"Theologians virtually ignore the economic commentary in the Bible. In the few cases where it gets any attention, economic commentary in the Gospels and other New Testament writings tend to lapse into simplistic class warfare nostrums.”
“Academic historians of 1st Century Palestine/Judea have been pushing an account of a poor peasant Jesus leading a poor peasant's revolt based on the idea of mass displaced workers in Lower Galilee. The problem is the actual archeological findings paint a picture of an industrious and entrepreneurial economy during Jesus's time there. Reading the Gospels in light of archeology and history, which are now available to us, gives us a very different picture than the one you’ve been told regarding what Jesus taught about work and money."
This is the perspective of Jerry Bowyer, US economist and author, who was featured in an ELO Webinar on January 20th on the topic of “Jesus on Economics and Entrepreneurship.” Jerry is the author of an excellent, recently-released book, "The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics". Jerry is also an Adjunct Instructor in the “Entrepreneurial Leaders Programme” offered each August by ELO in collaboration with Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford.
Jerry addressed twelve key questions:
- Doesn’t Jesus condemn the wealthy / economically successful?
- The maker versus the takers – why that distinction?
- What was Jesus’ economic context (i.e. overall economy, industries in specific regions, etc.)?
- How would you describe Jesus’ occupation?
- The “extractive class” versus the “entrepreneurial class” – what does this mean?
- Not just having wealth, but how the wealth was obtained—why is this a critical distinction?
- “Sermon on the plain” versus “sermon on the mount” – how are these sermons different and why?
- Lazarus and the rich man – what’s the meaning of this parable?
- “woe unto you who are rich” – what does this mean?
- “The rich young ruler” – why does Jesus add the command, “do not defraud”?
- The moneychangers in the temple – Jesus singles out the dove merchants. Why?
- “the poor you will always have with you” – what does this mean?
The webinar attracted viewers from the global ELO Network. The webinar received a very high rating and the feedback was very positive:
"A clear presentation of the marketplace environments Jesus taught in". Jim Penberthy, Founder, Penberthy Consulting, London UK
“The webinar had a great format, covered lots of detail and explored many important facets of the book. Well done Rick and Jerry!” James Tully, Phantom Screens, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
“Jerry's insights regarding Makers and Takers were eye-opening and challenging. Thank you!” Mitch Neubert, Professor, Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA
“A webinar worth listening to more than once.” Matt Ward, Pastor, Charleston Church, Charleston, ME, USA
“The Webinar provided an invaluable opportunity to enjoy ELO’s professionally facilitated seminar space of Christ-centred Biblical thinking and a profound exchange of ideas. The format of interview and questions with renowned expert, Jerry Bowyer, enabled the sharing of rich insights and reflection on marketplace theology and practical application. Very much appreciated, thank you.” Robert Mulligan, MA (Regent) MBA RAIA Registered Architect, Dunedin, New Zealand
Jerry shared uncommon insights from the life of Jesus and the economic context of His teachings. Jerry expressed at various points that "details matter" when it comes to understanding what Jesus had to say about economics. Jerry covered various topics from his book throughout the conversation with ELO Chairman, Rick Goossen.
ELO gave away 5 copies of "The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics" to those who attended the webinar.