Church and Ethical Responsibility in the Midst of World Economy: Greed, Dominion, and Justice

By Paul S. Chung

An in-depth study and critique of global capitalism from a theological point of view, emphasising the Church’s responsibility as a defender of economic justice.

ISBN: 9780227679999


Magisterial in scope and scrupulous in its investigation and attribution of sources, Church and Ethical Responsibility in the Midst of World Economy is a detailed examination of the history of capitalism, its defenders and its critics, with the aim of developing a theological critique of both the material and spiritual failures of the modern global economy.

Professor Chung traces the development of capitalism from the sixteenth century onwards, how it shaped and was shaped in turn by European colonialism and Enlightment ideas of the Social Contract. He examines the strengths and weaknesses of the Marxist critique of industrial capitalism, and analyses the rise of globalism as a form of economic imperialism underpinned by the ideology of neoliberalism. Although Chung acknowledges the role played by the Christian churches in promoting and defending the capitalist ethos, he points to the existence of theologically-grounded alternative visions of a fairer, more responsible world economy, and defends the view that the promotion of economic justice is a key part of the prophetic mission of the church.

Church and Ethical Responsibility in the Midst of World Economy will take its place as an important document in the ongoing ecumenical debate over economic justice, challenging those who are comfortably complacent about our global economic system and unwilling to be disturbed.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 320

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Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Paul S. Chung is Associate Professor at Luther Seminary, St Paul, Minnesota. His books related to a prophetic theology of God’s mission, transcultural hermeneutics, and justice in the public sphere include The Cave and the Butterfly (2010), Liberating Lutheran Theology (together with Ulrich Duchrow and Craig L. Nessan, 2011), and The Hermeneutical Self and an Ethical Difference (also published by
James Clarke & Co Ltd, 2013), among others.


Foreword by Ulrich Duchrow

Introduction: Church and Economic Justice

1. Colonialism and the Historical Development of Capitalism
2. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
3. Political Right and Economic Freedom
4. Industrial Capitalism and the Self-Regulating Market
5. Sociocritical Dialectics in the Shift from Alienation to Emancipation
6. The Dynamism and Limitations of the Capitalist System
7. The Reality of Late Capitalism and Its Challenge
8. Capitalism and World-Systems Analysis
9. Economic Globalization, Neo-Liberalism, and Empire
10. Alternatives to Global Capitalism in Ecumenical Context

Excursus: East Asian Religions and Social Justice
Epilogue: A Theology of God’s Life and Emancipation from Greed and Dominion



Endorsements and Reviews

This book is minjung theology gone global! It is wise, rich, complex, amazingly learned, and passionate in its call for a prophetic Christian approach to global economics.
Stephen Bevans, Professor of Mission and Culture, Catholic Theological Union

Chung creatively constructs a usable theological tradition to challenge the assumption of the economic status quo as our inevitable future, integrating interreligious and crossdisciplinary resources in the struggle. How can the ecumenical church serve as leaven for imagining and implementing alternatives to global business as usual?
Craig L. Nessan, Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology, Wartburg Theological Seminary