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What Bearing, If Any, Does the Christian Doctrine of Providence Have Upon the Operation of the Market Economy?

Controversy

Abstract

Christian economists Robin Klay and John Lunn have come up with an original and provocative argument that divine providence guides and directs the spontaneous orders of modern market economies. Jewish and Christian scriptures seem to offer “little guidance about how such markets should be regarded” (542); therefore, Klay and Lunn decided to turn their attention toward the traditional doctrine of providence and have proposed that the contemporary market economy may be understood as one way through which God provides for the world. In response to their article, two questions arise. First, have the authors fully understood the traditional Christian doctrine of divine providence? Second, have their attempts to apply this doctrine to modern economic theory and practice been successful? In addressing both of these questions, I contend that although Klay and Lunn provide a fresh look at a traditional doctrine, their arguments, from a theological perspective, are seriously flawed.

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