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Power, Influence, Responsibility

From Gary North, Christian Economics: Student Edition: Chapter 16: Individual Covenant

This time, my comments are in italics.

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Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3–5).

Analysis

There is an innate desire in covenant-breaking people to avoid additional responsibility. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. It’s not my fault. It’s someone else’s fault. Yet at the same time, people want the blessings that always accompany responsibility. They want these blessings at zero cost or at least a steep discount.

I am a great believer in taking on additional responsibility. Taking on additional responsibility is an inescapable aspect of exercising dominion. I also take this attitude: as long as you are willing to take on additional responsibility, you might as well welcome the accompanying blessings. Use a share of these blessings as consumption items. But be sure to tithe, be sure to exercise charity, and be sure to save. I agree with John Wesley in Sermon 50 (1760): The Use of Money. He said this: gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can. But notice carefully: it takes additional responsibility to accomplish each of these goals.

We are not judicially responsible to God or man in those areas of life in which we have neither influence nor power. This is why everyone needs to take a careful inventory of those areas of life in which he has influence and power.

You are under the terms of four covenants: individual, family, church, and state. Only in rare cases are individuals outside of a family covenant: unmarried orphans. I assume that this is not you. I begin this section of this book with a discussion of the individual covenant. This is where you have the greatest responsibility. You know more about you than any other human being does. Where there is greater knowledge, there is greater responsibility (Luke 12:47–48).

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We are not responsible for the failure of our society.

But, we are responsible for our own failures: personally, familial, religious, and in work & business.

So, we should – after carefully counting the cost – work to change the things we can change. At a speed and price we can afford: year by year, decade by decade.

We have only a little power as children, but the seed is father to the tree. So we should grow as strong and straight as we can when we are a sapling, so we can become honest men, standing tall in the sight of God.

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You see yourself as a Christian. If you are a Christian, you have been baptized: an oath-sign. You have confirmed your judicial position covenantally, or else your parents did this on your behalf. You are therefore under the laws of the individual covenant. You are also under these laws’ sanctions. Furthermore, you take the Lord’s Supper: an oath-sign. Each Lord’s Supper renews your covenant. There is no escape. You are trapped. But you were also trapped under Adam’s covenant. We cannot escape from a personal covenant: either Adam’s or Christ’s. Christ’s is better.

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We are always under somebody’s authority.

Better to live and be governed under the authority of the just, holy, and reasonable King of Kings, Jesus Christ, than the arbitrary, lawless, and brutal (“anarcho-tyrannical”) authority of the enemies of God.

God is eternal. His enemies are not: the second death awaits them.

There is a difference between existing, and living.
God’s enemies will discover the difference.
Don’t be counted among them.

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A. Acknowledge God’s Sovereignty

Point one of the biblical covenant is God’s transcendence, but also His presence. It asks: “Who’s in charge here?” How does this apply to your economic affairs?

Every covenant has a sovereign. God is sovereign. There is no other. And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:1–3). God requires everyone to make this confession in history. Most people refuse. You have already confessed this publicly and judicially: baptism and communion. You must now think through every aspect of your life in terms of this confession. This includes economics.

God is sovereign over all economics. He is in control. This means that everyone must search the Bible to find out what God requires. Few people ever do this.

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To know what’s going on, you need to know Whose in charge.

And when you find your King, you need to know what His Commands are.

As you mature, you will gain a better sense of the Purpose he has, the Spirit behind the Law.

This allows a true Servant of God to make the right moves, when it comes to applying the general Law to a specific problem in life, time, and history.

Some servants need to be beaten, to chose the right thing. Others have a firm grasp of their Master’s will, and need only a touch, a hint, a bit of insight before knowing the right way forward.

Be a good servant to God. And He will be a good Father to you, His adopted child.

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You represent God in everything you do. Therefore, God’s public reputation is at stake. Covenant-breakers are ready to show contempt for God by way of showing contempt for you. Do not give them any opportunity by providing good cause for their scorn. Jesus provided the model in his representation of God the Father (John 14:8–9).

The strategy of dominion is service. This makes it more difficult for critics to criticize God by criticizing you. If you care for the weak and give to the poor, you will gain support, sometimes grudging. Grudging support is still support.

Power and influence flow to those who exercise responsibility. Most people prefer to limit their exposure to uncertainty. They prefer avoiding the limelight whenever public failure is a possibility. They want to avoid failure, but especially public failure. They fear the public’s imputation: “Loser!” They ignore God’s imputation: “Courageous!” God’s imputation is not yet public. So, they do not take responsibility when it is available. Yet there can be no organization or society that is not exposed to the uncertainties of life. So, there will always be opportunities to bear responsibility. Who will take charge? Covenant-keepers or covenant-breakers?

