Book Plunge: Capitalism and the Historians

What do I think of this book published by University of Chicago Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Being in ministry, sometimes it’s thought among my fellow Christians that you only really need to study things related to your job and then the Bible. You might add in philosophy and history. If you’re married, you could include marriage. Some form of self-help could apply, but why do Christians need to bother themselves with issues like politics or economics or even science?

This is a great weakness of ours.

This is our Father’s world and that includes not just the history and philosophy of it nor what is found in the Bible, but also economic theory and political theory and science. This time, I’m going to be focusing on economic theory since this is a book about capitalism. Why should a Christian read something like this?

We should because if we want to know how best to use the resources we have been given efficiently, we need a good study of economics. Note I didn’t say use of money but use of resources. Money is a resource, but economics is about more than just money.

How do we best reach the poor and help them? Is it through Capitalism or through Socialism? What is the big problem with Communism? Considering the political upheaval in America now, we need to know more about these.

So you read a book like this. This book looks at the way intellectuals and historians have looked at Capitalism. Many of these approaches made make tremendous mistakes and the book strives to point them out. Note that these are written by intellectuals for intellectuals. This is not a simple read for someone wanting a casual entry into the subject. Such a person would be better served by a book such as Economics in One Lesson.

It’s fascinating to find out how many intellectuals can really take a shallow approach to issues in economics and just go from that basis. This isn’t just about our own modern times, but times shortly after the Industrial Revolution. How did Capitalism play a role in that? What about factory labor and child labor?

If there’s any lesson to learn here, it’s to try to go back to the original sources first. That is not done enough. Right now, we in America have been blessed greatly by having a Capitalist economy. It’s my fear that if we move away from that, we will move away from so much that makes us a great nation. I sincerely hope that more people, especially Christians, will read more on economic theory, which includes books like this one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

A Response To “Jesus Was A Liberal”

Does the Bible show a liberal Jesus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I don’t often go into political ideas here, but when it comes to Scripture, I’m more likely to make an exception. I am a conservative up front, yet I found this page I saw through Facebook recently quite troubling. It was a lot of the bad reading of Scripture that I’ve expected to see and the sad part is I’m sure the authors think it’s totally convincing as do many of the readers.

So let’s get into it. Will I as a Christian right-winger hate these twenty verses? Let’s find out.

“Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” John 13:16.

What we are told is that Christian right-wingers like to have class distinctions. After all, we favor stealing from the poor and giving to the rich and forget the middle class. Well, no. Jesus is not saying anything about a classless society. In fact, in the very passage, he says it is right that his disciples call Him Lord and Master. In the same way that He is their Lord and Master, they ought also to serve one another.

Something people on the left regularly seem to get incorrect is the idea of intent. They think that if they have good intentions, then the results will be good. Conservatives don’t see that. We realize that the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. We’re not interested in where someone’s heart is when they come up with a plan to help the poor. We’re interested in if it works.

LBJ’s war on poverty has been going on for fifty years. It has not been working. We need something different.

As for government programs, my wife and I have to rely on some of those right now due to her disability. I don’t like that. Neither does she. I’m one of the poor spoken of, and I’m a conservative because policies of the left only make it harder for us. The right doesn’t want to give me the same outcome as everyone else. They want to give me the same opportunity. I’d rather have that.

Next one is this passage.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2

We all knew this one would show up. Of course, the writer of the piece then goes on to complain about the attitudes of Christians towards anyone who isn’t a rich white male. Naturally, the author can’t help but make a judgment about those she disagrees with. Jesus is making a statement about judging without evidence. Hypocritical judging is the problem.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Luke 6:41.

Of course, the anti-judgmental writer wants us to realize that we talk about the sanctity of marriage, but go on to cheat on our spouses and seek gay sex and other such things. Well to be fair, yes. There are hypocrites out there. How does that prove the idea is wrong? It doesn’t. As for myself, the writer can rest assured by listening to those who know me that I am a man who honors my wife and does not cheat on her or anything like that. In fact, I have said that if the world does not honor the sanctity of marriage, it’s because the church helped lead the way.

So no. Once again, this is not a verse I hate.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

The writer uses this to show how conservatives are the first to go to war. Well sometimes, we think war is a necessary evil. The Old Testament that Jesus believed in and affirmed contained many examples of righteous warriors. No one should like war. No one should delight in war, but unfortunately not every evil person out there responds to peace and love. Sometimes restoring the peace means eliminating those who war against it.

