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Working for Our Neighbor

A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life
Working for Our Neighbor: A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life
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140 pages
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The Protestant Reformation was a catalyst for social mobility, universal education, and the rise of modern market economies. In his classic study The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber showed the connections between Protestantism and the new economics. Weber, however, focused on the Calvinists and Puritans and speculated that economic success became a way of proving one’s election. He thus posited, with little evidence, a spiritual self-interest that was parallel to economic self-interest, distorting both Protestantism and capitalism.

Weber neglected the specifically Lutheran doctrine of vocation, which emphasizes the spiritual and moral value of economic activity. According to Luther, God himself is hidden in vocation, as he providentially works through ordinary human beings to care for his creation. In their work—not only in the economy, but also in family, church, and community—Christians live out their faith in love and service to their neighbors.

For Lutherans, the doctrine of vocation is nothing less than the theology of the Christian life. In its social impact, vocation gave a theological basis for the division of labor, social equality, and individual freedom. In this elucidating work, Gene Edward Veith connects vocation to justification, good works, and Christian freedom—defining how the Lutheran contribution to economics can transfigure ordinary life, and work, with the powerful presence of God.

Includes foreword by Paul T. McCain

About Gene Edward Veith

Gene Edward Veith Jr. is an emeritus professor of literature at Patrick Henry College, where he has also served as provost and interim president. He also taught at Concordia University Wisconsin and was the culture editor for World Magazine. He is the author of over twenty books on Christianity and culture, literature, and theology. They include God at Work, Family Vocation, The Spirituality of...

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Praise for Working for Our Neighbor

"Ask not what you can do for God, but what God does through you for your neighbor. This statement captures the Lutheran ethos that Veith vividly unveils in this book. What is the Christian life? Is it a self-denying asceticism, an enlightened self-service, or a self-justifying work ethic? What...

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