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I do not believe that King Jesus has any intention of allowing a lying, murderous thief – and that liar’s willing servants – to keep his illegal hold on the nations and the world of men.

The wicked are going to lose – regardless of how they boast, and regardless of the whining chorus of despair that can be heard in far too many churches, from both pew and pulpit.

Engrave the below in your mind:

“The strategy of dominion is service. This makes it more difficult for critics to criticize God by criticizing you. If you care for the weak and give to the poor, you will gain support, sometimes grudging. Grudging support is still support.”

Know it. Live it.

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Continue your upward path to positions of influence, and perhaps even power. Do not grab the robes of authority prematurely. That was Adam’s sin. Here is the model.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:7–11).

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Start small. Dream big. Work hard.

Earn your victories.

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You must stop asking the government for handouts. Do not vote for them. Do not support political candidates who promise them. Most important, you must stop deceiving yourself. You must stop trying to justify these handouts. You must stop saying to yourself: These are not political handouts. They are owed to me. They are moral obligations on the part of the government. Handouts are what all those other special-interest groups want. I am not like them. I am morally superior. My cause is morally superior to theirs. I deserve the money. So does my cause. No, you aren’t morally superior. No, you don’t deserve the money. No, your cause doesn’t, either.

Stop voting for government handouts of any kind.

[…]

Never vote for a bond issue that is not solving a true emergency. If some predictable project is worth doing, the government should have the money saved up to pay for it. Bond issues subsidize governments that refuse to set money aside. Governments ask for loans when they need extra money. They do not plan ahead. This is also what alcoholics do. It is what bums do.

There are private forms of theft. People borrow, but they do not repay. Here is what the psalmist said: The wicked borrows but does not pay back (Psalm 37:21a). This is a widespread sin in Christian circles. If you agree to do something, do it. If you sign a contract, fulfill it.

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Christians must live straight in their private lives.

And in their own business and jobs.

As this is done, and we hate and stop our own private theft, then we (or our descendants!) will in time get an opportunity to put an end to “legal”, socialist-welfare state theft.

The first must be done, before we can do the second.

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By paying your tithe to your local congregation, you do the following. First, you acknowledge that God is the source of your money. Second, you acknowledge that God has a legal claim on 10% as a covenantal obligation. Third, you acknowledge that the local congregation represents God covenantally. You are not lawfully in control over where this money goes. God is. He has designated the church: the common storehouse. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need (Malachi 3:11). There is only one designated storehouse. You choose which church to join. That is the limit of your authority to choose where your tithe money goes.

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While I do support the tithe, I don’t claim to have found a biblical basis to claim that it must be given to the institutional church. To understand North’s reasoning, see The Covenantal Tithe.

Note that I find Bojidar Marinov’s reasoning for refusing to back a divinely mandated tithe to the institutional church (as opposed to the church as the general Body of Christ) rather persuasive in his book One Holy Local Church?

That being said, I am a member of a denomination, attend church, do give the tithe, and am blessed for doing so.

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Point five of the biblical covenant is inheritance. It asks: “Does this outfit have a future?” How does this apply to your economic affairs?

You have a moral obligation to leave an inheritance to your covenant-keeping children. There should be no debate over this. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous (Proverbs 13:22).

To leave an inheritance means that you must save more money than you spend. You must also invest wisely, so as not to lose this money. Every generation owes this to at least two generations down the covenant line: children’s children.

[…]

Even more important than money as a legacy is a Christian education. Parents should be sure that their children know the difference between secular humanism and Christianity. This is especially true in the debate over creationism vs. Darwinian evolution. Children should understand that the two worldviews are not compatible. The tax-funded public schools teach evolutionism. In the United States, teaching any view other than evolutionism is prohibited by law.

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Money is good, but understand how reality works is better.

Having both is best.

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Each individual is responsible before God to bring his thoughts and deeds into conformity to biblical law. This includes economics.

Each individual is also required to think through the presuppositions and implications of whatever he has been taught about how the world works. If he has been taught by evolutionists, he has a lot of re-thinking to do.

This book is my attempt to think through economics from a creationist, providentialist, anti-evolution mindset. Evolutionists have discovered accurate facts about how the world works. They have offered theories of how the world works that are compatible with what Christianity teaches. “You shall not steal means” much the same for a free market humanist as it does–or should–to a Christian. But when it comes to explaining why we should not steal, and what we risk if we do steal, the humanist economist and the Christian economist do not agree. When Adam Smith wrote about the invisible hand, he did not have in mind this invisible hand: “Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters, from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood” (Psalm 144:7-8).

