Acton University 2012


Select the 2012 Acton University lectures you wish to purchase. Lectures are in MP3 format which is suited for listening on mobile devices and your computer.

Evening Talks

  • A Conversation with Michael Novak $1.99
    The Acton Institute's annual Acton University conference kicked off on June 12, 2012 with an evening plenary session featuring a conversation with public intellectual, author, and former US Ambassador Michael Novak.
  • An Evening with Arthur Brooks $1.99
    On June 13th, 2012, participants in Acton University gathered for an evening plenary session featuring an address by Mr. Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Christian Social Witness - Mr. Eric Metaxas $1.99
    On June 14th, 2012, participants in Acton University gathered for an evening plenary session featuring an address by Mr. Eric Metaxas, Public Intellectual and Author of the highly acclaimed biographies Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
  • Closing Address - Rev. Robert A. Sirico $1.99

Day 2 - June 13, 2012

  • Christian Anthropology ('12) - Dr. Samuel Gregg $1.99
    Draws on Scripture and historical Christian theology to ground the Christian understanding of the relationship between humanity and non-human creation. Contrasts pre-modern, early-modern, and contemporary understandings of relevant passages of Scripture.
  • Person and Property in the Pentateuch - Dr. David Baker $1.99
    In contemporary culture, business, and even private ownership in general, is often portrayed as intrinsically evil. This lecture explores the place and responsibilities of ownership as presented in the opening books of the Bible.
  • The Church and Urban Education - Dr. Anthony Bradley $1.99
    Research shows that inner-city churches are the second greatest predictor of education success for at-risk youth after parents in eliminating the black/white achievement gap. This session explores why churches are more successful than non-profits and what specific actions inner-city churches can take to overcome low-performing schools.
  • de Vitoria and Economic Liberty - Dr. Alejandro Chafuen $1.99
    Francisco de Vitoria was one of the most influential of early-modern scholastic theologians. This lecture explores his contributions to the development of economic thought, especially international economic relations.
  • The Role of Ideas in Economic History - Prof. Ross Emmett $1.99
    This lecture examines the way in which ideas have historically shaped the unfolding of economic life throughout time. It highlights some of the more important ideas, and their linkages to religion.
  • Christian Vision of Government - Michael Matheson Miller $1.99
    Examines the Christian and natural law principles that inform Christian thinking about the role of government and law in free and virtuous societies, beginning with a survey of Christianity’s decisive moral and institutional contribution to limiting state power.
  • East Meets West: Consumerism and Asceticism - Rev. Gregory Jensen $1.99
    Asceticism is concerned with the “inner transformation of the human person, in his being progressively conformed to Christ.” Understood in this way, asceticism has a foundational role to play in any Christian response to the practical and anthropological challenges of consumerism.
  • Religion and the 21st Century - Rev. Raymond de Souza $1.99
    Religion emerged as a dominant force in shaping the final years of the twentieth century, from Communism’s peaceful defeat to the rise to jihadist terrorism. In the 21st century, religion will help determine the prospects of free and virtuous societies, and the potential for peace between nations. What might the Christian proposal offer in a world contending with both religious and secular fundamentalism?
  • The Unknown Solzhenitsyn - Dr. Edward Ericson $1.99
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the courageous Russian writer, contributed indispensably to bringing down the Soviet Union. Conventional Western opinion sees his story, too, as ending then. But the conflict of good against evil and truth against lies runs throughout the moral universe, not just the Soviet scene. Moreover, half of his writings are not yet in English. This is the unknown Solzhenitsyn.
  • The Role of the Mega-Church - Rev. Dan Scott $1.99
    Mega churches in this country are faced with issues that are unlike those met by similar churches in other nations. This lecture explores the role of the mega church in society and proposes a model of relationships to help these communities successfully encounter the challenges they will face in coming years.
  • The Economic Way of Thinking ('12) - Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse $1.99
    Introduces the basic intellectual components of the economic way of thinking, examines the institutional prerequisites of the free economy, and considers their compatibility with Christian anthropology and its vision of virtuous liberty.
  • The Church and God's Economy - Dr. Jordan Ballor $1.99
    This session will explore the role of the church in God’s normative will for human social life. Understanding “God’s economy” to refer to the “law of God’s household” will help us understand how the church in its various expressions fulfills its responsibilities to God, individuals, and other social institutions.
  • Communitarianism: Theory and Critique - Dr. Kenneth Grasso $1.99
    This course explores two different understandings of community that have emerged in the course of modern history, their respective understandings of the human person and society, and the implications of each for our understanding of the state and its role in the overall economy of human social life.
  • Corruption - Prof. Carroll Rios de Rodriguez $1.99
    Corruption is one of the primary problems afflicting the developing world as well as parts of the developed world. This lecture explores the moral and economic causes of corruption, its effects, and outlines possible solutions.
  • The Gospel of Luke - Prof. Chris Armstrong $1.99
    In current discussions about what the Bible has to offer those who seek to address systemic evils in society, the Gospel of Luke (along with the OT prophets) is the place where most usually begin. This lecture explores what can and can't be gleaned for the pursuit of shalom from Luke's Gospel.
  • Value Investing - Mr. David Bahnsen $1.99
    With widespread public ownership of companies through the stock market and mutual and pension funds there is increasing interest in the moral implications of investing. This course will examine the different understandings of socially responsible investing and how investors can invest in a manner that is both profitable and morally responsible.
  • 19th Century Reflections on Liberty - Michael Matheson Miller $1.99
    The impact of the French and Industrial Revolutions in the 18th and 19th centuries spurred a vigorous debate about the nature and meaning of personal, political, and economic liberty. This course will examine both liberal and conservative reflections on liberty that were developed during the 19th century.
  • Tensions in American Conservatism - Dr. Jay Richards $1.99
    It is often claimed that “social conservatism” with its concerns for social issues such as life, marriage, and religious liberty, is at odds with the “fiscal conservative” commitment to limited government and individual liberty. This lecture argues that both streams of modern conservatism flow from the same philosophical sources, and underscores the underlying unity of social and economic issues.
  • Biblical Foundations of Freedom - Dr. Charles Self $1.99
    Sorts out the confusing and thorny issue of the use of Scripture and religious authority in crafting a strategy to engage the public institutions of society. Touches on how virtue can be taught and then acted upon effectively in society to reinvigorate a moral consensus.

