Darrow Miller and Friends

Freedom, Prosperity, and the Great Commission

In the name of Allah take this and use it wisely.

A few years ago I watched video presentation about the Grameen Bank. Founder Muhammad Yunus was handing out $20 bills to beggars in Asia to finance their micro-business efforts. As he passed along the money, he charged them with that declaration.

Let’s give Yunus his due: he blazed new ground in using financial assets to help millions people escape poverty (notwithstanding the controversies in his career). For that he is to be commended. In fact it is another monotheistic framework, Judeo-Christianity, that pushes this concept further.  In the creation, God established us as imago Dei to be economic man. We were made for enterprise, to use our imagination and problem-solving skills to create wealth and human flourishing.

Some Christians suppose none of this has anything to do with the gospel. But the Great Commission of Jesus Christ captures every dimension of life—“all that I commanded you”—because every dimension is God’s concern.

In his just-released book, Emancipating the World, Darrow Miller says, “I am compelled to call Christians, for God’s sake and for the health and prosperity of their nations, to consciously think and act from a biblical framework.” In the following pages, he says,

The kingdom offensive begins with recognizing “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). It commences with people putting their faith in Christ for their salvation. Christ died to save the whole of each person and all of their relationships. But this is not the end; it is the beginning. The kingdom offensive puts feet to the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are conduits of truth, goodness, and beauty to our atheistic and Muslim neighbors. We are to engage in a love-and-service offensive. Our message?

Life is better than death.
Health is better than sickness.
Liberty is better than slavery.
Prosperity is better than poverty.
Education is better than ignorance.
Justice is better than injustice.[1]

All of this reinforces much of what Steve Chapman writes in a recent article at reason.com, “Toward the Conquest of World Poverty.” Noting “a decline in both the poverty rate and the number of poor in all six regions of the developing world” he ties that success to human freedom.

Economic growth, not redistribution, has been the surest cure for poverty, and economic freedom has been the key that unlocked the riddle of economic growth. … Among many people a generation ago — and among a few today — free markets and private property were seen as the cause of poverty. But the number of adherents has dwindled in the face of repeated refutation.

Chapman points to a report by the Cato Institute, “Economic Freedom of the World,” which documents that

over the past 30 years … the average country’s economic freedom score has risen from 5.53 (on a 10 scale) to 6.64 — a significant improvement that has paid off in higher growth and earnings. The evidence indicates a reliable pattern: the freer the economy the faster the growth (emphasis added).

In Emancipating the World, Darrow develops his argument that principles of freedom and prosperity are part of the shalom of God. See these further excerpts.

In the Old Testament, the word translated “peace” is shalom. Its range of meanings include: prosperity (favorable circumstances); completeness (the fullness of a collection); safeness–salvation (free from danger); health (well-being or wholeness); satisfaction–contentment; and blessing (giving kindness to another). We often speak of shalom peace as the fulfillment of human existence: welfare, health and freedom from worry. In the New Testament, the word translated “peace” is eirēnē. It means harmony, tranquility.

Only one story reflects reality; there is only one Lord. Our task is to live out the true story in the world. God has revealed his truth through the Word of God—the historical narrative of his work in the world. The biblical narrative reveals humankind’s purpose on earth in four major stages: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. In this flow of history, God has given human beings two mandates, or commissions. The first is the Cultural Commission; the second is the Great Commission. To be truly effective in its mission, the church must understand and embrace both of these. We must reconnect the Cultural Commission and the Great Commission.

            See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deut 30

Christians are to stand for freedom, order, and justice; for communities and families; and for the sanctity of human life from beginning to end. We are to create peace, health, and prosperity and care for God’s creation and every individual.

This is the message followers of Christ are to carry to the world.

Or, to put it another way, In the name of Christ, take this and use it wisely.




[1] Lawrence E. Harrison, The Central Liberal Truth: How Politics Can Change a Culture and Save It from Itself (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 9.

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Gary is the Disciple Nations Alliance editorial manager. He manages Darrow Miller and Friends and serves as editor and co-writer on various book projects. For eight years Gary served as a cross-cultural church planting missionary among First Nations people of Canada. His career also includes 14 years as executive director of InterAct Ministries, an Oregon-based church-planting organization in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Gary is a graduate of Grace University, earned an MA from Wheaton College and a Graduate Studies Diploma from Western Seminary. He lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Valerie. They have two married sons and twelve grandchildren. In addition to his work with the DNA, Gary serves as the pastor of Troutdale Community Church.