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Don’t fall for the sin that poisoned Adam and all his descendants, and also murdered uncounted millions in history.

(Communism’s 100 million+ death toll is only a portion of all those who died because their wealth, lives, and liberty were unlawfully stolen from them.)

Don’t steal.

And don’t steal your stuff back, either.

Buy your stuff, your liberty, your prosperity back.

Christ redeems – buys back – what is stolen, giving His life to God the Father for the evil we did.

(Satan is a squatter, on stolen land, stolen lives, stolen wealth. He gets nothing.)

We are to follow the example Christ set for us, as true adopted brothers and sisters of the Only Begotten Son of God.

Who Raised Up the Welfare-State Idol?

We live in the era of the welfare state. This state is inherently messianic. It promises to heal. It is a false god. I have explained why this is the case in Part 2. It is therefore the responsibility of members of each of the four covenants to reject the claims of the modern welfare state. Each individual is required by God to do what he can to overturn this modern god.

Gary North, in Christian Economics: Student’s Edition. Introduction to Part 4: Covenantal Reform

This controlling idol weighing down on us, destroying our liberty, growth, future: where did it came from?

Even if it was a left-wing conspiracy, no such conspiracy could come to fruition in a democratic state, without the votes.

If churches had not defected with respect to the preaching of the gospel and the preaching of the covenant, the once-Christian West would not be in the present disastrous situation in which it finds itself. The modern welfare state would not have come into existence. The bankruptcy-producing unfunded liabilities of the West’s national governments to fund old-age retirement plans and health care for the aged were voted into existence by politicians elected by Christians. If pastors had preached the laws of Christian economics, and if church members had believed them, this would not have happened. But the pastors did not preach this, so the welfare state gained support from the broad masses of Christians. From 1885 on, the idea of the welfare state began to gain support of pastors in large Northern Protestant denominations in the United States. This new theology was known as the social gospel. It was dominant in the large Northern Protestant denominations by 1925.

Gary North, in Christian Economics: Student’s Edition. Introduction to Part 4: Covenantal Reform

We raised it up, with our own two hands.

Just as the Israelites raised up the Asherah poles, and sacrificed their children to Moloch.

Note that the Old Believers murdered far fewer of their children than Christian societies do; and did not raise up schools to teach atheism, paid for by believers who loved “free daycare”, and couldn’t care less about what the kids were learning.

And the Old Believers lived long enough to get stomped on, under the heel of Assyria and Babylon… and Rome.

We should have torn down those poles and stopped the murder (physical and spiritual) of children long ago.

As it is, God is going to stop it Himself, to defend His name. And Christians will get none of the glory or the power of His act as He overthrows the ruling idol of the age.

To the contrary: we are far more likely to get the reward of traitors. No different than the rebellious believers who died in the desert, never entering the promised land.

It’s time to return to the gospel.

A Superstition of the Social Elite

From Uncommon Descent’s Religion, science, … and the religion of science facing COVID-19

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The religion of science has seemed strikingly evident in the COVID-19 outbreak. Commenting on the difficulty observant Jews have faced during the lockdowns in New York, a thoughtful writer notes:

If you believe in it—truly, deeply, and unequivocally—you understand that science isn’t a faith-based system. It cares little for politics or virtues. It’s a blissfully agnostic methodology that makes guesses, compares them with available evidence, and amends, alters, or rejects them based on results. So, if you’re being true to science, say, here’s how you should be thinking about public gatherings: Are they unsafe? Then they’re as unsafe for the proponents of Black Lives just as they are for the Satmars. Are they safe under some conditions? Then let us be clear about precisely what these conditions are.

Take, for example, Gov. Cuomo’s decree that no more than 10 people are allowed in a house of worship at any given time. If you possess even a modicum of common sense, you realize that this idea is, at its core, profoundly anti-scientific, as it has nothing to say about the size of the house of worship in question. Ten people in a small one-room shtiebel is a real risk; 10 people in a grand synagogue built to seat thousands is a real farce. A governor serious about science and public safety rather than about seizing power would’ve understood that and acted accordingly, offering guidelines that were sensible and measured and concrete. The only ones pointing out this travesty are the Haredim.

Liel Leibovitz, “Religion, Science, and the Religion of Science” at Tablet

During the COVID crisis, a great deal of the blather for science made no sense at all, a fact that is becoming more and more evident.

People won’t immediately give up believing in science as a result. Rather, they will begin to treat it as the superstition of the social elite. It doesn’t make sense and doesn’t need to. It is wisely got around wherever possible.

