(Summary of The Kingdom Summit 2014 Session by Brett Johnson)
SPIRITUALIZATION OF CAPITAL
Did you know there a number of eras of capital? Let’s run through them quickly.
- ERA OF MAN
- Installation –This was the time when Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. God put all the raw material in the garden and asked the first couple to work it. This was the period of installation of capital.
- Preservation – Noah preserved the capital by saving the animals and plants in the ark before the flood.
- Multiplication – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their sons multiplied the capital greatly.
- ERA OF NATIONS
- Incubation - Joseph incubated the nation of Israel by gathering them together in Egypt.
- Purification - Moses purified the nation from the Egyptian ways and customs over a period of about 40 years in the wilderness.
- Implementation – Joshua implemented God’s call for Israel to be a nation by taking them to the Promised Land.
- ERA OF KINGDOM
- King David dedicated billions of dollars towards building of the temple.
- King Solomon reigned over a period of unparalleled glory. In fact, during his reign silver was such a common commodity that it was like the dirt on the ground.
- Due to their disobedience, Israel walked away from their wealth and kingdom status into a life of exile.
- ERA OF REDEMPTION AND RECONCILIATION
Redemption of capital
Jesus redeemed capital when he came to the earth. He had seed money for His work on earth. At His birth, the Maggi gifted Him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Reconciliation of capital
In the early church, there was an integration of work and faith. History shows that the early church Christians were actively involved in banking and finance.
- ERA OF ABDICATION After the meeting of the Council of Nicea in A.D 324, there was an era of abdication. Financial service providers weren’t allowed to charge any interest. Anybody who charged an interest did so at the cost of not receiving a Christian burial! For the next 1000 years, Christians walked away from capital markets. During that period, Islam arose.
- ERA OF REFORMATION
Major church fathers like Martin Luther King started speaking about the issue of banking, finances, interest etc. They brought in an era of reformation in all spheres of Christian life including the financial sector. It was during this time that people like William Carey started the first finance bank in India.
- MODERN ERA
Today, we live in the era of spiritualization of capital. Once again capital is now linked to people’s spiritual and ideological causes. As a follower of Jesus, we have a choice. We can either abdicate again saying that money is bad or else we can get back in the game.
Having said that, let us look at the three top threats to capital.
1.DEIFICATION OF CAPITAL
A major challenge to the wealth and capital is when people make gods out of it. It arises as a result of an insatiable greed for more wealth. In fact, the word ‘mammon’ means greed deified or god made out of greed
2. ISLAMIZATION OF CAPITAL
This is a new philosophy which has come up recently to fund the agenda and plans of Muslims.
3. RADICALIZATION OF CAPITAL
This happens when people fund projects like killing unborn babies to control the population or an environment related cause.
We have to figure out a way to fix capital. Here are some measures to assist us in this endeavor.
- FAITH-BASED FINANCE
God speaks about finance not just in terms of blessing us, but also in terms of enabling us to be a blessing to others. God’s Word says, ‘I will make a covenant with you. I will bless you and you will be a blessing to all nations’.
A client of mine once argued with me that blessing the nations can be done only by God. I showed Him that God’s Word said otherwise. Convinced, he agreed to alter his business plans to reflect this reality.
- KINGDOM CAPITALISTS
Sometimes, we have a negative attitude towards a wealthy person. Our immediate response is to cast an aspersion that they might be crooks. God expects us to instead become kingdom capitalists.
- DEAL WITH CAPITAL WITH TRUTH, HUMILITY AND JUSTICE
The third charter we have is to change the way we handle the basic processes pertaining to financing and capital. The way we operate needs to reflect biblical truth, for example, not standard practices. Take the practices of locking people into debt, taking assets as surety beyond what is reasonable, or blocking the transfers of funds so that we can gain interest while customers wait: all these have to change at a practical level.
- DEVELOP FAITH-BASED PRODUCTS
God has not finished inventing products. He can enable us to develop economic products that free people from debt and bondage and give them a platform to create wealth.
As Christians we have to be responsible about the way we deal with capital. It is not about just giving a couple of bucks here and there, but about getting involved in billion dollar projects that positively impact society and address the needs that God desperately cares about.
(The Eras of Capital are taken from the book by Brett Johnson titled “Repurposing Capital: A return to faith-based Financing” and are used with permission)