Discerning Mission

Luther on capitalism and mission

Paul Chung recently presented a paper to the summer missionary conference Evangelizing and Witnessing: The Essentials of Mission Today. You can read the whole paper online, but here's an evocative excerpt to get your started:

Mission for the grace of justification integrates our prophetic diakonia in the realm of economic justice which emphasizes an emancipatory horizon of integrative missional theology. This integrative perspective of justification and justice establishes the justification and compassion of God’s grace socially, politically, ecologically, and culturally. Sharply critiquing the devouring system and the process of capital concentration and accumulation, Luther denounced the Christian character of early capitalism in reference to colonialism in America. The concept of greed assumes a critical meaning in Luther’s theological thought, when the greed is in contradiction to faith in God. Driven by a biblical, prophetic realism, Luther demands the accountability of faithful believers in the church for the worldly and economic realm. Confession to God and resistance against mammon is grounded in the confessional notion of status confessionis as classically stated in Formula of Concord. (19)

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