Mark W. Hendrickson

Jesus himself didn’t condemn economic inequality. Yes, he repeatedly warned about the snares of material wealth; he exploded the comfortable conventionality of the Pharisaical tendency to regard prosperity as a badge of honor and superiority; he commanded compassion toward the poor and suffering. But he also told his disciples, “ye have the poor always with you” (Matthew 26:11), and in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:24-30) he condemned the failure to productively use one’s God-given talents—whether many or few, exceptional or ordinary—by having a lord take money from the one who had the least and give it to him who had the most, thereby increasing economic inequality.

The Lord’s mission was to redeem us from sin, not to redistribute our property or impose an economic equality on us. In fact, the Almighty explicitly declined to undermine property rights or preach economic equality when he told the man who wanted Jesus to tell his brother to share an inheritance with him, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” (Luke 12:14).

All that having been said, there is much injustice in our world, much needed reform that all Christians can unite in accomplishing. Around the world, many people are poor and will never realize their God-given potential due to lack of freedom and opportunity. Let us never be on the side of those who reject man’s God-given rights and biblical justice, and who oppress and impoverish in the name of a spurious economic equality.

In relatively free societies such as our own, we must continue to combat the economic injustices of theft, fraud, deceit, trickery, etc. We should strive to undo the injustices perpetrated by unethical public policies, such as the subtle theft of citizens’ purchasing power via central bank inflation; the corrupt government practice of doling out earmarks, subsidies, and myriad special favors, often to big businesses and wealthy individuals; destructive tax policies that decapitalize society, thereby retarding growth in labor productivity, wage increases, and higher standards of living; runaway government spending that imposes an incalculable and unconscionable debt burden on the next generations, etc. We should be charitable.

By all means, let us tackle these persistent injustices. But let us be careful to abide by the biblical standard of impartiality and equal treatment by law, lest we create additional injustices.

Mark W. Hendrickson

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and fellow for economic and social policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.