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The Mandate

A Biblical View of Economics

By Editorial Staff
Published April 24, 2008

What is Meant by the “Work Ethic”?

by Charles Simpson

MORE THAN 3,000 YEARS AGO MOSES said to Israel, “It is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers” (Deuteronomy 8:18, NAS). God gives us the ability to prosper, and that prosperity indicates that He is with us. It also supports His desire to establish His kingdom here on earth.

Work and wealth are valued by God. Increase of resources is confirmation of proper management, proper understanding, and diligent effort. The Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says a great deal about work and wealth. God works (see Genesis 2:2 and Psalm 104:24); Jesus works (see John 5:17; 9:4); the Holy Spirit works (see 1 Corinthians 12:11); mankind works (see Genesis 1:28); apostles work (see 2 Thessalonians 3:8); and we are even told that we should enjoy work (see Ecclesiastes 2:24).

Work and wealth are part of God’s plan for us. By looking to the Scriptures we can regain a proper understanding and a fresh view of the work that God has called each of us to do.

The Biblical Work Ethic

The biblical work ethic is God and man laboring together to cause creation to prosper, thus returning abundance to God and man. Biblical gain comes within the framework of mutual benefit to all: God, mankind, and creation itself.

I recently heard a commercial that said, “The promise of America is opportunity, not guarantees.” Throughout its history, the United States has been a mecca for people seeking opportunity. It has been said that even those who hate it want to live here. It’s not that the country has superior resources, but that it was founded on a superior ethic – a biblical attitude toward morality, work, and wealth. Most of the early officials were managers of farms – entrepreneurs and pioneers with faith.

Whatever opportunities the United States or any other country offers, they are nothing compared to the opportunities that God offers. With Him all things are possible to those who believe. Many people, however, are not being fruitful in their labor, and I believe it is the result of a lack of vision.

Task and Vision

Julius Joske, president and founder of a chain of department stores, once said, “Vision without task is fantasy. Task without vision is drudgery. But vision with task can change the world.” People who lose their sense of purpose or vision will eventually lose their motivation to work, their resources, and their identity. How far that is from God’s purpose for man! We are created in His image to manage His creation.

Here are several biblical visions for work that will enable us to maintain our motivation and to be fruitful. One, we must see God as the fountainhead of our vocation. Apart from God, we make no sense, and our work makes no sense. We should seek God until He reveals Himself to us and gives us a higher perspective of ourselves and our work.

Two, we should see ourselves as members of the corporation that runs the whole of creation under God Himself (see Psalm 24:1 and Genesis 1:27-28). God does not want to do it all by Himself. As His servants, we are part of His management team. He created mankind to rule over the works of His hands.

Three, we should see ourselves as working with God. We can work for Him, but it’s even more wonderful to work with Him. We must see ourselves relying and depending upon the Spirit of God for strength, power, direction, wisdom, or whatever it is we need.

Four, we should see ourselves as important to, and productive in, God’s purposes. Whatever our vocation is, it is important to God, our family, our church, and society.

Five, we must believe that it is God’s will for us to enjoy the rewards of our labor. God is our master, but He is not stingy or selfish. Prosperity is not sinful, and the successful person should enjoy the fruit of his labor. If we have succeeded, by the grace of God, we should give Him the tithe (one tenth of our earnings), take care of our family, save some seed for future sowing, and enjoy some of the fruit of our labors.

Six, we should see ourselves as givers to the needy. Ephesians 4:28 says, “Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need (NAS).” This verse contains much of the biblical work ethic. Labor should result in our having something to give the needy. This is a major purpose for work and prosperity.

Seven, we should see ourselves as being prepared for an even greater opportunity. Luke 16:10-12 gives us three important principles associated with work: faithful in a little, given much; faithful in money, given spiritual riches; and faithful in another’s, given our own. In each of these principles is promotion.

The Bible communicates a message with power that changes the way people live and societies operate. Included in that message is the calling for us not only to work for God, but to work with God.

Charles Simpson is a pastor and Bible teacher based in Mobile, Alabama. He is the author of a Bible study curriculum, God and the Marketplace, which has been translated into Chinese and distributed inside China.

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

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Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!

Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification

In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.

By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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