Gary North, Christian Economics, Student Edition. Chapter 10: Disinheritance
- Esau attempt – and divinely ordained failure – to steal the inheritance of Jacob
- Jesus deciding that the meek before God will inherit the Earth…
The struggle between covenant breakers and covenant keepers involves a struggle for inheritance in history. The overwhelming majority of Christians have been taught that God has granted covenant breakers comprehensive cultural and political inheritance in the era of the church. Amillennialists, who have been dominant in the European church tradition, affirm that the political city of man will rule over the political city of God in history. Premillennialists say that this will be true only until Jesus bodily returns to earth to set up a 1,000-year political kingdom. Only postmillennialists interpret literally Jesus’ promise of inheritance as applying to covenant keepers in history prior to Jesus’ bodily return in final judgment.
Inheritance necessarily involves disinheritance, just as historical sanctions are both positive and negative. There is a long-term pattern to historical sanctions. They are cumulative. They are also corporate, not just individual. This reflects (represents) God as Trinity, who is both corporate and individual. There are winners and losers in eternity. There are also winners and losers in history. This is because there is a war between two kingdoms. This war has two battlefields: heaven and earth. We do not usually think of heaven as being involved in warfare, but it is. The issues of history are of concern in heaven.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9–10).
Because covenant-keepers, including leaders, do not perceive the kingdom of God as a civilization, they do not see economic conflicts as being inherently covenantal. They see kingdom issues as applying to souls, families, and churches, but not beyond these tightly constrained personal bonds. In contrast, leaders among covenant breakers do perceive the kingdom of man as a civilization. They do see economic conflict as being covenantal. Thus, they are consistent in their pursuit of wealth, influence, and power. They understand that wealth is a tool of social and political change. They seek to change society through comprehensive reform. They seek capital to fund this. Covenant keepers seek at most to restrain the inroads of the broader culture into their lives: in education, entertainment, and individual moral behavior. But state-funded education is not neutral in any sense. Entertainment reflects the broader culture. Moral behavior is shaped by education, culture, and civil law. Communications technologies have opened the doors of every household to the debaucheries and temptations of the broader culture. Covenant keepers see all this as a cancer, but they offer no cures, only pain-killers. They lose their children to secular tax-funded education and the secular media. This is the heart, mind, and soul of the battle over inheritance: the loss of the next generation.
This is a battle over money, for money is capital. Capital is another word for tools. The super-rich fully understand that their wealth provides them with leverage culturally and politically. They can shape politics with money. They can make it more difficult for economic competitors to replace them. Yet technology waits on no one. The list of the five hundred richest Americans changes year to year. Also, they face a problem: taxation. If they do not find ways to transfer the money to non-taxable entities, the state will strip away half or more of their wealth when they die. So, they set up charitable foundations to promote their causes. This extends the kingdom of man, but in a less efficient way. Nonprofit organizations rarely innovate. They conserve. They fund conventional projects. They are run by bureaucrats.
There has never been a nonprofit organization with the dynamism of the institutional church. It gains the support of people without much money, but with dedication. It is decentralized. It crosses borders. It is truly international. It persists over time. It innovates. In terms of its millennia of success and systematic expansion, no other institution matches it.
So, the kingdom of man can prosper through voluntary exchange. The market makes covenant breakers wealthy. But there is no escape from this: the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous (Proverbs 13:22b).
When Christians decide that they want to win, they will win. Not in a snap, not without a struggle: but victory over Satan and his wicked, short-sighted, often ignorant and group-minded, and always foolish agents is definitely doable.
In history, and on earth.
But for as long as they remain lazy and fearful and faithless… so long as this is true…
Covenant keepers… offer no cures, only pain-killers. They lose their children to secular tax-funded education and the secular media. This is the heart, mind, and soul of the battle over inheritance: the loss of the next generation.
…for exactly that long Christians will be a-crawling and a-begging before their enemies.
God is displeased with the behaviour of Christians.
Time to change course.