Declaring the global economy a status confessionis?

Menno R. Kamminga*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This article revisits theologian Ulrich Duchrow’s three-decades-old use of the Protestant notion of status confessionis to denounce the capitalist global economy. Scholars quickly dismissed Duchrow’s argument; however, philosopher Thomas Pogge has developed a remarkable ‘negative duty’-based critique of the current global economic order that might help revitalize Duchrow’s position. The article argues that sound reasons exist for the churches to declare the contemporary world economy a - provisionally-termed - status confessionis minor. After explaining the inadequacy of Duchrow’s original position and summarizing Pogge’s account, the article develops a twofold argument. First, Pogge’s in-depth inquiry of the world economy gives Duchrow’s status confessionis call a strong yet narrowing economic foundation. Second, to declare the world economy a status confessionis minor is theologically-ethically justifiable if the limited although indispensable ‘prophetic’ significance of doing so is acknowledged. Thus, Duchrow’s approach is justified, but only partially.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)194-219
    Number of pages26
    JournalPhilosophia Reformata
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 11-Nov-2019

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