The Moral Status of Wealth Creation in Early-Modern Reformed Confessions

Jordan J. Ballor*, Cornelis van der Kooi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the moral status of wealth creation, particularly within its theological and religious contexts, across Reformed confessions from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These confessional standards are a key source for the moral teaching of Reformed churches, and their treatments of the eighth commandment demonstrate a relatively nuanced and sophisticated view of wealth. Rather than simply denouncing wealth itself as intrinsically evil, these confessional standards, from a variety of national and ecclesial contexts, both on the European continent and Britain, provide a basis for viewing wealth creation as a moral good, even while warning against excess, temptation, and vices such as avarice and envy. This survey of the treatments of wealth from a diverse set of Reformed confessional standards provides a foundation for understanding a critical element in the formation of Reformed, and more broadly Protestant, economic ethics in the early-modern period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-202
Number of pages15
JournalReformation and Renaissance Review
Volume21
Issue number3
Early online date3 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Keywords

  • charity
  • greed
  • reformed confessions
  • theft
  • Wealth

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