That’s not what science used to be but that’s what many policy decisions have made it.

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“The Right Sort says that it is true. Therefore, it is true.”

Well, so long as there is a fat supply of treats, to keep the public quiet.

And when the treats run out…

“A humanities scholar gets a clue about what Darwinism IS”

From Uncommon Descent, A humanities scholar gets a clue about what Darwinism IS

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Enjoy the moment:

So what should be said about Darwinism’s implications? Here are some options.

1. It can only describe the natural world, so keep it separate from human concerns, which you learn about in civics class or Sunday school. (Gould’s view.)

2. It explains everything in nature and rules out God, but we can make our own purposes because we evolved to do so. Phew. (Dawkins’ view.)

3. If Darwinism were true it certainly would destroy all human purpose and meaning, and we’d be left with nihilism. Luckily it isn’t true and the irreducible complexity of living things is evidence of a designer. Phew. (Intelligent design.)

4. The neo-Darwinian orthodoxy is too harsh. We need to promote a non-supernatural but still more expansive version of Darwinism that allows for life’s creativity and agency. (Some advocates of a scientifically respectable version of vitalism and some people’s take on the extended evolutionary synthesis.)

5. Darwinism appears to be nihilistic because it is. Its baleful implications for politics and morality are an important part of the theory and the sooner we take the bitter pill the better. (Rosenberg’s view.)

Most science communicators would defend a version of 1 or 2. A lot of science communication is underwritten by a democratic ethos. The public ought to be informed about science so that they can have more agency in their lives and participate in a scientifically advanced democracy. Admirable. But this is exactly the kind of ought statement that science is supposed to be silent about and also the kind that Darwinism—if the hard cases are right—eliminates.

Jamie Milton Freestone, “Does Darwinism Conflict with Religion?” at Areo

Hey, here, we were all waiting for Freestone to try out the CLUNK!! on us: “If you believe in God, well, rejoice! God can use Darwinism too!”

Luckily, we didn’t hear it. We are sick of certifying idiots. For one thing, we’ve run out of certificates. And anyhow, Freestone doesn’t sound like an idiot.

He indicates that he is writing a book on “non-supernatural meaning.” It might be worth looking at if he has got so far as to understand that there is a real conflict between Darwinism and any traditional idea of meaning or morality. Lots of Christian evolutionists have yet to figure that out.

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Christian evolutionists always stay at the back of the secular bus, with their “me too!” chanting.

But I’m not too worried: they will be increasingly forced to decide between their Christianity and Darwinism, and I’m confident that they will pick the side that they see puts food on their table, and pays for the mortgage.

It is the truth – and the future – that interests me. Not safety and conformity and enjoying the crumbs that fall of the table of the Darwinian – and, thus, pointedly humanistic/secularist – establishment.

(I was going to say “atheistic.” But when the solid majority of Darwinians agree that men can be women if the State says so, then it is obvious that Darwinians do believe in a deity that changes reality merely by saying so.

Just a naturalistic deity, not a supernaturalistic one.)

From the comments:

polistra

Freestone writes with a truly objective and neutral viewpoint that has RARELY been seen in “science” writing since 1946. Bravo.

However: I doubt that other science communicators are aiming to improve the public’s ‘participation’ and ‘agency’. They are aiming to imprison and kill heretics.

I know that they would love to do so, and would do so… if there wasn’t a Great Default and an increasing level of tech-driven decentralization bearing down on us.

Two Great Defaults, actually:

  • the financial one that destroys the budget of the government (first the local government, and then the national one).
  • the demographic one that ages and destroys the economy: at first slowly, then slowly, then *poof* all gone. I like to point to Japan for this, but all of East Asia fits (except North Korea). The Ukraine and Eastern Europe are going down this road as well.

The dreams of eternal power, centralized in the right hands, dies before out eyes.

And I am confident that the vast majority of Christians, lacking eyes of faith, don’t see the doom and impending failure of their enemies. They just see how much power their enemies have today, and fear their Betters a lot more than they fear God.

The Leftist Homeschooler

The Modern War on Self-Government
by Bojidar Marinov

The original American rugged individualism didn’t come out of the blue. It was the product of 17 centuries of development of Christian doctrine and worldview, as well as the teachings of the Reformation and its view of the priestly status of the individual man under God. Our politicians and churchmen today hate it; they hate it because they hate the Christian doctrine and the Christian worldview that created that individualism. In order for the modern elites to thwart God’s Dominion Mandate to man, they need to replace it with the state’s power domination over man. But a self-governing man under God is not subject to power domination; and this made Christianity dangerous for the Roman Empire, and for the modern pagan tyrants as well. And we better keep it dangerous.