Day 3 - June 14, 2012

  • Economics and Human Action - Dr. Peter Boettke $1.99
    Introduces participants to thinking about economics as a study of human choice and action (as opposed to econometrics), especially with regard to its points of contact with Christian thought about the human person.
  • Orthodoxy, Church and State - Very Rev. Michael Butler $1.99
    For centuries, the relationship between Orthodox churches and the state with majority-Orthodox countries has been close. This lecture explains the historical and theological background to this relationship, and how it was changed by Communism and the collapse of Marxist regimes.
  • Christianity and the Scottish Enlightenment - Dr. Samuel Gregg $1.99
    The Scottish Enlightenment played a key role in the development of our ideas about a commercial society. While many elements of the Enlightenment were hostile to Christianity, the Scottish Enlightenment in particular had very strong Christian influences and many of the main figures were serious Christians. This course will examine the influence of Christianity in the Scottish Enlightenment and some of its main figures.
  • Poverty in the Developing World - Michael Matheson Miller $1.99
    Examines some of the causes of poverty in the developing world, critically analyzes current poverty alleviation strategies including aid and government planning, and focuses on private property, rule of law, markets, and culture for economic development.
  • The Church and Modern Civilization - Dr. Greg Forster $1.99
    Modern civilization and the church have never quite known what to do with each other. Modern civilization struggles to sustain a moral consensus without a shared religion, while the church struggles to situate itself within a society that neither clearly embraces nor clearly rejects it. We’ll explore the challenges and opportunities created by the unique socio-political model of religious freedom.
  • Vocational Stewardship and Community Transformation - Dr. Amy Sherman $1.99
    Christians are called to join Jesus on His mission of renewing all things. Learn how believers are doing this effectively by stewarding their vocational power with intentionality, creativity, and strategic focus, and how their efforts are advancing foretastes of justice and shalom in and through their workplaces, industries, and communities.
  • Job Creation and the Developing World - Mr. Dave Genzink $1.99
    Healthy small and medium businesses continue to be the most effective means of creating prosperity in the developing world. This course examines some of the well-intentioned responses to poverty by NGOs and compares them to the responses by small and medium business owners that are driving local economic development with entrepreneurial solutions that create jobs.
  • Biblical Theology and Environmental Ethics - Dr. Jay Richards $1.99
    Draws on Scripture and historical Christian theology to ground the Christian understanding of the relationship between humanity and non-human creation. Contrasts pre-modern, early-modern, and contemporary understandings of relevant passages of Scripture. Outlines implications for environmental ethics arising from various categories of biblical and systematic theology.
  • Liberty and Liberalism - Dr. Kenneth Grasso $1.99
    This course explores the origins, nature and contemporary crisis of the Western liberal tradition as well as the implications of this crisis for the modern quest for freedom. Particular emphasis will be placed on the impact of both Christianity and Enlightenment rationalism on the evolution of liberal thought.
  • Marketplace as Social Shalom - Dr. Anthony Bradley $1.99
    This session explores the societal implications of understanding business as a social justice vocation by nature and defines the ways in which marketplace leaders are invaluable as the primary change agents for communities seeking to help to the poor and bring peace.
  • Private Charity: A Practitioner's View - Mr. Rodolpho Carrasco $1.99
    This lecture will expand on the unique ability of private charity to address human need using local knowledge and resources unavailable and unsuited to public agencies, with specific attention to urban ministries.
  • Wilberforce - Mr. Eric Metaxas $1.99
    William Wilberforce is most known for his role in ending slavery. This lecture examines Wilberforce’s theological and philosophical thought more generally and considers its relevance for today.
