College of Theology professor co-authors wealth vs. virtue editorial
By Mark Heller
GCU News Bureau
It’s been thousands of years since the Bible was written, but in today’s global, bottom-line business world, the reconciliation between wealth and righteousness showcased throughout the Bible remains relevant.
This concept is the crux of an editorial published Friday in the Washington Times co-authored by Grand Canyon University College of Theology professor Dr. Joshua Greever and his longtime friend, Dr. David Kotter, dean of the School of Theology at Colorado Christian University.
Friday’s editorial is a condensed version of a more thorough exploration of wealth and virtue within the Bible these two colleagues wrote for the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics.
Greever, a second-year professor in the College of Theology, and Kotter explore the Bible’s treatment of those who achieve wealth (money, land, animals, crops, etc.), and how doing so impacted others.
Greever and Kotter found the Bible was “remarkably consistent” in its treatment that those who achieve wealth through “positive-sum games” (conducting business that is mutually beneficial to both parties) were commended. Those who achieved wealth by “zero-sum games” (one person’s wealth or advantage is only achieved by reducing or negatively impacting another person) were condemned.
“If your hearts are made new and transformed through the grace of God, you wouldn’t play a ‘zero-sum game,’” Greever said. “It’s not surprising to see that correlation.”
Still, accumulating wealth through “positive sum-games” is a necessary, but not always sufficient approach for divine commendation.
To that end, Greever emphasized that even examples of “positive-sum games” in the Bible didn’t necessarily lead to Biblical praise, depending on the motives and intentions of one’s heart. But zero-sum games consistently lead to condemnation. So there is a strong correlation between the means by which an individual acquires wealth, and that person’s praise or condemnation by God.
“When you get a paycheck, ‘How should I feel about this money?’ ‘How did I go about earning or receiving this reward?’” Greever said.
“It seems clear to me at least that the principles of economics going back to Biblical times haven’t changed, only the world around us.”
Contact Mark Heller at (602) 639-7516 or firstname.lastname@example.org