Theological economics

1. There are two economies, of the Church and the world. This distinction and duality is the basis of all others. Consequently, there are two contemporary economies, that of the economy of God, announced by the Christian gospel, and the modern economy, for which we have to identify a corresponding ideology of ‘Modernity’.

2. Christianity insists a person is a covenantal concept. Man is not by himself and then later with God and with his fellow-man. A person is never single before he is one-half of a couple and a member of a family. He is not alone before he is a member of society. In acting well towards his fellow man, he acts properly and for himself.

3. A person may exclusively love and unite themselves to one other person. The exclusivity and uniqueness of the two persons who irrevocably give themselves to one another is the basis of all other covenants, relationships, and so the basis of society.

4. The marriage covenant is an exclusive relationship, and the household it creates is private. Marriages may not be dissolved by the will of one partner, nor may households be dissolved or absorbed by the public square, the market or the state.

5. There are therefore two other economies, the public economy of the market, and the private economy of the household.

6. In the Church people from all stations of society stand shoulder to shoulder. The Church is the embodiment of the reconciliation of all social and ethnic opposites and so the authentic voice of society.

7. The Church is the present anticipation of the future reconciliation of all mankind. It is the voice of the future society pining and mourning for the present society that is separated and lost.

8. The Church is the community in which all are bound to each, and so it is the community in which trust is generated. The Church is the place of self-giving without calculation of return, and so of risk-taking. The two fundamental economic principles of trust and risk-taking originate in the Church.

9. In the Church persons can confess their sins, receive forgiveness and the possibility of a new start. When we take the judgment of others as an anticipation of the judgment of God, and repent, that judgment is good.

10. The Church has to name the powers. The Church has to diagnose our crises by relating them to our concept of man and its various reductions. It has to identify them as both the judgment of society on itself, and of the judgment of God.

11. The Church that is confident in the covenant of God and the promise of redemption can identify crises without fear, and give warning of disaster to whichever society it is sent.

12. The state is the result of all our individual inclinations to refer our own responsibility away. The excessive extent to which we do this accumulates this power in the centre without control.

13. The Church will survive a collapse of any state. The British people, and the virtues they have received via the Church, will survive it, and may only survive if they go through crises and collapse. Any crisis is a correction. The more we attempt to postpone our rendezvous with reality, the more traumatic that eventual correction will be.

14. Western, modern economics insists that payment by money fulfils and terminates a contract and releases its parties from all obligation and that money establishes full payment and remittal. Non-modern economics insists that there is no form of accounting or payment by which the relationship of any two agents can be finally closed. No debt can be entirely paid off; every relationship remains open; nothing begun can easily be ended. Payment of money does not spare us future requests or release us from the obligation of meeting them.

15. Our debt to past generations may motivates us to reproduce, to bring about the continuation of society and so give a future to our past. The faith that holds together ‘was’ and ‘is’, may understand that ‘is’ as ‘ought’, and so turn that ‘is’ into ‘will be’. Non-societies understand that each generation is in debt to all previous ones, and consequently to future generations.

16. Christians witness to those fundamental sources of economic subsistence, which promote the household and the dignity of labour and service, and in which, through informal accounting and an economy of favours, social capital remains developed and the human economy remains resilient.

17. The gospel has enabled the economic development of the West. Though the contemporary economy has arisen from a culture shaped by Christianity, the modern economy takes its definition from an antipathy to that culture. But Christianity is not identical with that culture or that economic path. The Church has resources that describe other forms of economics, and Christians model alternative economies. Though the Christian faith points us towards principles, it does not commit us to any model.

18. In faith, hope and love, Christian life models the form of life that points towards flourishing that is lasting, and so is both future and properly present.

19. Christian theological economics is a series of questions that may be put to pagan economics by which it can be kept within approximate restraint.

20. No nation lasts forever. Only the Church itself has the promise of eternal life.