Being dangerous to crushing, delusional, self-exalting tyrannies sounds… appealing.

From the article:

With the election campaign going full steam these days, a quote has been dug out of Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village,” a book that was very self-consciously written to oppose the growing popularity of the homeschool movement. What most of us don’t realize is that Hillary Clinton didn’t write this book to influence conservatives or Christians; she is too smart for deluding herself in such a pathetic way. The book was designed to stop the growth of familistic individualism among the leftist voters, where many parents who grew up out of the hippie movement of the 1960s, and therefore naturally suspicious of any government, started imitating Christian homeschoolers. It was this trend that was – and still is – alarming for liberal politicians, for the children who grow up as individuals in a home will always be instinctively anti-statist and anti-establishment, no matter what their political convictions are. Hillary’s book was designed to restore the vision of a collectivist society among these leftist parents – a collectivist society based not on voluntary, independent communes but on the coercive and taxing power of the state.

The quote said this: “I believe the primary role of the state is to teach, train, and raise children. Parents have a secondary role.”

Hmm. An interesting point of view to consider.

Christians have explicitly chosen to resign the difficult position of leadership, in preference for a position of the comfortable, low-effort position of servant to the Powerful.

But God’s work MUST be done.

So if His chosen instruments decide to be hard-core, stiff-necked slackers, then He will turn to other tools to reach His goals.

And reward them with the blessings Christians chose to forfeit.

God Demands Service

Two Families

There are two branches of the human family: adopted heirs and disinherited members. They compete for wealth in history, but they also compete in all other areas of life. Economic competition is readily understandable. This is why Jesus preached what I call pocketbook parables. He knew that his listeners would get the point faster and clearer this way.

The two families compete with each other in history. It is the competition between two kingdoms. The two kingdoms represent God and mammon. Jesus said: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24: King James Version). Mammon was a Syrian god of wealth. The English Standard Version translation reads: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The word mammon implies more than money. It means riches in general. I interpret it as follows: “more for me in history.”

Gary North, Christian Economics, Student Edition. Chapter 12: Disinheritance

Our Betters like “more for me in history”: not just money, but power over others, especially those repulsive Christians.

I much prefer “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

or even “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

“Competition is evil, destructive, and wasteful, too!”

The issue here is competition between the kingdom of God vs. the kingdom of man. It manifests itself in every area of life. But this competition is seen above all in the realm of economics. The dividing line is covenantal representation: point two of the biblical covenant. The dividing line is not riches vs. poverty. It is riches on behalf of God vs. riches on behalf of man. This also applies to institutions. It is covenantal conflict. It is a war to the death. But this war is seen in economic affairs as competition.

Socialists always said this: “There should be cooperation, not competition.” This meant that they wanted politically appointed central planners to decide who gets what and on what terms. Then the masses without power or independent sources of money were supposed to cooperate with the central planners by accepting whatever resources the planners allocate without complaint. This system of allocation invariably led to tyranny: monopoly control by political elite. It also led to falling production and widespread poverty. This was why socialism was abandoned in practice and then in theory in the final quarter of the twentieth century. Men put up with tyranny, but they would not put up with socialist poverty in the midst of capitalist plenty. China abandoned socialist ownership in the late 1970s. The Soviet Union shut down on December 25, 1991.

Competition in economics is always based on an offer: “Buy this from me, not from someone else.” It is analogous to marriage: “Marry me, not someone else.” It is analogous to church membership: “Join our church, not another one.” It is analogous to politics: “Vote for me, not someone else.” Competition is basic to life. It is inescapable.

Rival economic systems are in competition. So are rival businesses. So are rival economic theories. Ultimately, rival confessions of faith are in competition. This is not well understood in the modern era of humanism, which preaches the religious neutrality of economics, politics, education, and all other areas of public life outside the four walls of the church. Neutrality is a myth.

Gary North, Christian Economics, Student Edition. Chapter 12: Disinheritance

Fewer and fewer people choose to be as gullible as Western Christians are before their enemies.

Good to see.

Victory by Service

A. Incarnation

Point one of the biblical covenant is God’s transcendence, yet also His presence. This is the biblical concept of God’s original sovereignty. It asks: “Who’s in charge here?” How does this apply to the idea of service?

The Christian doctrine of authority by means of service begins with the doctrine of the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity in the Person of Jesus Christ.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:3–11).

The incarnation involved the ultimate service by the ultimate Being. This service was unto death: the supreme sacrifice for others. Yet this was not designed to humiliate Jesus permanently. On the contrary, it was designed to elevate Him.

