Christian Values and Economic Knowledge

Christian Values and Economic Knowledge

Peter Docherty calls for a reconsideration of economic phenomena from a Christian perspective that employs values derived from what Nicholas Wolterstorff calls authentic Christian commitment; this includes notions of grace, justice and righteousness, and God’s abundant provision.

Full Title : Christian Values and Economic Knowledge: The Implications of Wolterstorff’s Epistemology for a Christian Perspective on Economics


This chapter explores the epistemological relationship between values and economic theory. It considers Nicholas Wolterstorff’s critique of epistemological foundationalism and his argument that values of various kinds shape how theories are constructed and evaluated. It then unpacks some of the key values in mainstream economic theory as represented by Lionel Robbins’s famous 1932 Essay on the Nature of Economic Science and compares these values with those derived from what Wolterstorff calls authentic Christian commitment. The chapter concludes that mainstream economics is problematic from a Christian perspective and that a reconsideration of economic phenomena is needed that employs alternative Christian values. These will include the values of grace, justice and righteousness, as well as a recognition of God’s abundant material provision.


Peter has a Ph.D. in monetary economics and the history of economic thought from the University of Sydney, and a B.Th. (Hons) from the Australian College of Theology. He is the author of Money and Employment: A Study of the Theoretical Implications of Endogenous Money and has published articles in a range of academic journals including the History of Economics Review, Journal of Financial Stability and the Review of Political Economy. Peter’s ongoing research interests include the development of macroeconomic models and their application to understanding financial crises and policy responses to such crises. He also works on Australian monetary and banking history, and has a strong interest in ethical perspectives on economics and how the Christian faith should shape our understanding of the economic world. He is also actively involved in his local Anglican church.

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