  • Public Choice Theory - Dr. Peter Boettke $1.99
    As a school of economic thought, public choice theory is relatively new and has changed many perceptions of the nature of the state and government economic interventions. This lecture traces the background to public choice theory, its primary claims, and its most important insights.
  • Fair Trade vs. Free Trade - Dr. Victor Claar $1.99
    While free trade has been increasingly maligned, The Fair Trade movement has become increasingly popular over the last several years and many see it as a way to help people in the developing world and as a more just alternative to free trade--which many argue creates an unfair advantage that tends to harm the poor. This course will analyze and compare arguments for and against both fair trade and free trade and ask whether 'fair trade' is either more fair or more just than free trade.
  • Subsidiarity and Serving the Poor - Mr. Ismael Hernandez $1.99
    Defines subsidiarity, applies it to the context of human spiritual, moral, and material need, and elaborates on the unique ability of private charity to address such needs using local knowledge and resources unavailable and unsuited to public agencies.
  • The Reformation of University Education - Dr. Herman Selderhuis $1.99
    This session will explore the developments in university education in the Reformation era, showing how the Reformers, particularly Philip Melanchthon, laid the basis for a new approach towards students, research, and education. Educational institutions, as they work toward truth and the development of science and understanding, were seen as essential elements promoting a flourishing and virtuous society.
  • Business as a Moral Enterprise - Mr. Andreas Widmer $1.99
    This course will examine business in the context of an integrated moral life. It will argue that not only can business be performed in a moral manner, but that business is essentially a moral enterprise, a good for society, an opportunity for virtue, and an essential element of the free society.
  • Tolkien and the Free Society - Dr. Jonathan Witt $1.99
    J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth novels have sold as many as a quarter billion copies worldwide, and his literary stature has continued to grow since his death in 1973. While this has led to several penetrating studies of his work—including rewarding studies of the role played by his philological studies and his conservative Catholic worldview—what remains less well understood is how his Middle Earth fiction expresses his fierce commitment to limited government and conveys a wealth of insights into both political and economic freedom. This lecture will serve as an introduction to this rich vein of inquiry, focusing primarily on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
  • Bastiat - Dr. Todd Flanders $1.99
    Frederic Bastiat was one of the nineteenth-century’s most prominent and prolific defenders of the free market. Fewer people know that Bastiat also reflected deeply on religious questions. This lecture introduces Bastiat’s economic and religious thought, underlining the connections between the two.
  • Microfinance and Development - Mr. Peter Greer $1.99
    Few poverty alleviation approaches have received more recognition than microfinance. When Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work bringing banking services to the poor, microfinance was hailed as the panacea to ending global poverty. A few years later, problems in India caused some to call microfinance a tool of debt entrapment. Slicing through the media hype, this course presents a realistic view of the tool and how it can be used most effectively.
  • Morality and the Limits of Markets - Very Rev. Paul Hartmann $1.99
    Examine the limits of markets and the role of law in building a moral culture. While markets create and distribute wealth better than any other system, markets will produce what the culture demands. The course will discuss how we can maintain freedom and prosperity while limiting markets when they become detrimental to freedom and virtue.
  • Theologians vs. Capitalism - Dr. John Lunn $1.99
    A number of prominent theologians oppose capitalism even though former Communist nations have turned to market systems for organizing their economic activity. We will examine some of the reasons given by these theologians for opposing capitalism and attempts to justify market systems.

