You are hereToward A Preterist Understanding of Economics—Part 1

Toward A Preterist Understanding of Economics—Part 1

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By Islamaphobe - Posted on 31 May 2005

by John Evans
Virgil Vaduva recently suggested that I consider doing some writing for this site that addresses the economic implications of preterism for the stewardship of our resources, including financial ones. Given the fact that I began the full-time teaching of economics in 1959 and continued to be active professionally in that field until 2000, I have had, I assume, far more time to reflect about the relationship of Christian theology and practice to economics than most visitors to this site. On the other hand (See, I am an economist!), I have never specialized in the study of that relationship.Virgil Vaduva recently suggested that I consider doing some writing for this site that addresses the economic implications of preterism for the stewardship of our resources, including financial ones. Given the fact that I began the full-time teaching of economics in 1959 and continued to be active professionally in that field until 2000, I have had, I assume, far more time to reflect about the relationship of Christian theology and practice to economics than most visitors to this site. On the other hand (See, I am an economist!), I have never specialized in the study of that relationship.Accordingly, it is with considerable hesitation that I undertake in this article to begin the process of exploring the implications of preterism for economics and vice versa. I intend to follow this article with others that explore the subject in greater detail. I shall also continue to post articles that deal with the Book of Daniel, and I plan to present one on the symbolic horns of Daniel 7 and 8 before the month of June is over.

In this article, I focus upon my background and credentials for writing about how economics can be reconciled with Christianity and offer some comments on why I believe that Christians who espouse liberal interpretations of the faith—those who are increasingly being identified as belonging to the “religious left”—hold views that conflict irreconcilably with rational economic principles. Inasmuch as these views seem to prevail within the so-called “mainstream” Protestant denominations and much of the Catholic Church and are therefore widely regarded as authoritative, I believe that they have caused a great deal of damage to the social and economic fabric of this nation and to the world as a whole. Liberals may not be—as I am fond of saying—wrong about everything, but in the fields of liberal thought with which I am most familiar, economic analysis and biblical scholarship, I find them to be wrong indeed.

My career as an economist began as an ABD (all but the dissertation) at the University of South Dakota, where I spent eight years teaching seven different courses per year. I returned to the University of Wisconsin in 1967 to write my doctoral dissertation on the evolution of the Mexican tax system, but it was not until the fall of 1970 that I actually finished that project and thereby completed the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. My dissertation, which I typed myself the old-fashioned way, ran to 625 manuscript pages. In the fall of 1968, I took a position at the University of Alabama, where I remained for the rest of my career. Until 1982, my specialty was the economy of Mexico, and I spent one year (with my family) in Monterrey, Mexico, where I served as a Fulbright Professor at the Universidad Estatal de Nuevo León. I managed to conduct my lectures in Spanish. Incidentally, my interest in Mexico stemmed largely from the fact that I grew up in Amarillo, Texas and obtained my B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Texas.

The collapse of the Mexican economy in 1982 convinced me that the government of Mexico was incapable of adopting sound economic policies and that I would only grow more frustrated if I continued to focus on that country. Fortunately, the gentleman who taught international finance at Alabama retired around that time, so I volunteered to take his place. I had had graduate training in international finance and had taught international economics for years, so the transition was not difficult. I continued to teach such subjects as principles of economics, macroeconomics, and economic development. I managed to write a textbook in international finance that was published by Dryden Press in 1992 and was adopted at a number of the leading universities in the country. I never seriously attempted to do another edition of that book, however, and by 1995 I was looking forward to retirement and the pursuit of other intellectual interests.

In my professional career, I elected, at some considerable cost to myself in light of academia’s preoccupation with producing publications in professional journals, to focus much more upon the teaching of economics and finance than upon the writing of scholarly articles that few people would ever read. Over the course of my forty years in the economics profession, however, I did manage to write a number of articles and papers, most of which were co-authored. Most of them dealt with Mexico, but some covered other topics. Never during my professional career, however, did I venture into writing about how Christianity should deal with economics. On the other hand (There I go again.), I did do a good of thinking about that issue.

My religious background is that of a “mainstream” Protestant steeped in the social gospel of doing good. I became a member of the Methodist Church before I entered high school, but I did not become a regular church attender, and I rebelled against my parents’ efforts to make me go. By the time I finished high school, I had become a good Darwinist and didn’t see much point to all this church business anyway. Soon after I married, however, some of my latent Christianity manifested itself, and I joined the American Lutheran Church—now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)—because that was my wife’s affiliation. Although I did not start to become a serious Bible scholar until the late 1980s, I was a dutiful church attender for some years, and I actually served as church treasurer for awhile. In that capacity, incidentally, I learned to appreciate how important it is to the financial health of a church to have wealthy members who donate generously.

Over the years, my close study of the U.S. and Mexican economies, my growing awareness of the failure of “mainstream” religion to incorporate even rudimentary economic principles into its teaching, and my growing awareness of the disparity between liberal biblical scholarship and what seemed to me to be the truth all combined to turn me politically from a moderate liberal who voted for George McGovern for U.S. Senator into a rabid Reagan conservative who openly endorsed supply-side economics and the privatization of Social Security accounts. Along the way, I also began to believe, despite what I had learned from liberal churchmen, that the passages in red in some Bibles accurately quoted what Jesus said; and I began to entertain such “heretical” notions as thinking that the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation were all written before AD 70. In short, I became a preterist. For some years, however, I was too ill-schooled in the study of religion to know what a preterist was.

Among the consequences of my drift into the part of the world inhabited by a fringe of the “religious right” was my decision to leave ELCA, of which, I suppose, I may still technically be a member. After reading some of the material coming from the bureaucracy and the top leaders of that church, taking into account the directions in which the leaders seemed determined to go, and examining academic work being produced by scholars with links to ELCA, I came to the firm conclusion that I could no longer support that denomination. I hope that a “revolt of the masses” can turn the church around, but I consider that outcome very unlikely during the rest of my lifetime.