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

This is supposed to make Jesus look like a hippie, but conservatives oppose government aid. Well not necessarily. Even a number of conservatives have no problem with a safety net. I don’t. We should be able to help those who through tragedy have fallen on hard times. Of course, I do think that larger responsibility should go to the church.

What Jesus is talking about is living in a society where you lived from day to day. There weren’t grocery stores where you could buy food in bulk and refrigerators where it could be hold. You also didn’t have safety-deposit boxes at your bank to make sure nothing happened to your wealth. In this case, a person was to trust on God, but at the same time there is no call to stop working.

Many people on the left look at how many people are being cared for and consider that a success. I don’t. I consider it a success when we take someone who has fallen and empower them so that they no longer need our support. More people needing support indicates more of a problem.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Somehow, this is meant to show we have a war on women. Actually, I think people who are pro-abortion are really engaging in a war on women. Something that makes women unique is their ability to give birth. Destroying the baby in the womb (Which could about 50% of the time be a woman being killed by the way) is a way of going against the femininity of the woman. I really think the author is making a major stretch with this one.

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 1 John 3:17

The writer asks us how we can see the verse and not support programs that give government aid and support tax cuts for the rich. It’s really simple. We don’t think many of these programs work and they in fact only enable what we don’t want to see. We think the war on poverty has been a failure and just throwing money at a problem won’t solve it. We believe the rich are the ones who can invest the most in society and when we enable them to do that, the economy is built up. Note also that this is about individuals giving to those in need. It’s not about having the government do it.

Suppose you are a rich person and I come and rob you at gunpoint, take all your money, and give it all to a homeless shelter. Have I committed a crime? Yes. You can say I did something good with the money, but I still did something wrong. I didn’t give my money. I gave yours. It’s just as wrong when the government does it as when we do it.

What is noble is if you’re that rich person and you give that money to the homeless shelter. It is not noble to take money from others and give it away and claim you’re a person of charity. That is a way of saying you can do whatever you want as long as you have good intentions.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Matthew 9:35

How does this one work? Well since Jesus healed diseases, we should support government health-care. Yeah. It’s a major stretch. Jesus gave freely of himself. Government health care is not doing that. We freely admit we have a problem, but the solution is not to look to the government to be our savior. I favor other options such as allowing states to compete with one another for health care. Let people compete with one another.

In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matthew 23:28

This is said to describe conservatives to a T. Let me just remind the writer that she earlier pointed to Matthew 7:1-2. Apparently, she’s allowed to do it but no one else is.

14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves,and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:14-16.

Ah. Now we see what makes Jesus really angry. Capitalism! Yes. It wasn’t seeing people living in oppression under Rome. It wasn’t seeing sin all around him. It wasn’t knowing that people were sick and demon-possessed. It was that capitalism! Nothing gets Jesus angry like capitalism! (You know, the Jesus that according to Luke 8:1-3 was supported by wealthy women)

No. Jesus’s anger here was quite likely because this area of the temple was a holy spot meant for worship and it was instead being used a marketplace. Jesus didn’t oppose a marketplace. He instead opposed having a place for worship become a place for making money. There are better places for that.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew 19:24

Why is it this way? Because the rich often think they don’t need anything more and think they already have the favor of God. The ministry of Jesus changed this. The early church did consist of people who were wealthy and they were never told to sell all they have and give it all away. They would often use their wealth for the good of the community still, such as allowing their houses to serve as churches. We should all be wary of the love of money and watch ourselves from it, but having money is not a sin. It is a sin when the money has you.

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40.

Yes. We are to love our neighbor, therefore we should support redefining marriage and anti-poverty programs. I’ve already said why we don’t support the latter. The former we don’t support because we don’t think there’s any behavior there we should celebrate and affirm. We in fact think we’re in line with Jesus who upheld the moral standards of the Old Testament and in Matthew 19, said that God made us male and female and then said the two shall become one flesh. Note which two he spoke of. He spoke of male and female.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:5.

Of course, the writer wants to compare us to the Pharisees again. Note this is the same writer who emphasized Matthew 7:1-2. No further reply is needed.

If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. Matthew 12:7

Jesus did preach mercy, but the writer wants us to ask why we ban abortion and seek the death penalty and want to charge children as adults in crimes. The writer apparently didn’t notice the last part. Let’s look at it.

“Condemned the innocent.”

What crime did the baby in the womb commit to deserve death, other than existing at the wrong place and time? For the death penalty, that is for people who are guilty. It would need to be someone beyond a shadow of a doubt. For children as adults, it’s because many times they are old enough to know what they’re doing and committing crimes of a far more serious nature.

