“Theology That Works,” ’Theology that Works’ is a 60-page manifesto on discipleship and economic work written by Greg Forster and published by the Oikonomia Network (http://oikonomianetwork.org/). It includes a flowchart diagram that shows the overall interconnectedness of stewardship and economics. The flowchart and ebook are attached.
Greg Forster explains a holistic theology of oikonomia as follows:
’In most churches today, stewardship only means giving and volunteering at church. But in both scripture and historic Christian theology, we find a concept of stewardship that encompasses our whole lives. Stewardship is primarily about who we are, not what we do, and how we cultivate the world in all our activities. Whatever you do, Paul says in Colossians 3:23-24, work heartily, because whatever you do, you are serving the Lord Christ! Our individual discipleship, our church communities, our participation in homes and workplaces, and our witness to society at large must recover a holistic theology of stewardship and calling. We must reintegrate our model of discipleship with the call to cultivate the world.
It is no coincidence that “stewardship” comes from the same Greek word (oikonomia) as “economics,” which refers to the management of things in the world. Good stewardship is good management of things in the world.
Unfortunately, churches usually limit their concept of how we serve God (stewardship) to formally religious activities. This radically separates it from our management of the creation order (economics). A holistic theology of oikonomiawould reintegrate a God-centered commitment to whole-life discipleship with a God-centered commitment to cultivate the world. Not only would this revitalize our discipleship, it would deepen our theological perspective on the crucial role of work in the Christian life, and on the enormous sphere of activities defined by work (employment, ownership, commerce, finance, entrepreneurship, etc.). It would also help us to incorporate the principles of wise creation management into our church programs, which often lack good stewardship in their finances and other economic aspects.’
This book is a must read for pastors and church leaders. As the author indicates: ’This document is an invitation to dialogue. Although it is intended to reflect the input and feedback generously offered by many people, only the named author is responsible for its contents. Its role is to start conversations. And far from standing as a “once for all” statement, we hope it will continue to grow and change as more people interact with it.’
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