Shane Clifton
in Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics, edited by Paul Oslington (Oxford: Oxford University press): 263 – 281.
Publication year: 2014

This chapter is a tentative attempt to outline a Pentecostal approach to engaging with economics. It is tentative not only because there has not been, to date, substantive Pentecostal thinking about economics but also because it is impossible to make categorical statements about a movement that is rapidly growing and transforming and that is radically diverse and notoriously fissiparous. There is, however, a prevailing spirituality, a set of values and attitudes that are common among Pentecostals, notwithstanding their diversity, that are capable of framing the tenor of a dialogue with economists. To draw out these values, this paper provides a narrative overview of the movement, which can be understood as a free-market religion that has developed alongside the rise of globalising capitalist society. As a result, Pentecostal engagement with economics can be contrasted with the tendency among mainline churches and theologians to reject capitalism and free trade. Instead, it argues that the Pentecostal embrace of the emerging systems of global trade are not mere capitulations to oppressive consumerism but, rather, participate in the redemptive transformation of the market.

Leave a Reply