Day 4 - June 15, 2012

  • Islam, Markets, and the Free Society - Mr. Mustafa Akyol $1.99
    Is Islam compatible with free markets or does it promote collectivism? Here is a brief overview of Islamic sources on the issue of economic freedom and an examination of the newly developing “Islamic capitalism.”
  • The European Social Market - Dr. Samuel Gregg $1.99
    After World War II, many West European governments implemented economic policies that sought to enhance the economic security of the population and promote economic equity. This lecture examines the origins of these policies, discusses their strengths and weaknesses, and considers the reasons for the apparent faltering of the European Social Model.
  • Common Grace in Business - Dr. Peter Heslam $1.99
    Protestant thinkers are credited with putting common grace ‘in business’ – in both senses. Could this be part of the so-called ‘Protestant Ethic’ that has contributed to the rise of capitalism? We will also consider how this doctrine applies – conceptually and practically – to contemporary business and how it can help shape the future.
  • John A. Ryan and the New Deal - Dr. Kevin Schmeissing $1.99
    John Ryan was the foremost proponent of Catholic social teaching in depression-era America and an enthusiastic supporter of the New Deal. This lecture examines Ryan’s application of Catholic social teaching to economics and politics in the United States in the 1930s, focusing on the perennial theme of the relationship between government and the market.
  • CEO as Creator of Culture - Mr. Andreas Widmer $1.99
    CEOs are responsible for ensuring companies make a profit. This lecture, however, focuses on how CEO and business leaders more generally can shape companies in ways that give rise to cultures of freedom, dignity and self-responsibility within business enterprises.
  • Theology of Stewardship - Dr. Kent Wilson $1.99
    Introduces key biblical and theological themes that inform the concept of stewardship, discusses contemporary misunderstandings, and examines the significance a robust view of stewardship plays in safeguarding a culture's moral economy.
  • The Middle East and the Arab Spring - Mr. Mustafa Akyol $1.99
    2011 witnessed the collapse of several long-standing authoritarian regimes in the Middle-East. This lecture explains the background to these developments, the place of religion in these changes, and the likely future opened by the Arab Spring.
  • Macroeconomics101 - Dr. John Lunn $1.99
    An overview of the American economy and the tools used for analyzing economic growth, inflation, and unemployment, with reference to the recent economic crisis.
  • The Political Economy of Edmund Burke - Michael Matheson Miller $1.99
    Edmund Burke was one of the leading political theorists and social commentators of his day and is often considered the father of the Anglo-American conservative movement. He was highly critical of much Enlightenment thinking but was also seen as a proponent of liberty. Adam Smith said that Burke was one of the few people who fully understood his work in economics. This course will examine the political, social, and economic thought of Edmund Burke and examine the similarities between his thought and the ideas of Adam Smith in economics.
  • Wesley's Kingdom Vision of Social Transformation - Dr. Charles Self $1.99
    This course examines the context, content and lasting consequences of John Wesley's leadership in establishing the evangelical movement, expressing ecumenical openness to other Christian traditions and his integration of spiritual awakening with economic and social reform. He is model of biblical thoughtfulness, principled inclusiveness, and contextual praxis.
  • Africa: New Pathways for Development - Mr. Andreas Widmer $1.99
    Looks at a brief post-colonial African history, identifies the domestic and international policies that have facilitated its problems, and outlines how people of faith inside and outside Africa can best contribute to concrete solutions.
  • Fertility's Impact on the World Economy - Prof. W. Bradford Wilcox $1.99
