In Work Out Your Salvation, D. Glenn Butner Jr. demonstrates that participation in markets forms our moral character, perceptions, actions, and ideas. He argues that the nature of such formation varies based on the design of the market and our interactions within it. How, he asks, does formation of the market relate to the formation of grace--illumination, justification, and sanctification? Are these forces at war for our souls?
Through a detailed analysis of these three doctrines and the theology of common grace and concurrent divine/human action, Work Out Your Salvation argues that God can work through imagined aspects of markets (prices, commodities, property rights, etc.), through human identity, and through economic incentive structures to foster the created basis for the supernatural gifts of illumination, justification, and sanctification. Careful and theologically guided participation in a market can, by common grace, provide the occasion for positive spiritual formation through concurrent divine action.
However, such formation is not guaranteed. Maladaptive practices, ideas, and identities can also be fostered by markets not oriented toward a supernatural end. Butner provides detailed evidence backed by extensive experimental and empirical research as to which market practices allow Christians to "work out their salvation" (Phil 2:12) and which practices resist such moral transformation. Work Out Your Salvation undermines simplistic endorsements or rejections of capitalism in favor of more nuanced analysis and lays bare which features of markets make us better and which make us worse.