A Thought on Wealth and Wisdom
Religion & Liberty Online

A Thought on Wealth and Wisdom

My friend John Teevan of Grace College sends out a newsletter every month called “Economic Prospect.” This month’s edition included this valuable insight:

Here is a short passage from Ezekiel 28:4-5 that speaks to us about overconfidence in producing wealth:

By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.

There is a pattern I had not seen before: wisdom plus understanding plus skill yield wealth. Sounds good and sounds like God’s approval of human ingenuity and skill. There is a problem but it is not wealth creation; it’s that “your heart has grown proud.” Can we be wealthy without being proud? Sure, and the clue comes from the word ‘amass’ which is the opposite of being generous in giving. A Christmas thought.

John will be teaching a course on “Evangelicals and Social Justice” at Acton University next year. Check it out, and send John a message if you’d like to be added to his “Economic Prospect” list.

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.