The National Council of Churches has promoted 10 books on social ethics. Sponsored by its Department of the Church and Economic Life, the project was launched 10 years ago under a large subsidy from the Rockefeller Foundation. Most of these books now also appear in popularized paperback summaries.

A member of the NCC’s General Board has suggested purchase of these books as gifts to church libraries. His endorsement describes the 10 volumes as “tremendously effective tools for your Christian work—the product of nine years of research by top economists, theologians, political scientists and psychologists.… You will find in these books invaluable insight … for use in all your efforts at guiding men toward that larger understanding which we know to be so essential to their effective Christian living.”

Other Christian leaders have taken exception on the ground that some of the volumes reflect left wing social philosophies. An influential layman has described the NCC’s promotion of this series of volumes on “The Ethics and Economics of Society” as “one of the boldest attempts to use the church for the purpose of disseminating the Collectivist philosophy that I have so far run across.”

CHRISTIANITY TODAY has sought an objective verdict on this series of studies by inviting 10 leaders to submit 350-word reviews with an eye on the presuppositions of these volumes. The several books are not lacking in individual differences. But the reviewers are in general agreement that the underlying bias of the series favors the “New Deal society” against a limited government, free enterprise, private property philosophy, even though this thesis is resisted in some of the volumes.—ED.

Goals Of Economic Life

Goals of Economic Life, edited by A. Dudley ...

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