Gary North, Christian Economics, Student Edition. Chapter 12: Disinheritance

Jesus was brought very low, to be brought very high.

As it is with the Master, so it is with His Servants.

Temporary (if extremely real) pain, permanent reward.

The path of incarnation was this: God became a man, who surrendered power to the state and the church of His day, thereby establishing the judicial foundation of total authority. As the resurrected Jesus announced to the disciples,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).

When Jesus contrasted the way to authority in the church vs. the way to authority among the gentiles, He was presenting a model of dominion. It was the same model that God had established for the redemption of mankind. This is God’s way to overcome the kingdom of Satan, which is the kingdom of self-proclaimed autonomous man. The competition between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man is not based on power. It is based on ethics. Might does not make right. Right eventually makes might. But it takes time for covenant-keepers to figure this out. They read it. Jesus taught it. But they find it difficult to believe. It is not the familiar way of autonomous man.

Gary North, Christian Economics, Student Edition. Chapter 12: Disinheritance

“The competition between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man is not based on power. It is based on ethics. Might does not make right. Right eventually makes might. But it takes time for covenant-keepers to figure this out.”

This fact is slowly becoming clear in history. But it still takes some effort to draw out.

After all, we live in an era where millions of Westerners revere the State highly enough to insist that a man is a woman just on the State’s say-so.

Machine guns, mainstream media noise machines, and openly contemptuous legal bureaucracies don’t change reality. But I don’t think Our Betters really care about reality: they just care about Obedience and Submission.

“It’s important to get the masses – especially those moronic Christians – to spout obvious lies. It destroys their integrity and sanity, while maximizing our power and authority.”

There will come a time when Our Superiors really do believe their propaganda, that their mere word shapes reality. When their delusions are not merely geared to keep Christians in their place, but are seen as truly powerful mystical word-magic.

“We REALLY ARE as God! Our word REALLY DOES reshape reality to our will!”

Stay out of the impact zone when that happens.

God Demands Service: The Details

B. Four-Way Authority

Point two of the biblical covenant is hierarchical authority. It has to do with God’s delegation of limited sovereignty to man: the dominion covenant. How does this apply to the idea of service?

Covenantal authority is both hierarchical and horizontal. This fact is not intuitive.

Authority brings responsibility. To whom is someone in authority responsible? First and foremost, he is responsible to God. God is sovereign. He is the Creator. He providentially maintains the creation. He brings preliminary judgments in history. He answers prayers. He brings final judgment. He is in charge. This is standard Christian doctrine. It is not controversial.

God demands service to others as the means of demonstrating allegiance to Him. In the passage on the final judgment, Jesus said:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, aI was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:31–40).

The covenantal doctrine of authority is inherently a doctrine of representation. Jesus made it clear: the poor are representatives of God. How people treat the weak and poor reflects their view of God’s treatment of them. Covenant-keepers perceive that they are weak and poor in the sight of God. So, there must be submission upward. But this is demonstrated by service downward: service to those who cannot repay.

There is more. There is also service outward. We serve those who can repay. In voluntary exchanges, this service is immediately repaid. Adam Smith put it famously in Wealth of Nations.

“But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens” (Book 1, Chap. 2, para. 2).

So, we must serve others. Why? Because we want their cooperation. Why? Because we need help. This leads us to a consideration of the fourth authority: ourselves. We are self-interested. This means there is service inward. Smith grounded his book on this crucial insight. We serve in order that we may be served. We are all buyers. We are all sellers. We need help. To obtain it, we offer help.

In covenantal economics, covenant-keepers are told to serve others. But this service need not be a one-way street in every case, or even in most cases. There is mutually advantageous service. It is negotiated for the sake of our own goals and comforts, and also for those under our jurisdiction.

Don’t be a dependent beggar.

Stand on your own two feet, and get paid what you’re worth.

THEN, you can help others get on their feet, and stand like a freeman.

Regardless of what Our Betters want.

Science, Engineering, and the Kingdom of God |
by Bojidar Marinov

Social visibility doesn’t influence culture. Only service does.

Real Tyranny for Supposed Safety

As is so often the case, the poorer parts of the world fare worse than the wealthier parts. Thus, the economic devastation reaped by business closures and forced lockdowns will endanger even more lives in Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, than will be the case in the wealthy West.

But, as we’ve noted here at mises.org, the West is hardly immune to the negative effects. Even before the current recession, we knew that impoverishment and unemployment leads to greater mortality from a variety of causes, including heart disease and strokes. With imposed isolation on top of economic carnage come deaths from suicides, drug overdoses, and untreated medical conditions.