The “social gospel” to which I referred earlier largely consists of efforts to improve the economic situation of the “poor” and the suffering, both within this country and in the rest of the world. During the last century, as a consequence of the growth of “progressive” ideologies and the resulting enormous expansion of the role of government, the “mainstream” churches, including the Catholic Church, ceded to government the primary responsibility for improving the lot of the less fortunate members of society. Churches have continued to play a considerable role in this welfare activity, of course. They have done so with their own financial resources and by endorsing the expansion of government’s role as the “great provider.” The ecclesiastical support for the expansion of what I do not hesitate to call the “welfare state” has been particularly forthcoming from the “mainstream” churches, including the Catholic Church. Simultaneously, it has been within these same denominations that liberal biblical scholarship has made the greatest inroads, with a resulting loss of confidence in the truthfulness and integrity of the Bible and a weakening of belief among the rank and file of church members. By enthusiastically embracing the implementation of the social gospel through the expansion of government-financed programs, the leadership of the mainstream churches has sought to preserve the strong sense of purpose that is essential to their survival.

The enthusiastic support of mainstream churches for the expansion of the welfare state cannot be explained, however, solely as an effort to maintain a strong sense of purpose. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the churches are on the receiving end of the spending on various government welfare programs designed to benefit the poor and the suffering. I hasten to add, however, that I do not regard the term “welfare program” as pejorative. I frequently use that term to refer to government spending that is intended to directly benefit groups of people whose economic status is considered to be below the desirable social norm, and I personally approve of much of it. I readily admit, however, that substantial amounts of government spending benefit people who are already well off economically and that some of this spending is difficult to defend in terms of social or economic results.

That churches are frequently beneficiaries of government spending is amply borne out in a statement issued in March of this year by Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of ELCA. According to Bishop Hanson, Lutheran Services in America (LSA), a joint operation of ELCA and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, brings social services of one variety or another to over 6.2 million persons per year in this country. In providing this assistance, LSA receives billions of dollars from the federal government, 90 percent of which comes from the Department of Health and Human Services. The programs involved include Medicare, Medicaid, Social Services Block Grants, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Program), Head Start, and others. In addition, the Section 202 program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development allows individual congregations to participate in various food programs, the opening of their doors to the homeless, and to serve as providers of space for WIC and Head Start.

It is not my intention to critique the spending to which Bishop Hanson refers. My expertise as an economist does not extend to the evaluation of the federal government’s welfare spending. I have no doubt that much of it indeed benefits those who are the intended beneficiaries. My point in referring to it is simply to call attention to its existence and to suggest that the churches that receive compensation from the government have a strong financial incentive to support the expansion of the activities involved.

Bishop Hanson’s statement was issued on the same date (March 8) as a joint statement by the heads of five mainstream Protestant churches denouncing the “cuts” in social welfare spending contained in President Bush’s budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2006. The churches represented, in addition to ELCA, were the Episcopal Church, USA; the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church. The joint statement is a ringing endorsement of the social gospel version
of Christianity. It also exhibits a total disregard of what “mainstream” economists have learned about the process of economic growth. If ignorance is indeed bliss and the leaders of these churches are, in fact, as uninformed about the facts of economic life as this statement suggests, they should be in living in a state of heaven-on-earth ecstasy. I suspect, however, that the blissfulness of ignorance has been exaggerated and that they are not as uninformed as they pretend to be.

Early in their statement, the church leaders commendably allude to Scripture in order to support their attack on Bush’s budget proposal, and they do so without suggesting that the passage to which they refer may not be an eyewitness account of what Christ said. Their chosen passage comes from Luke 16:19-31, which presents the story of a rich man and a very poor man named Lazarus. There we read that the rich man lived in luxury and ignored the presence of the poor man at his gate. Eventually, the beggar dies and is carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also dies, but he goes to Hades, from which he sees Lazarus at the side of Abraham. The rich man begs Abraham to have pity on him but is rebuffed. He then asks Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers to change their ways. Again, he is rebuffed by Abraham, who states (v.31): “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

After relating the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the five church leaders attack Bush’s budget proposals for further enriching the well-to-do at the expense of the poor. Particularly heart-wrenching (in intent) is their statement that the proposed budget “would reduce Medicaid by $45 billion over the next ten years, and this at a time when 45 million Americans—the highest level on record—are already without health insurance.” They also assert that the proposed spending “cuts,” in combination with the proposal to make tax cuts permanent, most noticeably for people making over $200,000 per year, amount to asking “the poor to pay the cost for a prosperity in which they may never share.” Finally, after somewhat disparaging the faith-based charities approach endorsed by Bush, they state that although the churches make important contributions through their own charitable activities, “neither we, nor our Evangelical brothers or sisters, nor our friends of other faiths have anywhere near the resources to turn back the rising tide of poverty in this country.” In other words, it is to government that we must look for the financial means and the leadership with which to deal with the problem of poverty.

To fully critique this joint statement and the separate statements issued by the leaders of these five churches would require much more space than I can allocate to this article. Space remains, however, to point out some of the statement’s most egregious mistakes. I shall begin with these two observations. First, I gather from my study of the Old Testament that Abraham must have been a very wealthy man for his day, yet I do not recall reading about how he lavished large portions of his estate upon the poor and made the development of a welfare system in the lands under his control a high priority. Perhaps I need to pull out a copy of the OT and read the relevant portions again, or perhaps it may be that a righteous man who is also wealthy may justifiably dispose of his fortune in other ways than to disperse it among beggars. Second, it seems to me that examples of welfare states much like what the church leaders have in mind exist in abundance in Western Europe, which is exhibiting slow rates of economic growth, high rates of unemployment, very low birthrates, and other signs of deterioration. Moreover, despite the very high levels of welfare spending in Western Europe, its state-supported and, generally speaking, theologically liberal churches do not seem to be prospering. Could it be that there is something about the welfare state that undermines Christian belief?

Although the five church leaders accuse the Bush administration of favoring budget “cuts” that are certain to cause grave damage to the nation’s social fabric, their idea of what constitutes “cuts” is curious. What they really have in mind are reductions in rates of growth. For example, it is my understanding that the Bush proposals would reduce the rate of growth in Medicaid spending over the next five years from 7.4 percent per year to a mere 7.2 percent. From what I read about Medicaid spending, it appears that if its growth is not curtailed, numerous state governments are likely to be experiencing acute financial crises within the near future. I am certain that visitors to this site are well-acquainted with some of the waste that has materialized in connection with the extensive involvement of government in the field of medical services. Just this past week it emerged that the legislation of some states has allowed convicted sex offenders to acquire Viagra through the Medicaid program. The medical field is one that cries out for reform in the name of efficiency, but efficiency is a word that is totally absent from the statement by the church leaders.

