WHY BISHOPS SHOULD SPEAK UP FOR BUSINESS

Socially Marxist political correctness now dominating the governance of the UK has anti-business tendencies, even if it does not set out to nationalise the means of production, distribution and exchange. Here are some of the Christian reasons why Church of England bishops should be speaking up more boldly and prophetically for business in the House of Lords:

• Bishops should be supporting an economic order that gives the maximum liberty to Christians to proclaim and live out the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Marxist countries disallowing private enterprise have provided testimony to the impact on Christianity when the State has a monopoly of employment. It is significant that it is government employees who are suffering most from the current politically-correct harrassment of Christians in the West.

• Bishops should support the job creation that thriving businesses make possible. The unemployment that a successful commercial sector counter-acts should be a matter of major ethical concern for Christian leaders. The impact of unemployment particularly on young people is morally devastating for a society. Men and women are made in the image of God to exercise dominion over creation (see Genesis 1v26). Businesses provide many of the jobs that allow the exercise of that dominion under God, for which humanity is created.

• As Bible teachers, bishops should be pro-work. Whilst Christians should be concerned to avoid the idolatry of wealth, private enterprise undeniably fosters a work ethic. In his excellent column in the Yorkshire Post of January 28th arguing against episcopal opposition to the Government’s welfare reforms, Bill Carmichael highlighted the biblical ethical imperative to productive work, quoting from the Apostle Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3v10 – RSV).

• Bishops should be supporting the work of Anglican Cathedrals. Businesses are generous to Cathedrals in supporting their pro-bono projects and contributing to the expense of maintaining their buildings. That has been one of the difficulties the anti-capitalist Occupy movement camping outside Cathedrals has caused Deans and Chapters. How can the willing recipients of a business’s generosity avoid the charge of hypocrisy if they support anti-capitalism?

• Bishops should affirm churches that pay their way in parish share. Net-giving parish churches to Church of England dioceses are often well-supported by people working hard in the commercial sector. In such local parish churches, high earners can be instructed “not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6v17) and be exhorted “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed” (1 Timothy 6v18-19).

Finally, it would be a refreshing, though unlikely, eventuality to hear a Church of England bishop come out in favour of lowering the current 50 per cent tax rate for high earners on the ground that such a move would encourage job-creating inward investment into the UK.

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