These latest admissions from WHO personnel represent a grudging admission that the health officials acted without evidence or a consideration of the costs when they demanded lockdowns with little regard for the effects. This should not be interpreted as an about-face, however. We shouldn’t expect any officials to actually surrender their prerogatives to coercively shut down economies and force people into their homes using police and military personnel. Bureaucrats, of course, relish this sort of power.

[…]

Anthony Fauci, for example, claimed that no easing in lockdowns could be allowed until there were “essentially no new cases, no deaths for a period of time.” Given the widespread problem of false positives, what this really meant is that lockdowns can never be scaled back. 

There is little doubt that governments that listened to people like Fauci would have preferred to impose lockdowns indefinitely. We’ve seen the ideal—from the politicians’ perspective—at work in Australia, where citizens suffer under harsh lockdown rules, police arrest citizens for expressing opposition to lockdowns, and harass old women for sitting on park benches. Police have also described smashing car windows and dragging the drivers onto the street for not being able to produce special documentation allowing them to leave their homes.

Fortunately, few governments have been able to pull this off. In many countries, this inability to force everyone into their homes has resulted from simple economic need. In poorer economies, much of the population lives hand to mouth and without substantial welfare programs. It’s simply not plausible to expect a subsistence-level shopkeeper in Mexico to sit at home and literally starve in order to comply with a stay-at-home order. In Argentina, for example, the shutdowns have accomplished nothing other than mass impoverishment as deaths mount. Peru is dealing with a similar fate even though the nation’s government was lauded for its early and severe lockdown measures. Peru now has among the worst total deaths per capita.

Even WHO Officials Now Admit Lockdowns Are Extreme Policies with Disastrous Results by Ryan McMaken

All in the name of power.

Because it isn’t for the safety, prosperity, happiness, liberty, or protection of the protection.

Obviously.

Covenant Keepers, Covenant Breakers, and Capital

Gary North, Christian Economics, Student Edition. Chapter 10: Disinheritance

After discussing

  • Esau attempt – and divinely ordained failure – to steal the inheritance of Jacob
  • Jesus deciding that the meek before God will inherit the Earth…

—<Quote begins>—

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).

—<Quote ends>—

My summary:

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.

The Fact-free COVID Dystopia

Let’s see how long this bit of Forbidden Knowledge stays up on YouTube.

Remember the old days, when the concern was that we don’t want to overwhelm the hospitals?

We can’t cure this thing, but at least we can get the hospitals in the condition they need to be in, and allow them to cope with reasonable numbers of people. And we will flatten out the number of hospitalizations and deaths over time, so has to allow the hospitals to cope with them rather than allowing everybody to arrive at the hospital all at once.

OK.

Then, you start to see on social media all your friends saying “the hospitals are overwhelmed.” It was like a memo had gone out that the word we were all going to use was ‘overwhelmed’. Like your friends couldn’t even be creative enough to come up with a different word, they all had the same word “the hospitals were overwhelmed,” because their other friends said “the hospitals were overwhelmed,” because the other friend said that.

What actually happened was that, in April alone, 1.4 million jobs in health care were lost. Because far from being overwhelmed, the hospitals were mostly empty.

The mainstream media are a pack of mechanically obedient filthy liars.

Eager, willing tools of Powerful Men looking to extend their budgets and power.

It will be a joyous day, when the masses decide to simply ignore whatever they say. A day that is coming swiftly.

Polytheistic Incoherence

From Chapter Seven of Christian Economics: Student Edition

{My words in bold curly brackets.}

—<Quote begins>—

Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, The voice of a god, and not of a man! Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied (Acts 12:20–24).

Analysis

Point two of the biblical covenant is hierarchical authority. It has to do with God’s delegation of limited sovereignty to man: the dominion covenant. Mankind represents God judicially. Each individual also represents God in his temporary sphere of authority, which is a legal jurisdiction. He speaks in the name of God. He is responsible to God. This is a judicial hierarchy.

The English word hierarchy comes from the Greek word for priest, hieros, and the Greek word for ruler, archon.

Herod was in a position to impose authoritative law in the name of God. Instead, he spoke an authoritative word in his own name. He died a non-authoritative death. This is the arrogance of autonomy in action. King Nebuchadnezzar learned this lesson, and he testified to it in Daniel 4, which he wrote. Herod did not learn this lesson.

The English word autonomy in a transliteration of the Greek word for self, autos, and the Greek word for law, nomos. Autonomy means self-law.

—<Quote ends>—

{Dying a “non-authoritative death” is a tough thing.

