RJ Moeller is getting started on a series on why the Bible supports free-market capitalism. It doesn’t look promising, but I’m resisting the temptation to jump the gun and respond before he’s made his case. I will be definitely be answering this in the future, so if you’re interested you might want to follow along here.

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About The Author

David Sessions

David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol, and is currently a doctoral student in modern European history at Boston College. His writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Jacobin, Slate and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter here.

0 Responses to Free-Market Christianity

  1. Keith Ross says:

    The fact that he “want[s] to focus like a laser beam on the broader, more general implications of this text” gives me absolutely no hope that it will at least be a well thought out and coherently explained defense. Le sigh…

    • Dusty says:

      I read RJ’s stuff all the time and he was making a layered joke/reference there. Michael Medved, someone I know RJ to be a big fan of, always uses the “focus like a laser beam” line. And RJ’s quirky sense of humor explains his seemingly contradicting “focus” and “general implications” statements.

      Let’s engage in a discourse here that focuses on the points made, not the superficial stuff like tone and critical nit-picking of his grammar/syntax/etc.

  2. Eric Teetsel says:

    Don’t be so hopeless Keith.

  3. Joseph Sunde says:

    I’ll be interested in reading your response.

  4. David says:

    “I want to champion a system of economy and way of life that facilitates and encourages creativity, resourcefulness and hard work.”

    Sounds like he thinks anyone who doesn’t champion the same economic system he does actually opposes creativity, resourcefulness, and hard work.

    • Mike says:

      Those were my thoughts exactly. He doesn’t make the case that those things require capitalism. Disturbingly, he seems to subtly suggest that those who might have a different view of economic systems are opposed to working.

    • Peter says:

      It sounds to me like he simply thinks a person who adheres to Judeo-Christian principles will fit most naturally into ‘a’ system, free market enterprise, that values similar principles.

      Furthermore, he seems to say that other economic systems, not necessarily the people who believe in them, oppose creativity, resourcefulness, and hard work. He is examining his own religious values and measuring them against his economic values – what’s disturbing or oppositional about that?

      • Does anyone else find it an odd argument at the outset? Picturing any of the authors who contributed to the Bible contextually arguing for a free-market economy is absurd. I don’t think Moses had capitalism on his mind when he came down from Sinai nor do I think Jesus covered that in the Sermon on the Mount. I must of missed the early church vision of capitalism in Acts as well because it seems like the economic system in the Kingdom of God, or at least the early church, heavily favors a controversial economic system having to do with sharing your stuff. This is a classic case of eisegesis. Putting ideas into the Bible instead of pulling ideas out of the Bible.

        Matt Baker, Stay Classy

        • Frank the Tank says:

          Matt, I can understand why you would be wary of RJ’s approach, but I also think at some point it is helpful to have some clarification and definition on these matters from a biblical perspective. We don’t know RJ’s heart any more than he knows your heart.

          • I agree but it is getting unquestionably common to argue “the Bible says” __________ insert what you want the Bible to say there. I think Wayne Grudem’s Politics According to the Bible is a good place to start. It’s not the best work out there but his approach is contextually sensitive in a contextually insensitive time. Which, should be appreciated. I don’t claim to know RJ’s heart but what is spoken (or written) is reflective of what is in the heart. But I agree, making preliminary calls on where a person’s heart is at is recipe for being judgmental.

          • Dusty says:


            But what if what the Bible has to say aligns with RJ’s conclusions? All I’m saying is that I consider myself a prudent student of Scripture and, for example, vehemently pro-life. There aren’t specific verses you can point to that say “In 2011, I’m gonna need all of you who follow Me to be pro-life because liberal Democrats will fight tooth-and-nail to see to it that abortions are legal and in some cases paid for with tax dollars.” But I believe that a comprehensive reading and understanding of the Bible leaves one unmistkably against abortion (or at the very least against the 99% of them that do not involved rape, incest, or the life of the mother).

            My point here is just that we are going to hear people saying “the Bible says….” because that is the most important authoritative source for an evangelical Christian like RJ (and myself). Sometimes people will be wrong, sometimes they will be right. I TOTALLY get what you are saying, though, and we absolutely need to be on our guard from simply accepting what others say anytime someone throws a “well, the Bible says…” in front of it.

            You sound like a reasonable bloke. I know RJ to be as well. I hope some good and meaningful dialogue comes out of this. Remember that your skepticism about free enterprise might be a blind-spot, just as much as you apparently think RJ’s support for it is in his purview.

  5. What’s he going to do with texts in Deut 15 and Leviticus 25 that focus on the year of Jubilee and the more than 2000 verses that speak about poverty and our responsibility in caring for those impoverished and oppressed?

    • Frank the Tank says:

      He says this will be a multi-part series. Maybe he’ll get to that. I, for one, am interested in having a Christian free market conservative explain himself. I don’t know a ton about economics in general,and I can always stand to be challenged in my convictions. He doesn’t sound like a nut a bad guy. I look forward to hearing what he has to say and what people here at Patrol think. This is what freedom is all about.

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