As for taxes, the five church leaders obviously are not interested in hearing about the Laffer Curve, which has been widely discredited in the media because of its associatiojn with supply side economics and (gasp!) Republicanism. What tends to get glossed over in the disparaging remarks about the Laffer Curve is that it has a solid foundation in both logic and empirical analysis. This curve is a simple concept that can readily be understood by anyone with an open mind and average intelligence. It derives its name from Arthur Laffer, a supply-side economist who supposedly unveiled the concept to the world by drawing it on a cocktail napkin.

Set up a graph with the tax rate on income on the vertical scale and total revenue collected on the horizontal scale. Now ask yourself how much revenue will be collected at an income tax rate of zero. Most of us would assume that at a zero tax rate the government will collect zero revenue, though I suppose it is possible that some people love government so much that they would give to it even at a zero tax rate. If we assume that such people are insignificant in number, we can place a dot for revenue collected at the point of origin if the tax rate is zero.

Now ask yourself how much revenue will be collected at a tax rate of 100 percent. The logical answer is not much. If such a confiscatory tax cannot be evaded, why would anyone earn income? The best answer I can come up with is that if government owns all of the means of production, everyone is then dependent upon it to survive; and if it is somehow able to prevent tax evasion, the government may then be able to compel people to perform some work. But as extensive experience with command economies demonstrates, the overall level of output in such economies cannot be expected to be high, which means total tax revenues will tend to be low even at tax rates of 100 percent.

An implication of the foregoing analysis is that if you draw a line relating tax revenues to income over the range of tax rates from zero to 100 percent, you are going to get a curve showing that rising tax rates produce rising tax revenues up to some point at which the curve starts bending backwards; i.e. above a certain tax rate, total revenues start to decrease. A vital question for the conduct of tax policy is this: at what tax rate does the Laffer curve start bending backward? In other words, at what tax rate do we get less revenue collected when we increase the tax rate?

The tax rate at which the Laffer curve starts bending backward depends on such factors as the ability of people to evade or avoid tax payments and the adverse incentive effects of higher taxes. These incentive effects, incidentally, are not mentioned by the five church leaders, but I believe that they are enormously important. It is my belief that in the United States, the curve starts bending backward at a marginal tax rate of over forty percent. The marginal tax rate is the rate applied to the last income earned. In other words, if you want to tax income for the purpose of raising revenue—as opposed to taxing income in order to punish income earners—there is no point in raising the marginal tax rate much above 40 percent. That is not to say, however, that tax policy should be designed to maximize revenues, for it may be, for example, that at marginal tax rates above 30 percent, there is more social benefit to be gained by allowing high income earners to keep their income than there is to be gained by taxing the “excess” away and having the government spend it for the benefit of the less fortunate.

What are the social benefits of allowing high-income recipients to retain income that could otherwise be used to fund government programs for the poor and the suffering? Some of the answers may seem obvious, but I shall explore the answers to that question in future articles dealing with economic issues if reader interest warrants that I do so. I also intend to explore whether or not the biblical concept of stewardship warrants the general approach to environmental management favored by those on the political left of the environmental movement. I can tell you right now that the answer is no, and that I fervently believe that drilling in Anwar will endanger neither the caribou nor the mosquitos.

Finally, I do believe that a case can be made in biblical terms for a social policy that encourages the development of some restraints upon ostentatious spending, or what the brilliant but misanthropic economist Thorstein Veblen called “conspicuous consumption.” In writing this, however, I must also note, as Veblen understood, that the desire to engage in conspicuous consumption is a powerful motivator. I shall conclude by suggesting that church leaders such as those whom I have pilloried in this article would do less damage if they focused more on restraining conspicuous consumption and conspicuous waste and less on the expansion of government social programs financed by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Footnotes:

1. Statement by Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson regarding the President’s FY’06 Budget, ELCA.org, www.elca.org/advocacy/issues/taxes/05-03-09-bishopstatement.html.

2. It is commonly stated that the rich man goes to hell and the poor man to heaven, but this interpretation conflicts with the actual text. As a preterist I have learned to appreciate the difference.

3. Statement on the President’s FY’06 Budget, ELCA.org, www.e.ca.org/advocacy/issues/taxes/05-03-09-jointstatement.html.

leslie's picture

The United States money system is doomed to fail. A debt based, fractional system, where 'money' is created out of thin air and must be paid back in full, plus interest, can only expand so far until a major correction must take place. In the boom and bust cycles, we have a false sence of wealth.
We do not have a Sound Money system, which in turn makes every 'Church' have to 'play the game'on how not to pay taxes and default, becomes in small ways controled by the government.

Brother Les

Ed's picture

Leslie,
Actually the "boom and bust cycles" was what occurred during the gold standard days.

Our monetary system is not heading for a fall. Let me explain: have you wondered why or how in recent years inflation has been kept under control in spite of billions of dollars being printed by the Fed every year? This flies in the face of everything that the libertarians taught us. But, what they never considered was technological progress.

You see, the increase in productivity through automation, the increase in new technologies, both communication and production, is actually growing our wealth almost as fast as the money supply. The gold standard was based on a static technology system. If you had 2,000,000 lbs of gold, each worth $6,400 (about $400/oz), you have a GDP of $12,800,000,000 (12.8 billion dollars). If the GDP rises to $12.8 trillion dollars, the gold rises to $4,000/oz. This is fine and good except when this is in the process of occurring, it is better to hold onto your gold, otherwise, you "lose money" because the goods and services that you have purchased become worth less. Holding onto the gold increases your wealth, but if no one spends, the economy will not grow. Capitalism doesn't work if none of the products or services are bought.

In today's system, the money supply grows with the GDP. It is, in a sense, fixed to the GDP. This is why economists are so confused these days. Our economy has changed. The Fed is not destroying the economy. In fact, it is doubtful that they could. As long as there is someone who has an idea, there will be increase in GDP, and a like demand on the money supply, which then creates even more wealth.

