When we developed our high school curriculum on economics, we consulted a number of Christian economists. These were all men who saw the importance of viewing economics from a Biblical worldview. Not surprisingly, because they started with the Bible, they recognize the importance of the free market and the dangers of socialism.
These five books provide varying degrees of insight into the world of economics from a Christian perspective. If you had to read just one introductory volume, I would recommend Cal Beisner’s text.
Prosperity and Poverty: The Compassionate Use of Resources in a World of Scarcity
Author: E. Calvin Beisner
An excellent summary and introduction to the issues of economics. Very readable. (Available on Amazon – also check for used copies).
“What is the fundamental reason we must oppose all poverty relief programs that create or perpetuate dependence, that reward sloth, that level those who work hard and smartly with those who work hardly or not at all? They must be opposed not only because they are economically counterproductive (which they are), but because they strike at the heart of what it is to be human. They rob their “beneficiaries” of dignity as bearers of the imago Dei, thrusting them down to the level of brute beasts. Rather than enabling recipients of “aid” to exercise a godly dominion, they dominate the recipients with a form of oppression every bit as deadly to the soul as any political tyranny.”Cal Beisner
Gary North is a Christian economist who has written over a dozen books on economics. I’ve included just two of them here. He provides all his books for free as digital downloads; if you would like a print copy, however, they can be difficult to find. Here is a link to all his Christian Economics books online.
Christian Economics in One Lesson (Free Download)
Author: Gary North
Dr. North based this book on Henry Hazlitt’s popular level economics introduction, Economics in One Lesson. Dr. North explains: “I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that this book, more than any other, has served as the single most important book in the revival of free-market economic thinking after World War II.” Download it here.
Christian Economics: Student Edition (Free Download)
Author: Gary North
This is the first in a four series set of books that explain economics from a Christian perspective. Thankfully, this is the introductory volume that outlines Dr. North’s unique approach to understanding economics from the Bible. He has likely spent more time than anyone else in history considering economics from this perspective, primarily because he also is the author of a 31 volume commentary set on the Bible. Download Christian Economics: Student Edition here. (And here is the Teacher’s Edition, which goes deeper.). Other versions can be found on his website.
“You would be wise to understand this inescapable fact: you do not get something for nothing. This is a fundamental law of economics.”Gary North
Basic Economics, 4th Ed.
Authors: Paul Cleveland and Clarence Carson
This is the book we recommend to accompany our series Economics for Everybody. Paul Cleveland is an economist who teaches at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Not only does his book do an excellent job explaining economics from a Christian perspective, but it also provides a brief historical overview of economic systems. Well worth the read. Buy it here.
“We do not, therefore, believe the teachings of economcs because many people in Western Civilization have believed them, although they have. We do not believe the teachings of economics because experience verifies the truth of economics, although it does. We do not even believe the teachings of economics because all humans have rational minds which allow us to understand that humans act purposefully, although we all do have minds fitted for rational thought. We believe the truths of economics because God has created us in His image with the ability to know and perceive truth, and one of these truths communicated to us in His creation and His Word is that, like God, we act with a purpose.“Shawn Ritenour
Foundations of Economics: A Christian View
Author: Shawn Ritenour
Shawn Ritenour is an economist who teaches at Grove City college. He acted as a principal advisor on our series. He wrote this book to be a textbook for colleges. It is the most technical of all the books included here, but is still very readable. A very thorough overview of economics. Buy it here.