    If demography is destiny, then what are the different economic implications of high and low fertility rates? This lecture explores these questions and asks what current trends might mean for different parts of the world economy.
  • Environmental Sustainability - Dr. Anthony Bradley $1.99
    An introduction to the international movement of designing physical objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of economic, social, ecological sustainability. This seminar goes beyond the rhetoric of environmental stewardship toward implications for appropriate roles for government, the market, and mediating institutions for real change.
  • Free Trade and Globalization - Prof. Ross Emmett $1.99
    The subjects of the economic benefits and costs associated with globalization, particularly free trade, are among the most controversial today. This lecture outlines the economic and moral case for free trade, as well as the economic trade-offs associated with globalization.
  • Abraham Kuyper, Entrepreneurship and Poverty - Dr. Peter Heslam $1.99
    The Reformed thinker and social activist Abraham Kuyper is arguably one of the greatest Christian serial entrepreneurs of the modern era. Amongst his start-ups was a newspaper, a university and a political party. The crown of his achievement was in 1901, when he became Prime Minister of the Netherlands. But what is the significance of his legacy for entrepreneurship and economic development today?
  • The Federalist Debate: Liberty and Order - Dr. John Pinhiero $1.99
    A free society needs both liberty and order. One cannot be free without order, but a commitment to order can subtly undermine freedom. This lecture examines the treatment of these issues through the lens of the Federalist Debate that did not so much shape the American experiment of ordered liberty.
  • Latin America - Prof. Caroll Rios de Rodriguez $1.99
    Over the past ten years, we have seen the emergence in many Latin American countries of what some call the populist left. This lecture explores the origins, character, and development of these movements, the agendas they adopt once they attain power, and the paths they are likely to chart for the future.
  • Theology of Work - Dr. Scott Rae $1.99
    Judaism and Christianity are unique in their appreciation of the significance of human work. This lecture presents human work from a theological standpoint, its place in redeeming man and the work, and its relationship to God’s work of creation.
  • Dependency, Church and Community - Mr. Peter Greer $1.99
    From its inception, the Church has followed the mandate to care for the poor, and with the rise of globalization, it has increased its efforts to serve the poor globally. Although a positive movement, good intentions have not always led to good results. Looking at why efforts to help can cause harm, the course recommends how the Church can most effectively care for the poor.
  • Deficits and Debt - Dr. Samuel Gregg $1.99
    High public sector deficits and high personal debt have become an economic way of life in many developed countries. This lecture explores the origins of these trends, their moral and economic effects, and how they might be reserved.
  • Social Entrepreneurship - Ms. Anielka Münkel $1.99
    Although there is not a single definition of the term, there is a general consensus that “social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems.” Their initiatives might be non-profit, for profit or hybrids. Given the increasing popularity of social entrepreneurship, this course will analyze its promises and limitations.
  • Myths about the Market - Dr. Jay Richards $1.99
    Identifies the primary myths about the free economy, illustrates why they are false, and demonstrates why market economics often requires us to think counter intuitively.
  • Global Economic Impacts of Marital Decline and Cohabitation - Prof. W. Bradford Wilcox $1.99
    With marriage rates in the West falling and co-habitation rates rising, this presents significant challenges to social, political and economic order. This lecture explores the sociological and economic effects and implications of the spread of cohabitation, and asks what might be the most significant ways of ensuring that marriage is not submerged by cohabitation trends.