Look at TVs - 20 years ago, it cost $400 to buy a TV. Now it can be purchased for under $150. And the one now is color and has a remote control. Microwaves - $287 20 years ago, yesterday at Walmart, $49 for a more powerful microwave than the one I bought 20 yrs. ago. VCRs? DVD players (didn't exist 20 yrs ago). Computers? Need I say more.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

JL's picture

Sorry Ed,

Why are you justifying someone elses greed?

Who produced the new wealth? That is, the new TV, the newmicrowave, etc. It wasn't the banks or the governemnt.

Who produced the new "money?" The banks and the government. They print new paper and trade these pretty pictures of dead white guys, for real wealth. They got the first benefit of this new money without putting in the work.

When you and I do this, it's called counterfeiting, theft, fraud, and a few other nice words. In Isaiah and Ezekial, God calls these actions by the banks and government creating "dross" and "robbing widows and orphans."

As for your claims that holding onto wealth won't allow won't allow money to grow. Prove it. There are no examples. When we had a gold standard, the economy grew.

Your claim, "Capitalism doesn't work if none of the products or services are bought," is just about the silliest thing I've ever heard. What products and services do people purchase? Those that they want at that price. If you want to sell goods and services, you have to sell goods and services people want at a price they are willing to pay.

If someone insists on providing things no one wants, he'll lose money. Capitalism will place the responsibility where it belongs. He'll continue his service as a hobby. He'll quit and find something useful to do. That's certainly better than getting government grants and loan gaurantees so he can continue to make the same mistakes and force you and me to pay for them.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ed's picture

JL,
I have no idea what you are talking about. You challenge my assertion that capitalism doesn't work if no one buys anything by saying that in capitalism people buy stuff if they want? ???????????? Can I say "No kidding." My point exactly.

WHEN we had a gold standard, we had a technologically stagnant economy. You prove otherwise. Banks existed when we had a gold standard. Who told you they didn't? Government existed when we had a gold standard. Who told you they didn't?

You are the one who has no example of an operational technologically advancing gold standard economy to prove what you are saying. I, on the other hand, have a thriving, operational, technologically advancing "fiat money" economy to prove what I am saying.

Do the banks always deal righteously? No, didn't claim they did. Does the gov't always deal righteously? Nope, again, never said they did. Do all businessmen/women deal righteously? Nope. So, what's your point?

The dead white guys on paper has value and worth. The fact that you DON'T do your job as a hobby is proof of that. You and Kurt talk endlessly about how worthless this money is that you both work your tails off to obtain. Am I the only one who sees the irony and fallacy in this?

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

JL's picture

This is fine and good except when this is in the process of occurring, it is better to hold onto your gold, otherwise, you "lose money" because the goods and services that you have purchased become worth less. Holding onto the gold increases your wealth, but if no one spends, the economy will not grow. Capitalism doesn't work if none of the products or services are bought.

Ed, I'm no economist, but I think you're missing something.

You don't just "hold on" to gold. Credit is lent out and a medium of exchange is available on the value of the gold. The problem with GDP is that it it has a fictitious value, that can be manipulated.

With Gold as a standard, the value of it will intrinsically rise (true value) with, and it is not an inflationary rise, which is what the GDP value is, especially if too much paper is produced.

Look at TVs - 20 years ago, it cost $400 to buy a TV. Now it can be purchased for under $150. And the one now is color and has a remote control. Microwaves - $287 20 years ago, yesterday at Walmart, $49 for a more powerful microwave than the one I bought 20 yrs. ago. VCRs? DVD players (didn't exist 20 yrs ago). Computers? Need I say more.

Yes, you do. The problem with your reasoning is that you didn't compare what the cost was in REAL dollars nor HOW MUCH the advance of technology empirically accounted for the price reduction of these products. For example, maybe the true technology effect on that $400 TV, now at $150 was a $350 reduction. Therefore, it should really be selling at $50, but $100 of purchasing power erosion has taken place because of the manipulation of the "valueless" money supply.

Technology advancement has masked the inflationary creep of the value of items today. Technology has been so successful that it succeeded DESPITE what the Fed's manipulation of "valueless" money has done to erode true purchasing power for the average American. Just think how RICH the whole world (most still live in poverty) could be today if we had used a true value medium of exchange that could not MASK the erosion of true purchasing power.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

leslie's picture

Ed, We are in a slow spiral downward. The US economy is kept afloat by Borrowing. You said that Capitalism works when people spend their money (this is borrowed money). The technology is being manufactured and developed over seas. The US is now a service industry nation, with a insurmountable national and private debt. This debt will never be paid off. By just paying off the interest and very little on principle, the interest (which adds no value and reduces the value of any product) is pulled out of the economy and sent over seas (foriegn investment). Judgement Day in our economy will come, as the debt owed is higher than the asset value now in this country, bankers can pull the string anytime that they want. There are a lot of prblems in this economy and none of them were, (I think) addressed in the article. But as most dipsies say the end is near, so let us spend, spend, spend,because 'we' never have to pay it back. I think I recall a news story that this one church borrowed so much money (thinking the end was near) that they caused a bank to collapse from none payement. This is greed by the bank and by the 'church', and they both 'lost'. Les

Brother Les

Ed's picture

Well, I find it interesting that you say we are in a downward spiral. Hmmm. Bankers are going to pull the plug any minute. Ooooo, scary. You're good Les. You are almost as good as the dispies who are crying that the sky is falling.

Our assets in this nation are NOT less than the money borrowed. Money, contrary to Kurt's assertions, is NOT worthless. If it's so worthless, how are you eating? Are you trading your gold for vegetables? Why not?

Kurt argues that our money is worthless. That is ludicrous. People take that money in exchange for product or service. That means it has worth. Does no one here own a dictionary? Something cannot be worthless if it has worth in the eyes of someone else. E.g., if I have an old table that I think is junk. I tell my wife that it is worthless. As I throw it out on the curb, my neighbor sees it, and nabs it for his own. He adds a few screws and dowels, sands it and stains it and re-varnishes it. Voila, a new table. To me, it was worthless, to him, it had worth. It may have needed some work, but it had worth.

In Kurt's world, the table would only have worth if you sold it for some GOLD or something. Even gold only has worth because someone desires it. If no one gave a hoot about gold, it would be worth nothing. In fact, the price of gold has either remained stable or fallen in the last 30 years. It is NOT a good investment.

