Economics directly affects local churches, Mitchell says

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Christians must care about economics, especially in today’s politically charged, financial atmosphere, said Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ethics professor Craig Mitchell. Mitchell spoke about the responsibility of Christians in the realm of economics in a lecture sponsored by the seminary’s Land Center for Cultural Engagement, Oct. 28.

Mitchell lamented that too many pastors are sheltered in a ministry bubble, disconnected from the workforce. They fail to recognize the implications that the economy has on their church and its members. According to Mitchell, economic failure directly affects the local church both positively and negatively.
 
“Difficult times means more opportunities for ministry, but difficult times also means less money for churches and denominations,” Mitchell said. “Difficult times also means less money for missions; difficult times also means less money for seminaries.
 
“So, folks, we need to pray that the Lord leads our government in the right direction and moves our economy in the right direction, but we need to be faithful to do what he’s called us to do in the meantime.”
Mitchell said the church has allowed the government to do its job for too long, especially in the arena of social ministry.
 
“I really think one of the reasons the church is going through some difficult times is that we have forgotten about the poor,” Mitchell said. “We have become so concerned about trying to reach out to the wealthy, but we’ve forgotten the ‘least of these.’ ”
 
The Bible speaks directly to issues of economics and business, most obviously in the wisdom literature, Mitchell said. He believes free market capitalism, as opposed to socialism, is consistent with a Christian worldview.
 
Mitchell, who holds a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics as well as master’s degrees in theology, engineering and management information systems, is presently working on a fourth master’s degree, this time in the field of economics. 

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