Better to die in obedience to God.

Way better.}

—<Quote begins>—

A. Polytheism

Point one of the biblical covenant is sovereignty. It asks: “Who’s in charge here?” How does this apply to autonomy?

If God does not rule the world as the Creator and Providential Sustainer of the world, then what does?

The Darwinist argues that nothing did until man evolved out of non-man. Man now imputes purpose. He plans. He executes plans. The formerly purposeless universe now has purpose.

Hardly anyone has ever believed this. Anyone who argues in this fashion is doomed to a life of frustration. No religion teaches it. No ethical system teaches it. Only a handful of university graduates teach it to their children. It is the argument of a fool. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1a).

In contrast, polytheism has had lots of supporters in history. This is the product of their rebellion.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (Romans 1:18–22).

—<Quote ends>—

{Atheism – and it’s modern enabler, Darwinism – are on their way out.

The polytheists will try to make a comeback: but their vision doesn’t work well in the real world. (Even though it’s far closer to reality than atheistic/Darwinian materialism!)

The future belongs to Christ, His Law-Word, and His people.}

—<Quote begins>—

Atheists are operational polytheists. If God is not God, then man is. But man is plural, not just a single species. One person’s opinions are as good as any other person’s views, defenders of democracy insist. Each person imputes meaning and coherence to the world around him. Who is to say any of these imputed realities is incorrect? Problem: there is no way to use logic and persuasion to shape these rival imputations into a coherent unity. The competing worldviews of men have proven to be irreconcilable. So, he who wants to attain unity must use coercive force. Every political system operates on the basis of a book and guns to enforce it. There is no agreement on which book possesses autonomous authority.

—<Quote ends>—

{I’m fairly sure that there will be an agreement on which book has Divine authority, during the next thousand years.

As the Kingdom of God triumphs over all, there will be less and less need to call on guns to enforce it’s authority, to punish/suppress the thief, the kidnapper, the murderer.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9, English Standard Version

And the entire world – and any world we colonize, any station we inhabit – will be part of God’s Holy Mountain.}

—<Quote begins>—

With many gods there are many hierarchies, many legal systems, many sanctions, and many futures. Systems come, but most of them fade away. A few persist. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam deny polytheism. Hinduism affirms it. Buddhism is either polytheistic or atheistic, depending on the variety. Confucianism doesn’t care. Marxism is atheistic. That experiment went belly-up in 1991. Darwinism is atheistic. Few people believe it. But most economists do.

If the universe is autonomous but without purpose apart from mankind, then man must impose order. But there is a problem. Man evolved out of autonomous nature, Darwinists tell us. Mankind is therefore under the laws of nature. Some scientists say that they understand these laws. Conclusion: these elite planners must be the ones to bring social order and scientific progress. They shout: Man must take control of man! That means that a few men must take control of all the others, a point made by a power-seeking atheist in a 1946 novel by Christian theologian C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength. This is operational polytheism: lots of competing scientific gods, each seeking to impose his order on the rest of humanity. Sometimes the gods cooperate, as the Olympian gods did occasionally. Usually, the gods of Olympus were at war with each other, by way of men and women in history.

—<Quote ends>—

{“Man must take control of man! That means that a few men must take control of all the others, a point made by a power-seeking atheist in a 1946 novel by Christian theologian C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength.”

As this becomes more well-known, Darwin will hit, then pass, its sell-by date.
(If it hasn’t already!)

The current, ongoing politicization of science will merely accelerate the process.}

—<Quote begins>—

Conclusion

Covenant-breaking man began with an assumption: God is not sovereign. This was followed by another assumption: There are many gods. This was followed by a third assumption: Man must test which self-professed god is sovereign. This led to a conclusion: Man is sovereign, since his tests are authoritative. This led to the final conclusion: Man is autonomous. This created an immediate problem: there are many men and many views of truth. Cain and Abel divided over this issue (Genesis 4). How can men come to agreed-upon solutions to this problem, which is the problem of noise? There has been no solution offered so far that has begun to bring theoretical unity out of theoretical diversity in any area of life.

The assumption of men’s autonomy has shattered theoretical unity. This has affected the science of economics as profoundly as it has affected every other social science. There is no agreement regarding economic theory. There has been no agreement on economic policy. If methodological individualism is true, there can never be any agreement on policy. This is because it is impossible to make scientific interpersonal comparisons of subjective utility. It is impossible to add up gains and losses. Value is subjective. It cannot be measured. Humanistic economic theory has reached a dead end.

—<Quote ends>—

{The corps of humanist economic theory is beginning to stink up the place.

Time to ditch it.}