Calvinists in a Capitalistic Environment

We, as elect children of God, are called to live in this world, but not to be of this world. In this paper we will discuss this truth with relationship to our country’s economic system. Capitalism, as defined by Webster, is “an economic system based on private property, competition, and the production of goods for profit. Concentration of wealth with its power and influence are in the hands of a few people.” Let us see if there is any correlation between the apostatizing of the church and the growth of capitalism.
Among some of the virtues which Calvinists honor besides those of patience, longsuffering, humility, and gratitude, is the virtue of diligence in providing for the needs of the church, home, and school. We believe we must not squander our time, but use the talents which the Lord has given us to the utmost of our various abilities; and to His name’s honor and glory. Let us transport such a person to a capitalistic environment such as we have in our nation today.
Under a Capitalistic economic system, based on competition, the harder one works and the more diligently he pursues his labor, the more he is rewarded, monetarily. And by the very nature of the system, the more money he has, the more power and influence he has. Under these circumstances we live today. Each of us knows how easy it is to turn to mammon as our god. It is easy to forget Jehovah and recognize mammon as the one who puts food on the table, and a new car in the garage of a new house. This is the temptation that a Calvinist faces in a capitalistic society, and this is one of the largest stumbling blocks for us today. Our old man of flesh likes to look back and see what rewards he has received for his work.
Please do not misunderstand all this. I am not advocating a mass withdrawal of all Calvinist laborers from the work forces of this land, nor am I suggesting that we turn away from the Capitalistic economic system and turn to socialism. The purpose of this paper is to point out that this temptation to forget our God and look to ourselves and to money when we have received monetary compensation for our labors does exist. This paper is written to warn us that the devil uses any kind of means he can to draw us to his ranks; even if it means tempting us through the economic system of the nation we live in. He is ever so subtle. Forewarned is forearmed.
The topic under discussion is not whether capitalism is desirable or not, but the topic revolves around the question, “Are we able to withstand this temptation?” Let it not be said of us that greed, self-exultation, and the love of money caused us to look with indifference upon spiritual things. Let it not be said of us that we apostatized because we succumbed to the temptation of money. Let us ever remember that the Lord provides all things for us to the end that He may be glorified. Let us ever give gratitude to Him for blessing us, and graciously providing bountifully for us.

Originally Published in:
Vol. 30 No. 7 November 1970