Financial Expert Bentley ‘Uncovers the Invisible Hand That Guides the Economy’

Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries is a strong advocate for the great deal of economic evidence that points directly to God as the creator and driver of all economic activities. So much so, that he has written a new book called, Economic Evidence for God? Uncovering the Invisible Hand That Guides the Economy.

It is Bentley’s belief that the more you dig into the evidence of there being a higher power at play in economics, that money, and our use of it, will become more sustainable and impacting in our lives.

To Purchase Economic Evidence for God? Uncovering the Invisible Hand That Guides the Economy:

I recently sat down with Bentley to discuss financial obstacles the global pandemic has created, ways to circumvent and actually thrive in this current economy, and why giving should be your most important financial activity in 2022.

The last time we spoke, we were talking about seven gray swans and how they could affect our global economy. That book came out in early 2021, a little over a year ago. What were some of the outcomes from your financial projections in the book?

Chris, I was tracking general trends at the time. And as I’ve said before I am not prophetic. I just watch what’s happening and try to comment on it. But the book turned out to have a prophetic element to it, because all of the things that I wrote about are in play right now, maybe more so than I ever dreamed or imagined. For instance, I was talking about fragile networks and our vulnerability to economic attacks through online attacks. That’s happening full scale right now. Cyber attacks are a form of warfare today and something that we’re all vulnerable to. I was talking about facial record ignition technology. That’s sort of a useful convenience, but now it’s being used as a totalitarian tool. So, all of those things are in play and becoming more and more relevant.

Since that time, our world has been caught up in a global pandemic where millions of lives have been lost or altered in some way. Obviously, this situation has had a powerful impact on virtually every facet of our lives. Staffing shortages in companies, supply chain issues, constant restrictions on where you can and cannot go. As a financial expert, what is the first advice would give someone regarding their personal finances in this time of COVID-19?

Well, it’s not only COVID 19 but we have a convergence of issues. We’re seeing the threat of war, the threat of nuclear war, and also the threat of rising inflation that doesn’t appear to be going down anytime soon. The first financial principle we all have to follow is to be able to persevere through financial storms and to be ready for these storms. A person has to live by the number one rule of personal finance, which is to spend less than you earn. If you’re not spending less than you earn, you don’t have the flexibility to set goals or to endure these storms. It’s like living on the edge of a financial cliff and a small wind will just blow you off. And so I like to encourage people to make adjustments immediately to improve their financial margin. Americans have lots of money, but very few have margin. The difference in margin and money is that you’re spending far less than your income. Therefore you can set goals, you can build reserves, and you can offset inflation. You have liquidity that allows you to be more mobile. All of those things are important during a time when these crises are converging.

Do you ever see a time when we’ll return to normal times financially, or is there always going to be this constant chaotic state of flux that we’ve been in for a few years?

I don’t think normal is coming. I was studying inflation rates over the past 70 years. And inflation is a constant  threat to our savings and our ability to function properly economically. I think it’s going to be with us for quite some time. Quick, rapid changes in the way economies function, particularly with online economies and digital currencies, all of those things are going to change us forever.

Based on these trying times we are in, why is it so important to follow God’s principles for stewardship? This question is directly related to managing our personal finances but can also be extended to our everyday lives as well.

I think the Bible makes it clear that they’re essentially two economies. There is man’s economy, which has been built on the sand and there’s God’s economy that’s built on the rock. His principles are enduring, they’re timeless, and they always work. I like to describe them as God’s definition of reality. His financial principles allow you to live in reality. If we follow them, we experience peace. We experience contentment. We’re able to endure loss. There’s no financial book out there other than the Bible that tells you how to endure financial loss as well. And the Bible says we can even do so joyfully. Hebrews 10  talks about people who had their property confiscated. And they were able to rejoice because they had better and lasting possessions. Only the Bible can make that promise, right? That’s not a promise in man’s economy and the Lord doesn’t keep score by how much we have. Success in man’s economy is based on volume and success. In God’s economy it is based on faithfulness. I like to say that faithfulness is the currency of heaven when we live by God’s principles on earth and we’re faithful to Him. He will actually reward us for that faithfulness for all eternity.

