Christianity Birthed the Middle Class

Historically, Christianity has brought much prosperity to society. Alvin Schmidt points out that before Christianity the Greek/Roman viewpoint of physical labor was very low. It was only suitable for slaves and the lower classes. The Christian view of labor and work as honorable and God-pleasing was in direct conflict with the Greek/Roman idea. This view set them apart in honoring work, but also they prospered economically because of their strong work ethic. Before Christians brought dignity to work and labor, there was not much of a middle class. People were either rich or poor and the poor were slaves. But with the spread of Christianity the economic phenomenon of the middle class arose which is now present in all Western societies.1

Francis Schaeffer points out one of the practical results of Christianity as transforming the workplace during the time of the Reformation; with the result that all the vocations in life came to have dignity. The vocation of honest merchant or housewife had as much value as the King, a radical thought for leaders in this time in history and a welcome relief to the followers of the day2.

However it does take time for a whole city to prosper, A business man I know is fond of saying, “If you are lost 30 miles into the woods you have to walk 30 miles to get out.” How does this help us? If we, or the population of a whole city, have been thinking one way for a many years it will take some time to reverse this. It is possible, but it is not easy and it does not happen by accident. Not only will it take time, but it will take like minded individuals collectively believing for the city or region to experience prosperity. In future blogs we will see how this happens biblically.

  • Schmidt, Alvin J. How Christianity changed the world : formerly titled Under the influence. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.
  • Schaeffer, Francis A. How should we then live? : the rise and decline of western thought and culture. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2005.
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