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16

We’re told that because of this, we should not seek to cut programs that give food to the poor. It would probably blow this author’s mind that a researcher like Arthur Brooks found that conservatives actually give more of their income away to charity than do liberals. We have no problem with helping the poor. We have a problem with helping them in ways that don’t work.

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. Luke 11:46

The writer wants to thank the GOP for cutting programs that help the poor. As someone who is among the poor, I do not support these programs designed to help. Usually, they come with so many conditions that it’s hard to get away. I also do not support a minimum wage increase at all. That only makes things more expensive for me. I understand the left likely has their heart in the right place, but good intentions are not enough. If the program doesn’t work, scrap it.

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48

Yes, and we agree with this. We don’t force the rich to give to the poor, but we think it would be wonderful if they did. If they don’t, then God will give take them to account. It is not right for us to commit theft in the name of a good. Those who are conservative and have wealth should indeed lead by example.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.

The writer points to how we don’t raise the minimum wage to help with cost of living. Unfortunately, the minimum wage does not help. If it worked, it would have already done so. We have to keep raising it. Why? Because it creates more expenses. Suppose you are an employer. You can hire one of two people. One is an entry-level guy with no experience. The other is a guy with experience. Odds are you go with the one with experience.

If you had more resources, you could hire both, but you can’t because the government has forced you to do it this way. Therefore, people who need those jobs, entry level people, cannot get those jobs. They require then more often government aid. That means higher taxes. Higher taxes in turn leads to things being more expensive which in turn leads to a demand that the minimum wage go up.

Let the economy do its own thing. Stay out of it. It will work.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40

Once again we have the same mistake. Since the poor should be helped, the way to do it is through the government. No. The way to do it is to have people give of themselves. Theft is theft regardless of who does it or why.

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ Matthew 25:41-43

Finally, we end with this as a reminder about how we should find religion for the above. I would instead suggest the writer finds some good material on Biblical exegesis. This is all a fine example of how not to read the Bible and it’s like she thinks we’ve never read the Bible before. We have. Perhaps the writer should start by really reading it herself.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Book Plunge: One Nation Under God

What do I think of Bruce Ashford and Chris Pappalardo’s book published by B&H Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Two of the things you’re never supposed to discuss at the dinner table are politics and religion. What happens when you bring both of them together? Usually, matters become even more explosive. Some Christians want to avoid politics altogether and think that the Kingdom of God should have nothing to do with the governments of men. Some would prefer to combine the two together and say that we will make the Kingdom of God come on Earth through the government.

Ashford and Pappalardo have problems with both positions. Something interesting about their book is that you will not find hard condemnation of either conservatism or liberalism. You will not find targeting of the Republican party or the Democrat party. You will find discussions of the issues, but the writers leave it to you, the reader, to decide where you will take your stand beyond that.

The book starts with opening sections describing the relationship between Christians and culture. Many views are critiqued and some are settled on. It also talks about not only what the content of our presentation will be in the public square, but also how it is that we will go about presenting our viewpoint in the public square. Make no mistake, the writers definitely think Christians do need to stand up for their position.

When it gets to the issues, there are explanations of what is going on in each of the issues and then there are examples of Christians who are taking a stand on those issues. These are quite helpful as they provide often not just examples of the content but how the writers want to see Christians go about making their case in the public square. The writers then end each section with several recommended books. These are classified in range from beginning level to advanced so that if you don’t know where to go, you can have a general idea.

Issues discussed include topics like abortion, the nature of marriage, the environment, economics, war, race relations, and immigration. The writers again do not side with any one party on these issues explicitly. They do take a stand and often explain where it is that they make their stand, but they also leave a lot left unsaid. After all, this is meant to give you just an introduction to the basic facts and they don’t so much I suspect want to tell you their views, but rather how they think that you should go about coming to your own conclusion.

I do sometimes wish more sources had been given on a topic. One main example is that in the section on the environment, there was no mention of the main Christian response to this, the Cornwall Alliance For The Stewardship of Creation. There were a few other sections where I thought more works could have been added, but what is there is certainly sufficient to get someone started on the path.

This is a good and short book. If you work hard, you could read it in a day, but it will prepare you for when it comes time to vote. The reader will start to have a better grasp on the issues and can further read on the issues that interest them most.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/12/2014: Jay Wesley Richards

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D. of The Institute for Faith, Work &

While in the intellectual field my main love is apologetics, I have to admit that I do enjoy discussing economics. That’s one reason I’m certainly looking to the show this Saturday. My guest will be Jay Wesley Richards to talk about his book Money, Greed, and God, which is a Christian defense of capitalism. The review I wrote of it can be found here.

