A little knowledge may be dangerous, but not nearly so dangerous as a great deal of ignorance. Too often, when it comes to economics, we carry around just enough foolishness to make ourselves dangerous, believing “truths” that have no truth to them. Here are just a few:
Sometimes our shorthands come back to bite us on the bahookey. It is true enough that the concept of covenant contains within it the concept of contract. It does not, however, reduce down to contract. Covenant is the marriage of the legal and the familial. Contract covers the legal – covenants have responsibilities, obligations and sanctions. But covenant is also relational, transcending the merely mercenary. God has every right to command whatsoever He will. But He is also our God, the one who brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
It is graduation season. Academic regalia is being donned, parties are being planned, and boasting has begun. It’s the last that concerns me. No one, of course, ought to oppose learning, and learning well. God, after all, calls us to love Him with our whole minds. Studying well is one way to better fulfill that command. My concern, however, is that sadly we tend to value those virtues that are more easily measured more than those that matter most. Grade point averages are fine enough things if they stay in their place. Trouble is they rarely stay in their place.
Right from the get go we have something of an epistemological/ontological problem. That is, there are differences that are easier to see, and then there are differences that are more central, but harder to discern. On the ontological side the whole of the order of salvation, or ordo salutis, describes the difference. The believer has been regenerated, given the gift of faith, is indwelt by the Spirit, gifted by the Spirit and grows in grace and wisdom. The unbeliever has none of these. Neither the believer nor the unbeliever, however, has magic soul-exposing glasses by which we can judge the invisible changes.
He’s doing well. My father that is. Ligonier Ministries has done an outstanding job of keeping people up to speed on my father’s health since his recent stroke. We are being, as I would expect, open and honest in our updates, which means coming to me for the “real story” is an exercise in futility. The “real story” is the story Ligonier has been honestly publishing. That’s the kind of integrity my father has not only practiced, but has taught, including to the staff at Ligonier, and to my sister and me.
This article was adapted into podcast form, which can be listened to here. Imagine, if you would, there was a small group of men caught up in a bizarre and hungry ideology. Imagine they were committed to doing whatever it takes to enjoy the blessings of power and influence. Their stratagems ranged from sophisticated propaganda to political machinations to raw violence to quell those who stood in their way. Imagine that they had infiltrated the schools of the nation, and were about the business of indoctrinating the children in their ideology. Finally, imagine that this fringe group was so consumed with hatred toward the religious people of their land who once had wielded influence that they wanted them silenced or destroyed. What should, in this context the church do?
It would be funny were it not so sad and destructive. Our modernist masters have been beating their epistemological chests praising their empirical wisdom as the sole arbiter of truth, while mocking the notion that the Bible can tell us truth. They delight to pull out every miracle that stretches our credulity, every law that goes against the modern zeitgeist all to show how hopelessly out of it the Bible actually is. Their Bible, scientific consensus, on the other hand is the true light of the world. It is not only a better arbiter of truth but comes equipped with a mindset that drives away prejudice. It’s effective, dispassionate, objective, everything our pathetic Bible is not.
Before she went to her reward my beloved wrote letters to each of our children. It was her last days and stamina was hard to come by. Knowing she wanted to write one to me I tried to put her at ease – “You don’t have to write me a letter, dear. I have and always have had every confidence in your love for me.” She managed to write one anyway, noting therein how delighted she was to know that I never doubted her love. I’m not sure, however, that the last words of the departing are quite as important as the last words to the departing. When my time comes I would want my children to hear from me one last time what they hear from me each night before they go to bed – “Daddy loves you. Mommy loves you. Daddy and Mommy love each other. And Jesus…
There is a great difference between being like a lamb before the slaughter and rolling over and showing your neck. Christians need to learn to tell the difference. We find ourselves dizzy with the swiftness by which we have lost our privilege in the culture and have become virtual pariahs. Our sitting president, while serving as president, took a position on gay “marriage” that now is not just considered unsophisticated but is on the fast track to being a hate crime. Homo-rage is all the fashion; homo-fascism is all the rage. And Christians are increasingly being herded into a cultural ghetto.
My ideological awakenings were not in the order most suspect. I was well taught the Reformed faith in my catechism class in junior high school, working through GI Williamson’s Shorter Catechism for Study Groups. Though I had, of course, come from a Reformed family, and been raised in the Reformed church, that was when it all clicked for me. But before Reformed theology became a passion I was introduced to free market economics. Just as Reformed theology asked us to embrace a few basic principles, and then to work out the implications of those principles with relentless passion, so with free market economics there was a certain elegance and internal coherence that just made me fall in love.