Kurt's example about the TV is ridiculous. By what measure did he determine that the TV should only be worth $50, and it is being overcharged by $100. Sheesh! The fact remains that when my father owned his Dairy Queen from 1956 to 1974, he made profits that never exceeded $10,000/yr. That was in 1974, the year he sold it. He made $10,000 that SUMMER. Today, a DQ doing a like amount of sales clears around $45,000-50,000/yr. Is Kurt going to tell me that these new folks are really only clearing $5,000/yr, and the rest is inflationary? Duh!

The economy is growing and so are incomes. The fact that people are borrowing is incidental to the argument. Sure the Fed creates money through lending, but they also create it other ways too. Some parts of the economy are overinflated, but that is due to environmentalism, not necessarily money supply (although, as I've argued, being able to borrow huge sums of money for homes has caused the price of homes to rise, but when folks stop buying them, the price drops. Econ 101).

Les, you're UAW argument about how we are just a service economy, and all the manufacturing is happening overseas, is based on either a leftist ideology of the economy (static), or the paleo-conservativism of Pat Buchanan. Do me a favor - go to the nearest town to where you live, and find out if they have an Industrial Park. If they do, drive through it. Take note of all the manufacturing firms located there. Stop in and ask them what they manufacture. Go to the next town, and do the same thing. You'll be amazed at how many manufacturing jobs there are in just your local area. Sure, stuff is being made overseas - but have you ever heard of Honda? Nissan? Toyota? BMW? Mercedes? Folks in Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, California, South Carolina, and Alabama sure have. They have hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs there. Here in Michigan, the "Big Three" is struggling. But why? Labor Unions, excessive regulation, excessive taxation, stupidity, etc. None of this stuff is because of the Fed. It is because of stupid politicians and people like us who close our eyes and listen to CNN instead of thinking for ourselves.

Economically, our country is stronger than ever. More millionaires are being created on the internet every day. The way we do business is changing. The gov't will have to change, the economic indicators will have to change, etc. We cannot measure today's economy the way they did 70 or 100 years ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is not an indicator of the economy. It is an indicator of how scared Wall Street is.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

57chevypreterist's picture

A few year ago, I ran across a short but interesting article on "preteristcentral.com" entitled, "AMERICA CREATED ITS OWN MONEY IN 1750 How Benjamin Franklin Made New England Prosperous, Copyright © 1941 by Congressman Charles G. Binderup".

I am not an economist, but I found it to be a very interesting article, perhaps one worth considering in this discussion thread.

It is not longer posted there, but I did find it at another website:

http://reactor-core.org/america-created-money.html

(I can't vouch for the site itself or its contents, only the text of this particular article.)

Another good resource is a book I read, this one from a scriptural point of view, is "Bringing In the Sheaves" by George Grant. It is available free, here:

http://freebooks.entrewave.com/freebooks/docs/html/ggbs/ggbs.html

Bryan

leslie's picture

should have read, "and BY default" become in small ways controled by the government.

Brother Les

Virgil's picture

I hasten to add, however, that I do not regard the term “welfare program” as pejorative. I frequently use that term to refer to government spending that is intended to directly benefit groups of people whose economic status is considered to be below the desirable social norm, and I personally approve of much of it.

May I humbly suggest, John, that you first explore the proper relationship between civil government, the Church, and the family - the three institutions created by God - regarding the "poor" before writing on the Preterist position that explores the "economic implications of preterism for the stewardship of our resources, including financial ones."

A good start is to read "Not Yours To Give" by Davey Crockett when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Here's a link:

http://www.house.gov/paul/nytg.htm

Another publication worthy of perusal, if you haven't read it already, is the book
- Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators - by our late friend David Chilton.

Kurt

Virgil's picture

Conservatives generally speaking have never been too concerned with sound economics, mostly because they saw the arival of the Kingdom of God as the institution of a physical realm where sound doctrine on finances, environmentalism, peace, etc fly right out the window.

Actually, some of the founding fathers believed they were doing God's work and literally helping institute the Kingdom of God by founding the U.S.

Samuel Adams, on Independence Day 1776 said, "We have this day restored the sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

Preterism goes way beyond theology and needs to be applied to economics, medicine, environment, education...you name it.

I applaud John for trying to address economics from a preterist perspective!

Terry's picture

Same here!! Looking forward to future articles.

Terry Hall

57chevypreterist's picture

I have been all in favor of the lines of separation between civil govt, the family, and the church, and I have subscribed to the notion that it is the family (and then the church) that is to provide. Yet, Joseph as prime minister of Egypt was directed by God (through Pharoah) to provide for the people during a crisis. It has given me some pause to reevaluate my wholesale rejection of FDR's social welfare programs as wrong.

As for temporarily, it seems to me that the Joseph model supports a temporary government provision.

Bryan

Virgil's picture

Bryan - you are suggesting that federal social programs are "God directed?"

57chevypreterist's picture

I am not suggesting that all federal social programs are "God-directed" (although I will suggest that many liberals think that the federal government is God!).

I am simply trying to look at the "big picture" paradigm, which is: there is an example in Scripture of God directing His servant to feed people (both His people and those who did not belong to Him) through the "federal government" system of that day.

Does it have an application for today? And if so, how? If not, why not?

I am a Constitution Party conservative, so it isn't like I am trying to promote some sort of "agenda" here, rather I am simply trying to add what I think is relevant information to the discussion.

I will say, however, that I believe that just as God "directed" the events of September 11th, so too, He "directed" the events of FDR's social welfare program. He did this for His purposes, and it is up to us, His people, to discover why, and what corrections we need to make based upon scripture. I am not saying that the current social welfare system is biblically warranted, but it could very well have been a blessing that has become a chastisement.

(I guess maybe there's still a little "Social Gospel" Catholicism still in me, waaaaaay down deep! LOL)

Bryan

Virgil's picture

Most, if not all social programs have had a good reason to be implemented, until politics come into the picture. So technically speaking, it is impossible to implement social programs at a federal level without the program being turned into an income-redistribution program. That is immoral, plain and simple.

Why not take the libertarian way and let people choose what to do with their money, instead of forcing them to give up their income to supposedly help others? What's next, pass a federal law and force people to give up 10% of their income? Wait..that's already happening!! :)

57chevypreterist's picture

ONLY 10%? Sign me up, NOW!!!

