Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Christian Perspective on the Financial Crisis

Last week, we had some high-flying financial chap who is also a committed Christian come in and give us a talk about a Christian perspective on the financial crisis. You can read a rough summary of what he said here.

I want to give a different perspective...

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted:
" 'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!'
She has become a dwelling for demons
and a haunt for every evil spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.
For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."

Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
" 'Come out of her, my people,'
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes."

...

"The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore — cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

...

In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!'

...

"Rejoice over her, you heavens!
Rejoice, you people of God!
Rejoice, apostles and prophets!
For God has judged her
with the judgment she imposed on you."

from Revelation 18, TNIV

Without going too deeply into how to interpret Revelation, an eschatological Christian perspective on the financial crisis might look something like this:

  • Financial markets and so on will be destroyed, therefore we should not find security in them.
  • At the end (or maybe even in the present), it will be clear that what exists as a world trading system is hostile to the Church.
  • It will be destroyed by God.
  • The Church's response should be to rejoice at the destruction of Babylon because of the hostility Babylon has shown to the Church.

This all somewhat raises the question of why it's so different now. I suspect it's partly that the Church is hugely compromised with society and with the world's view of money...

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