The Global Financial Crisis – our response as Christians

Professor Ian Harper gave an outstanding address at this week’s Tasmanian Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast (now in its fourth year) about the Global Financial Crisis and our response to it. My notes, with apologies to the Professor 🙂 

The Global Financial Crisis has called forth moral responses – “greed”, “excess”, and “selfishness”.

  •  Society has shifted its moral and philosophical moorings.
  • The great economist Adam Smith (Professor of Moral Philosophy) is best known for his book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” but he also wrote “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” – the essential foundation for the “Wealth of Nations”.

The morning’s text was Luke 12:15-21, the Parable of the Rich Fool, from which Professor Harper posed the question, “Where is your security?” – a person’s life is more than their possessions.

The moral failure of the Global Financial Crisis allows us to speak of moral failure, sin.

  • We are not surprised to see “sin” in others, in ourselves. His own confession of failure at the news of the GFC, “I went to the ATM.”
  • We are all sinners.
  • As Christians we have the Gospel, life of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.
  • We have God’s grace and forgiveness, then when we fail, God’s moral remedy to go on: integrity, not moral compartmentalizing of our faith. 

He posed two questions to people without Christian faith:

  • How do you call yourself to higher ends, moral conduct?  
  • Where do you look when you fail?

Professor Harper went on to say that:

  • We need to rebuild trust and rebuild on moral foundations
  • We need to live for others as much as for ourselves
  • Regulations will not be enough
  • We need trust and faith
  • We need something beyond ourselves
  • He is calling for “Moral revival”
  • We need to live our lives with moral courage
  • Our faith in Christ empowers us and gives us grace when we fail

This response is up to me and you!

 You can find the basis of this address at “Morality and the GFC” here, which is an extract from his lecture (Transcript will be available end of October) at the 2009 Smith Lecture

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