I generally agree, except that "The Joseph Model" (for lack of a better term) was a huge exercise in socialism, if not downright communism, and in that one particular case, it worked! Obviously it worked because it was "God-directed".

You won't find too many communists pushing for a God-directed redistribution program, that's for sure! (Unless they name it the "Genesis 41 Project"--we could put Jimmy Carter in charge!) ;-)

JL's picture

The purpose of the Joseph model was to enslave the population. "Obviously it worked."

It was also a significant factor in people becoming Hebrews, children of Israel. A lot of people wouldn't mind having one sensitive little cut to get out from under Joseph's draconian laws.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

57chevypreterist's picture

I wouldn't say it "worked" from today's vantage point. The Eqyptians ended up being enslaved to Pharoah - they lost control over their own land.

Virgil's got the right idea.

57chevypreterist's picture

So was God "wrong" to do what He did via Joseph? Was the slavery the direct result of communist economics? We know that God directed the slavery in order to bring about the Exodus...did He use "The Joseph Model" to warn us not to do the same thing?

Virgil's picture

And your point deals directly with why movements like reconstructionism fail. Whenever policies are pushed down people's throats, these policies fail. God has always taught by example and by letting people learn "the hard way" if you will. Abortion for example will catch up with this country eventually and people will turn their hearts towards God on their own, not by force.

JL's picture

Virgil,

And you had been doing so well with your understanding on this particular thread. :)

Once again, reconstructionism does NOT force God's way on any law-abiding people. If you continue to mischaracterize the truth about this movement, you are acting no better than those who sully the name of preterism through their ignorance.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Virgil's picture

Kurt, you still haven't told me how you are planning on enforcing the "Old Covenant case law" through civil government..I am waiting for your answer.

coop's picture

The first step is for Christians like you and me to first acknowledge the Law and that it has applications to our everyday life today. As we acknowledge God and His Word and its use in EVERY aspect of our lives, He will bless us in growth and influence beyond our numbers as His Kingdom advances to eventually fill the earth. It starts with us and our obedience as regenerated "saved" children and God will bless us accordingly.

Virgil's picture

Which Law is that Kurt? All of the Law? The Law that says that on the sabbath you can't make your mule work for you? Should we start counting our steps too so we don't walk too far on the sabbath?

I see no mentioning of the Law as being a prerequisite of God's blessings for us. All I see is a city with its gates wide open, so that every nation can come in and drink from the water of life and use the leaves of the tree for healing.

Where is the Law in all this? The Law and its elements have passed away about 2,000 years ago...thank God!

JL's picture

Virgil,

You're confusing the issues of salvation and the functioning of civil society.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JL's picture

The same way we do all laws. Elect Reconstructionists into office and pass laws. That's been North's "plan" for many years.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Virgil's picture

So, if you pass U.S. laws that are based on the Jewish law, how is that not forcing North's will on the population of the U.S.?

Will one of these laws involve piles of rocks at every corner so they are readily available for public stonings? This is the kind of stuff that actually turns people away from Christianity...

JL's picture

Virgil,

How many laws do we have on the books today? How many of them do various groups of Christians support? All laws are someone forcing their will on others. Do you believe there should be no laws at all?

And if there were no laws, what would keep certain people from forcing their will on others, just on a smaller scale and less formal basis?

You carry a gun, yet you're concerned about public executions of people who commit capital crimes. Obviously you think there are things people should be put to death for. Some of them immediately with no chance for appeal. Why shouldn't government be able to do the same but with careful deliberation?

If North wants to use silicon dioxide and you prefer lead, wants the big difference?

Today, if somebody robs you, the government collects the fine. North wants to see you get restitution. North wants the courts to put an upper limit on that restitution and let you, the victim, set the lower limit. If you say, "keep it brother, you need it more than I do," that's your business. That's your right.

Or are you in favor of our current system, where an unfaithful spouse can get the kids, the house, and alimony. Where's the justice in that?

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JL's picture

JL,

Well said.

The problem, in part, with too many Christians today is that apparently we are still infected with the faulty thinking of dispensationalist pre-mill, pre-rapture theology that says that God's Law is "done away" and personal "pietism" is all a Christian should concern himself with as God will somehow "take care" of everything else."

The news is that this current physical world is going to continue on for a long while and it has to be run in an orderly fashion somehow when you have the civil disobedient still running around.

The $64,000 question is WHO'S civil laws do we want to enforce - laws created by anti-Christian, God-hating secularists out of their depraved minds? Or, does God give us a blueprint to work off of with the civil laws of Israel that regenerated Christians can work with to apply today?

I'm looking forward to Virgil's answer on this...or is he prepared to remain silent and hole up in his house with his Glock until the Rapture? Hehehe... :)

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Ed's picture

Virgil,
Let me say this: regardless of the ideas that John is putting forth here, a bigger question needs to be addressed.

The liberal/progressive movement within the Christian church, both preterist and futurist, belie the claim that this nation was founded as a "Christian nation." They call for a separation of church and state (a platform of the Soviet Constitution, Article 53). Conservatives tend to disagree with this assessment, as is evidenced by your quote.

However, it seems interesting that Jesus called his disciples to "feed the poor", "clothe the naked," "care for the widows and orphans." These are things that liberals and conservatives all agree are important things to be done (of course there are differences in opinion over who constitutes these groups, but that's another argument).

Interestingly enough, it is the liberal/progressive that demands that government, whom they claim is not, cannot, must not, be an arm of the church, should DO CHRIST'S WORK. Why? If there is to be a separation of church and state, and the church is commanded to do these acts of mercy, why is the church demanding that the state do it? That makes no sense to me.

On the other hand, the conservatives (here I really mean The Reconstructionists) claim the state as being "under God" as our friend Kurt here stated. And yet, they see no extrapolation of the command to care for our brothers in need. That too is quite contradictory in my opinion, although certainly not as contradictory as the liberal claims.

I know here that Kurt will say that each sphere has its responsibilities, but let's be honest - if the family has a responsibility to care for its own, why should the church do it? And if the church should do it, why not the civil gov't? TEMPORARILY. I think that's what John means here, isn't it? A temporary measure to help people get back on their feet? Perhaps I am wrong, but I just wanted to weigh in on the liberal/progressive contradiction.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Virgil's picture

...if the family has a responsibility to care for its own, why should the church do it?