And according to his bio

“Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is author of many books including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012). He is also the author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; and co-author of The Privileged Planet with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez.

Richards is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. In recent years he has been Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Contributing Editor of The American at the American Enterprise Institute, a Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and Research Fellow and Director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute.

Richards has a Ph.D., with honors, in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also has an M.Div. (Master of Divinity), a Th.M. (Master of Theology), and a B.A. with majors in Political Science and Religion. He lives with his family in the Washington DC Metro area.”

If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you will see a lot of discussions on economics. Many Christians get in these discussions and have a highly negative view of capitalism. After all, the Bible says that we are to avoid greed. Capitalism is all about the self-interest of the individual and thus is about their greed. Therefore, we should avoid it. It will also just make the poor poorer. Right?

Well, no. That’s not right. Richards in fact believes that capitalism is the more biblical economic system and that capitalism in the long run is what will help the poor. How is it then that a system that’s supposed to be about greed can be defended by an evangelical Christian? You’ll need to listen to find out.

We’ll also no doubt be discussing many contemporary issues right now. Obama is wanting to raise the minimum wage. Is that good or bad for America? Should companies like McDonald’s be required to pay a living wage? What can be done to deal with the economic crisis in our country? How did we get this way in the first place?

With the way our country is, Christians need to have some economic knowledge. After all, we would all agree as Christians that we are to help the poor, but we want to make sure that the methodologies that we’re using will really help the poor.

So join us this Saturday for the Deeper Waters Podcast as we discuss the question of economics in relation to a biblical worldview. The date will be 4/12/2014. The time will be 3-5 PM EST. The call-in number is 714-242-5180. The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Money, Greed, and God

What do I think of this book by Jay Wesley Richards? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Economics I find to be an interesting field. I had my first entry into the field with Ron Nash’s lectures on Christian ethics. I then proceeded to read Henry Hazlitt’s book which I still consider essential reading for anyone interested in the topic. I read some of Nash’s other books on the topic as well and would listen to podcasts especially coming from the Austrian school of economics. Apologetics has been my forte, but I wanted to educate myself at least a little bit on economics.

After all, such thinking I understand improves your thinking overall. If you learn to think wise economically, you’re likely to be a wise thinker in many other fields. It requires learning to look at the big picture and think beyond the immediate effects and think instead of the long-term effects. You don’t look at just what the intentions of an action are, for those are quite normally good, but what the actual outcome will be.

When I was given a copy of this book on Kindle by a friend then, I was eager to jump into it. I found it to be an absolute delight. I generally read my Kindle at night and the book got me looking forward to the night time so I could read more of Richards’s book.

Richards starts off with a confession that once he bought into the economic worldview of socialism. He had all the reasons he needed for despising capitalism based on his education. He could also see it based on his Christianity. Doesn’t capitalism encourage greed? Does it not keep the poor poor and the rich rich?

Besides, aren’t Christians people of equality? How can one support a system that produces such inequality and keeps the gap there? Especially if this is a system that is exploiting the poor and in fact, those in third world countries.

Richards was convinced, but then problems started developing in his worldview and he looked closer at the system he had been believing and took a closer look at the capitalistic view that he had rejected and found that lo and behold, the capitalists were the ones that had the best method.

Richards does admit that the world is not perfect economically, but that’s for a good reason. People are not perfect. The problem is not capitalism. The problem is sin. Capitalism is the idea that for Richards best contains the sin problem and the greed problem and enables a society to move forward and help the poor.

It does not work to just give the poor money. Of course, every now and then, someone does need financial support, but we will not get the third world out of the third world by dumping money on them. We will not cure poverty in this country by dumping money on the poor. The way to help the poor is by enabling them to produce their own wealth.

This is simple enough to see. If you give me $1,000,000 and let me do with it what I want, I could go out and buy that much worth of books. I could be said to help the economy a little by putting more money in circulation, but to get somewhere where I am earning back for that, well I’ll still be poor. I could sell the books, but what will I do with the money?

Now let’s suppose instead that I use that money and start my own business and then through that business I start producing wealth. While it won’t be immediately, I will reach the point eventually if I work hard enough that I could surpass the $1,000,000 that you gave me. Not only that, I will likely be hiring people to work with my business so I will be helping them to earn wealth as well. Furthermore, I will be supplying a good or service for people in need so once again, I will be helping others out.