Here’s a practical question. My wife and I have this conversation all the time. It’s about need versus want. This discussion can be on anything from vacations to furniture to the grocery bill. For example, do you need to get the store brand or get the name brand peanut butter? How do you define the difference between need and want? Why is it important to be able to make those distinctions?

Well, the Apostle Paul set the baseline very low when he said, “If you have food and clothing you can be content with that.” Be content. Everything else is an add on basically. You need enough to be just minimally provided for. That was the baseline for contentment. And quite frankly, in most of the world, that’s sufficient if you have a place to live and some food every day. So, we’re talking about it being a challenge when very few societies in the world have had to wrestle with that. My wife and I  have the same conversation by the way. It’s never ending. I like to say my wife could stretch a penny into a copper wire. She is as frugal as they come and enjoys it. That’s her perspective. And so everything to her is excessive but I think it’s a very subjective question because God entrusts to all people varying amounts. But going back to the Parable to Stewards, some have a lot, some have a little, and there’s some in the middle. What He wants you to determine is what is faithful in your home? How do you be faithful to the world? So, if you’re putting Him first and you’re making His kingdom your priority, then what you do with the rest of it is really between you and the Lord. I don’t think anybody should set a standard of living for somebody else because there’s a lot of false guilt and a lot of false shame out there. I would recommend that you agree among yourselves, what the standard is. For us, if it’s more than $250, that’s our standard for having to find agreement on the expenditure.

Please tell me about your new book, Economic Evidence of God. What can readers expect when they pick it up to read?

The light bulb went off for me when I started to travel the world and realized that God’s financial principles not only are transformative for an individual, they’re transformative for nations. And I began to see a very simple principle that anywhere that the 10 Commandments are embraced and upheld culturally, economic growth far exceeds cultures that do not follow them. If you just take that as a baseline, if there’s a high murder rate, you will find low economic growth. If there’s high corruption, meaning that you’re stealing or lying, you will find low economic growth. I overlay this simple template on my life. I saw that it’s very powerfully transformative to follow God’s principles personally, but also I saw it happen in different nations. And so, I wrote a book about the idea that you can see God in the marketplace and in the economy. Most people talk about creationism, the universe, science or the moral laws. I wanted to show that the economic laws that God gave us point to Him and Him alone. I think people can not only see that macro view that is obvious in the book. I think I make that obvious, but also in a personal view of the difference between following God’s way versus my own way.

If you could provide one piece of practical financial advice for 2022, what would that be?

I would say, make giving your top financial priority. And the reason I say that is that we’re going to have humanitarian crises on an ongoing basis. Right now, in some ways, we’re going to face the greatest human need. In modern times, there are more people having to become refugees right now, whether they flee from Afghanistan or they flee from Ukraine, there’s crises all over the world. There’s going to be a tremendous need to serve other people. And when you make giving your top financial priority, it reorders everything else in your life. It’s what God wants us to do. It’s the best investment you can ever make. The Bible promises you’re not going to lose that investment. It breaks the grip that the world has over the command of our other resources until we make giving our priority. The world has first call on our resources, and that’s not what God wants us to live life by.

After people have read Economic Evidence of God, as an author, what would you like your readers to get out of the experience? What’s your greatest hope for this book?

My greatest hope is that every day they see the reality of God in their lives. I used to not see that. My wallet was separated from my heart, and I didn’t see the economic choices I was making having any relationship to God or His kingdom, or my eternity. But I do now. Every single choice I see is related to my expression, whether I believe God or a way in God, or faithful to God. And when it gets that simple, it gets so exciting to be alive every day, and to trust God with our finances and all of our decisions. I hope my readers experience the same transformation that happened to me. One of the greatest decisions in my life apart from my salvation was to trust God with all my financial decisions. It’s changed everything in my life. And I hope it will change theirs.

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