The church shouldn't do it, Ed, if the family is able to do it. It's the family's responsibility. However, we all know that some families may not be believers or have the financial means. So, then God says for the church to step in.

And if the church should do it, why not the civil gov't?

Because God did not ordain them to do so. The church is God's ordained "safety net." If the church is in such bad shape that it can't, then society is in big trouble (just like today), isn't it?

...why not the civil gov't? TEMPORARILY. I think that's what John means here, isn't it?

That's not what John said in his article. But, perhaps, John can respond more fully on this issue.

Virgil's picture

Ed - you are raising some good points. Remember, the "conservatives" are not always right or perfect. In fact, liberals although misguided, are often more compassionate towards the poor than most Christians out there. The danger with promoting personal responsability (for example Libertarian philosophy) is that you reach a point where selfishness dictates all your actions, which is in itself contradictory to Christ's principles.

Now, the Reconstructionist movement is making things way too complicated in my opinion, and they borderline on outright crazy ideas, like Gary North wanting to institute laws that would require the stoning of homosexuals and adulterers. Talk about living in the wrong age!

How about making things very simple and get back to Christ's very few words:

Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself

You think these simple words would encompass economics, politics..etc? :)

Virgil's picture

Virgil,

Apparently, you have a superficial understanding of the Reconstructionist movement and a simplistic, emotive conception of what it means to "love" that borders on the world's understanding (I hope I don't sound too harsh). That's a major deficiency of the visible "Christian" church - understanding what Jesus (and ALL Scripture) means when it is said to "Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself."

That's why we Christians often appear no different than the secular humanistic culture around us. We may be "saved" but we think too much like the world, instead of regenerated children of God.

Virgil's picture

Kurt - I noticed that whenever I disagree with you on these issues you say "WE appear no different than the secular humanistic culture around us." You really mean I am no different..right? :)

The Reconstructionist movement may be wonderful Kurt...it may have great ideas about all these things, but when its leader(s) says that adulterers and gays should be stoned to death, and that full preterism is a damnable heresy or a mental disorder, I have no use for the movement.

North has demonized Chilton when he became a full preterist and speculated that he was mentally ill...that's the only explanation for him becoming a full preterist. North and his mindless minions lost any credibility with the Y2K fiasco, and anti-technological attitude. It's one thing to be anti-humanistic, it's another thing to be outright ridiculous.

Does the Reconstructionist movement have anything at all to show for? Anything?

JL's picture

Virgil,

Homeschooling can be attributed to Rushdooney. If that's the only thing so far to come out of the Reconstructionist movement, it's enough. Homeschooling plus time will change the world.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Virgil's picture

JL - I can't buy that. Homeschooling has been around for hundreds of years before Rushdoony. To give the Reconstructionist movement credit for homeschooling is simply not appropriate given the historical heritage of this country.

coop's picture

Scripture has shown us that God has worked through specific men all through history. I believe He has done so with R.J. Rushdoony.

Virgil, if you want to get the proper view of U.S. history from a Biblical perspective, a must listen would be Rushdoony's "American History to 1865" tape set. I guarantee that if you listen with an open mind, you will be changed forever in you view of history and other matters regarding your adopted country. The scope of understanding that this man had was truly breath-taking.

Vision Forum ministries is a direct result of the great influence that this man had on Doug Phillips. The preterist movement should be so blessed to have such a mover and shaker planting the seeds that bear such fruit as RJR was for Vision Forum and other ministries.

JL's picture

Oh and Bill Gothard, the Baptist Reconstructionist.

I think you underestimate Rushdoony's influence in home schooling especially in the 1980's when we started. And I've been told that everybody who works for Gothard has to read Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law.

If anybody could ever be said to be leaders of the "home school movement," those two are.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Virgil's picture

No, Virgil, I mean "me" as well. I have to fight this humanistic thinking everyday, too. The society we live in is saturated in it.

Part of the problem that some have is viewing the Reconstructionist movement as one man - Gary North. Lest we forget, Gary DeMar is a full-blown Reconstructionist as well and a friend of Preterism.

What has the Reconstructionist movement have to show for itself? Looking at ALL Scripture as God-breathed and the recognition that the Law, as it applies to civil government, for one thing, is revealing of the mind of God, and that we better sit up and take notice of how He set up a nation.

It's interesting that you say that it was a "leader" of the Reconstructionist that "says that adulterers and gays should be stoned to death."
Silly me, I thought it was God who said this (Lev 20:10, Lev 20:13). Why do we have no problem putting to death someone who murdered (Lev 24:17) but balk at putting to death some who committed adultery or homosexual acts? God didn't draw a line here, we did. This needs to be explored more fully and not spiritualized away which is what humanists want done. They have poisoned our minds to the point where many Christians don't even think murder is punishable by death!

BTW, there is nothing "gay" about the homosexual lifestyle and anyone who uses that term in that way plays into hands of the anti-Christian culture. Call it what it is. Tell the truth in love.

Virgil's picture

Kurt, just to make it clear, I am not so readily as you in favor of the death penalty, so don't include me in the "we" that don't have a problem with condemning someone to death for murder, so I am in fact one of those who has a "poisoned mind." That's ok..I won't take it as an insult brother :) I am thinking...perhaps Jesus was drawing a line in the dirt when he refused to let the crowds kill the adulterous woman eh?

Now...as far as Gary North goes, I don't want to slander the man, and I have no motivation to keep talking about him, but this Wired News article speaks enough on the man's character.

Reconstructionism has nothing practical to show for Kurt, that's what I was asking. The more you force these issues on people, the more they will reject Christianity. The movement will fail for the reason that we DO have a free will recognized by God and rejected by them. People in general not only have, but want the choice to watch pornography, commit adultery, homosexual acts, curse, etc. No law on earth will stop anyone from doing these things...only the love of Christ win them over.

57chevypreterist's picture

I am thinking...perhaps Jesus was drawing a line in the dirt when he refused to let the crowds kill the adulterous woman eh?

Virgil, did the crowds have the authority to kill the adulterous woman? No. Only the civil government has the authority to carry out capital punishment. Interestingly enough, later on, the Jewish religious leaders understood this and had to take Jesus to Pilate to be executed!

