Christ

11. The Unity of the Body of Christ

12. Church Discipline

13. Culture, Contextualization and Missions

14. Civic Duties      

 
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