Redeeming Capitalism


The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 wasn’t the “near miss, it was the first shot in a battle for the very soul of capitalism. The exceptional measures taken by governments and central banks across the world to stave off complete economic meltdown were unprecedented but the long-term effects of recent monetary policies remain unknown. Of greater concern however, are what those measures didn’t achieve, or address and that is the moral vacuum at the heart of capitalism. If that issue is not addressed, history will not only repeat itself, it will magnify itself and the results may be truly catastrophic.

In this course we will examine not only the moral failures that led to the GFC, but also the cultural malaise that has infected the overall economic ecosystem. We will consider whether the current context is in fact an historic aberration and not the norm. We will explore alternative economic systems and consider whether capitalism, once rooted in an ethic that has since been lost to the relativism of post-modernity, need not be replaced but redeemed.

We will trace the evolution of western economic systems and examine the unique relationship between economic activity and religious belief. This includes a review of both biblical teaching and the works of several great Christian thinkers from across the centuries. including the Reformed doctrine of “common grace”.

We will ask the question: “is capitalism redeemable?” and try to imagine a redeemed capitalism.

Programme details

Session 1

Capitalism - What Went Wrong?

Session 2

Economics – A Very Brief History

Session 3

Adam Smith – Morality, Money and Markets

Session 4

Karl Marx – A Critique of Capitalism

Session 5

Max Weber - Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Modern Capitalism

Session 6

Post-Modern Capitalism

Session 7

Utopia or Redemption?

Session 8

God and Mammon – A Biblical Perspective

Session 9

Theology and Economics

Session 10

Common Grace, Virtue and Wisdom

Session 11

Faith, Hope and Love - Reclaiming the Theological Virtues

Session 12

Redeeming Capitalism - From the Bottom Up and the Top Down


Description Costs
Programme Fee (No Accommodation - inc. Tuition, Lunch & Dinner) £850.00
Programme Fee (Standard Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1485.00
Programme Fee (Standard Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1245.00
Programme Fee (Superior Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1600.00
Programme Fee (Superior Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1345.00


Revd Dr Ken Barnes


Dr. Kenneth J. Barnes holds the Mockler-Phillips Chair in Workplace Theology and Business Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and serves as Director of the Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Workplace. Having combined a long and fruitful career in international business with life as a pastor and scholar, Dr. Barnes previously taught both business and theology at Oxford University. His recent book, Redeeming Capitalism (Eerdmans, 2018) has been called a “tour de force” by Publisher’s Weekly and received critical acclaim from business leaders, economists and theologians around the world.

Course aims

This course aims to help students understand the relationship between theology and economics.

Teaching methods

All summer school courses are taught through group seminars and individual tutorials. Students also conduct private study when not in class and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research needs.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

•          Understand how capitalism works (including a consideration of alternative systems)

•          Understand and articulate different biblical, theological and historical issues relating to political economy

•          Understand and articulate the application of ‘virtue ethics’ in business and economics

•          Be able to ask and answer the question: is post-modern capitalism redeemable

Assessment methods

Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.