In fact, this is what we call a win-win game. If I sell you something, I get the money that I want from you. On the other hand, you get the product or service that you want from me. Each one of us gets what we want the most. I want the money more than the good or service. You want the good or service more than you want the money.

In all of this, Richards also deals with some myths that are out there and practices believed to help the poor. These include ideas such as why we should buy fair-trade products are why we should be wanting to grant people a living wage. Richards points out that these problems only damage the market and thus buyers and sellers in the long run.

He also deals with biblical objections. Wasn’t the community in Acts 2 communistic? Didn’t Jesus make many statements about freely giving that go against Capitalism? Doesn’t Capitalism in fact encourage greed and isn’t greed necessary for Capitalism? Hasn’t the church always condemned usury?

No. I won’t give you the answers that he gives. I encourage you to read them for yourself, and it should be a good read for you. This book is an easy read and does not use difficult language and terminology that is hard to understand. The examples are every day examples and Richards explains things the best way that he can.

It is with zero hesitation then that I recommend this book. This is the kind of book Christians should read before they say anything about economic theory. The reader of this book will be getting an excellent start in dealing with many of the myths in economics out there.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Prosperity and Poverty

What are my thoughts on E. Calvin Beisner’s book on economics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Economics is a topic often not talked about in the church today, aside from the discussions of how much people need to be tithing, but it is a topic that should be discussed far more often. When we look at our country today, the reason we’re in an economic crisis is because people believed several myths about economics. For Christians wanting to redeem the world for Christ, that includes the economic world and that will mean being able to dispute those economic myths.

Of course, this isn’t just to dispute myths, but also out of Christian concern for the well-being of all, including the poor. There are many programs out there designed to help people in poverty, but in reality, they help keep them in poverty. Beisner’s work is designed to help us realize all of this from a Christian perspective.

It interestingly begins with the story of the rich young man and starts to setting the context in a Christian framework there by making it clear Christ must be worth everything. Beisner begins by setting in play biblical values such as what justice is biblically, what work is, and what the importance of rest is.

From there, Beisner goes on to discuss modern economic policies and not just how they have failed but how it would have been known and in fact was known that they would fail. All of this is regularly interspersed with references to passages of Scripture, particularly the Ten Commandments, much of that being on the commandment to not steal. The emphasis is that the moral way and the effective way is also the biblical way.

Some readers will wonder about biblical texts such as the year of Jubilee or the coming together in Acts 2 and wonder if these violate the principles? Beisner goes to great detail to show they do not, although I as an orthodox Preterist would add that Acts only happened in Jerusalem since Christians there knew Jesus was going to judge the place soon so what good does it do to hold on to even the treasured land that they normally saw their identity in?

Beisner also gives us a warning that we should not show partiality to the poor even if we want to help them, which we should. A law that favors the rich is unjust. So also is a law that favors the poor. As he says “God is not ‘on the side of the poor’ despite protests to the contrary. Any law, therefore, that gives an advantage in the economic sphere to anyone, rich or poor, violates Biblical justice. (Page 52)

Beisner explains why many solutions to modern economic problems do not work, such as minimum wage laws or price controls. He also tells us to ask ourselves the key question of who benefits from these laws. When we do that, we will find it is not the poor that are supposedly being looked out for.

Finally, he offers the solution and shows how the church can handle the burden and should be handling the burden. We have made it a point of letting the state handle the situation when we ourselves are to do that as followers of Christ. Government need not be in the business of charity.

There are three ways I think this work could improve.

The first is that there is an appendix at the end explaining the relation of biblical law to economics. Beisner says he is not a reconstructionist. I would have liked to have seen this explanation at the beginning. Otherwise, throughout the book one can think they are reading an argument from theonomy rather than from natural law. The advantage of natural law is that biblical laws can be seen as “Just your religion” but natural law thinking says “These are truths anyone can know through reason.”

The second is that I would have liked to have seen a glossary of terms which I think would be helpful in case this was someone’s first read on economics. It would be beneficial for someone to be able to say “What was marginal utility again?”, go to the back and look up a definition, and then return to their reading.

Finally, there are books on a Christian philosophy of government, but I would like to have seen some on just economics, such as Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson”, or Ron Nash’s “Poverty and Wealth.” Also would be writings from people like Von Mises, Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell. People interested in economics will need more places to go to.

Still, I do conclude that Beisner’s work is a helpful work for anyone wanting to understand a Christian philosophy of economics and give it my endorsement.

In Christ,
Nick Peters