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Evangelicals and Business in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Richard Turnbull


What was distinctive about the evangelical approach to business in nineteenth-century Britain? For the evangelical business provided both opportunity and temptation. In addition, the evangelical approach was shaped by the wider context of the Christian adoption of political economy. The evangelical, combining natural theology and economics, understood the market as a place of divine blessing and yet was acutely aware of the temptation to sin—indeed, the perils of particular sins—in a fallen world. The market was viewed as a place of discipleship, the setting for the formation and deployment of moral virtue and moral character. Debt and bankruptcy were viewed particularly negatively, the latter as part of God’s providential judgment. Socialism, whether Christian or secular, was viewed with suspicion both economically and theologically.

Richard Turnbull, "Evangelicals and Business in Nineteenth-Century Britain," Journal of Markets & Morality 26, no. 1 (2023): 51-67

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