We need to properly explore this area, which many, including preterists, appear to be severely lacking in Scriptural understanding.

This was exactly my point with John. He, you, I, and others need to explore and understand the proper relationship between the jurisdications and authority of the different institutions created by God - the whole Word of God - not just our little area of interest that ties this group together - Preterism.

The more you force these issues on people, the more they will reject Christianity.

There is no "forcing" that is done.

I'm sorry, Virgil. This just goes to show how ignorant you are about "reconstructionism." This is not a slam, but a wake up call for you.

I suggest that you discuss further with our friend Gary DeMar. He can set you straight on what true "reconstructionism" is. I'm really surprised that you seem to know so little about it since you had Gary to the conference 2 years ago.

Again, this may show how narrowly focused we are in the preterist movement.

Virgil's picture

Kurt, come on man, deal with the facts. How can you say that there is no "forcing" when Reconstructionism advocates old covenant case law? Of course the Jews had the authority to kill the adulterous woman..they've done it many times in the past! For crying out loud they said "In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? That's what the Law required them to do, so your example of Pilate being the representative of the civil government is simply wrong - you are forcing something in the Scripture that isn't there. Pilate was a corrupt puppet kind put in place by the Romans, not by God.

If I am ignorant on reconstructionism", how will you legally deal with adultery exactly? You are making it sound as if reconstructionism is some rocket-science fair of some sorts. Gary DeMar said "The definition of Christian Reconstruction is simply this: that the Bible applies to every facet of life." -- How is that anymore ambiguous or anymore clear than what Preterism already advocates?

So again, please tell me how will you, a reconstructionist advocate handle adultery and homosexuality in a recontructionist utopia?

JL's picture

Of course the Jews had the authority to kill the adulterous woman..they've done it many times in the past! For crying out loud they said "In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? That's what the Law required them to do, so your example of Pilate being the representative of the civil government is simply wrong - you are forcing something in the Scripture that isn't there.

Virgil, once again, knowing the jurisdictions of each - civil government, the church, and the family - is important.

Who was the Law given to? The nation of Israel. What kind of nation was Israel? A theocracy - both civil and religious governments were combined. When Israel came under the authority of the Romans, their country ceased from a civil government standpoint, while still retaining their religious matters under the religious authorities of the Jews. There was a SEPARATION of governments. Romans 13 shows that God only allows civil authorities to "bear the sword." Both civil and religious (the church) were combined prior to that. Thus, the difference.

Gary DeMar said "The definition of Christian Reconstruction is simply this: that the Bible applies to every facet of life."

Yes, but we also say that all we have to do is love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Both Gary's statement and the statement I just made are true. But that is only the summation of each of those matters. We need to flesh out what this actually means in real life situations.

And before you say that I am not giving you a specific answer to what to do with adulterers and homosexuals...acknowledging that we have to flesh the applications of this out is greatly different than your uninformed view in which you say in effect that these laws no longer apply or are unimportant.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JL's picture

Of course the Jews had the authority to kill the adulterous woman..they've done it many times in the past! For crying out loud they said "In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? That's what the Law required them to do, so your example of Pilate being the representative of the civil government is simply wrong - you are forcing something in the Scripture that isn't there.

Virgil, once again, knowing the jurisdictions of each - civil government, the church, and the family - is important.

Who was the Law given to? The nation of Israel. What kind of nation was Israel? A theocracy - both civil and religious governments were combined. When Israel came under the authority of the Romans, their country ceased from a civil government standpoint, while still retaining their religious matters under the religious authorities of the Jews. There was a SEPARATION of governments. Romans 13 shows that God only allows civil authorities to "bear the sword." Both civil and religious (the church) were combined prior to that. Thus, the difference.

Gary DeMar said "The definition of Christian Reconstruction is simply this: that the Bible applies to every facet of life."

Yes, but we also say that all we have to do is love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Both Gary's statement and the statement I just made are true. But that is only the summation of each of those matters. We need to flesh out what this actually means in real life situations.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JL's picture

Kurt,

The OT government had judges to run the civil government and priests to run the religious government. They had seperation of church and state from the very beginning.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

coop's picture

Civil and religious governments were brought together under Moses who directly reported to God. Not like Israel under Roman civil government. Pilate had to be convinced that a CIVIL law was being broken in Jesus' case before he could act. No such distinction under Israel with God as King.

JL's picture

Virgil,

I think you are ignorant of Reconstructionism. The OT Law gives the maximum penalty. The victim decides what penalty to impose. If the Law required stoning, then Jesus was wrong, Joseph was not righteous, and Hosea sinned by trying to win back Gomer.

The Law allows forgiveness. The Law allows redemption. In the case of the woman caught, her husband did not condemn her. Her accusers were a bunch of other men she'd been sleeping with. Since they were involved in the crime, they should have all been stoned with her. They were not legal witnesses. And they had no standing before any court.

Given the penalties for fornication, I believe the most common penalty for adultery (when prosecuted) would have been the adulterer pays the bride price for a virgin to the husband, the husband divorces, and the adulterers are forced to marry.

As for homosexuals, only those who do it in public could be punished. Those who do it in private have no witnesses against them and no victims.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Virgil's picture

Ok...so then Gary North, the most outspoken proponent of reconstructionism also must be ignorant on the topic since he advocates the institution of laws that would force the public stoning of adulterers and homosexuals.

Now...as far as the adulterous woman goes, how do you know that her accusers were sleeping with her, I am just curious?

JL's picture

I've read North. What I've said here, I believe is consistant with what North advocates.

As for the woman, how come they knew just where to find her? How come they didn't bring the man?

The witnesses to a capital crime were required to cast the first stones. OT Law does not allow a person involved in the crime to testify as a witness. They were all guilty of that specific crime. So they were not legal witnesses. None of them could legally cast a stone at her.

Jesus' statement can easily be understood in that way. And it is consistent with all of the evidence.

You need an explanation of Joseph's behavior towards Mary. Joseph was a righteous man. If he's so righteous, then why was he violating your interpretation of the Law? Mary should have been stoned. Joseph should have thrown the first stone. Putting her away was out of the question. Marrying her was also.

The simplest answer is the Law did not require death for adultery. It only allowed it for a maximum penalty.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

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