Elective Course In Seminary Education — Economics

Reformed Weltanschauung; Economics

This course of study is intended to get the Seminary student to begin thinking about Biblical understandings of Money.

The purpose of this course is to allow Reformed presuppositions and a Reformed Christian Worldview to mold how we think about money and economics. The emphasis will fall on some of the various paradigms that have been offered concerning Economics focusing especially on the Austrian School, the Ropke Third way and the Distributionist schools. Keynesianism will not be considered except to critique it, as Keynesianism is to Economics what Rap is to Music. The Student will be learning the Macro approach to Economics.

Note — This is a course to familiarize the Seminary Student in Basic Economic theory. It is not intended as a Masters level course for one who is receiving their Masters in Economics.

Main Texts

1.) Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy – Thomas Sowell
2.) Economics In One Lesson — Henry Hazlitt

Required Reading

1.) Applied Economics; Thinking Beyond Stage One — Thomas Sowell
2.) The Social Crisis of Our Time — Wlhelm Ropke
3.) The Law — Frederic Bastiat
4.) What Has Government Done to Our Money? — Murray N. Rothbard
5.) Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis — Ludwig Von Mises
6.) Cliches of Socialism — Anonymous
7.) The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve — Em Griffin
8.) Road To Serfdom — F. A. Hayek
9.) Baptized Inflation — Ian Hodge
10.) Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators: A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider
David Chilton

11.) Three Works on Distributism — G. K. Chesterton
12.) The Servile State — Hilaire Belloc
13.) A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market — Wilhelm Ropke

Supplementary Reading

1.) The Secrets of the Federal Reserve — Eustace Mullins
2.) The Federal Reserve Conspiracy — Anthony Sutton

1.) Read the main Text books and write chapter summaries.

2.) Read the rest of the Required Reading and write a paper on the following Subject Matter

A.) Distinguish Between The Austrian School, the Distributists school, and the Ropke School
B.) Fifteen Page Paper Highlighting the Problem With Centralized Banking (Consider Supplementary books)
C.) A Interactive Media Presentation On The Dangers Of Libertarianism Gone To Seed
D.) Looking At Books #1, #5, #9, and #10 write a ten page paper on the problems with Keynesianism
E.) What are the potential pitfalls of Distributism in books #11, #12 — Ten page paper
F.) Twenty page paper explaining the danger of understanding man as a primarily Economic being

4.) Interact 1 hour weekly with the Instructor regarding points of interest in the book that you are currently reading.

5.) Be prepared for pop quizzes or short essay requirements.

Were I to recommend books for the High Schooler from this list I would go with the Required reading list and then add book #6, #10 and Supplementary book #2

McAtee Contra Bahnsen


First, understand that Bahnsen writes like a neo-con. This means he is a progressive though he interprets everything from the right side of the left. He is not a conservative in any legitimate sense of the word.


There is nothing to celebrate or bemoan in what happened over the last 24 hours. A little rule-of-thumb of mine may be appropriate to share here: When BOTH parties say they want a certain thing, you can bet that after a whole lot of posturing or politicking and time-wasting, that thing is going to happen. It is not that easy when only one party says they want something. BOTH parties said they wanted the bottom four tax rates to stay where they were. BOTH parties said they did not want the estate tax exclusion amount to revert to the preposterous $1 million level. BOTH parties said they wanted a dividend tax rate at 20% or lower. It is no surprise that all these things are happening.


There is plenty to bemoan with this legislation.

1.) progressive income tax is a plank in the Marxist manifesto. The fact that any group of wage earner’s tax is going up is plenty to bemoan. Bahnsen has embraced the premise that progressive income tax is something that we just have to live with. I bemoan that we have a progressive income tax instead of a flat tax or something like a flat tax.

2.) The fact that we are getting more spending then tax cuts is outrageous. Not only does the McConnell Tax Hike stick it to the middle class, it raises taxes $41 for every $1 in spending cuts. Those spending cuts are ephemeral as there is $330 billion in new spending and a $4 trillion price tag over the next ten years. This plan is not fiscally responsible for a people who own their souls to the Chinese and are borrowing against future generations wealth.

3.) Keep in mind that with this deal more than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes.

Both Hollywood and NASCAR get carve outs. So too do wind energy companies.


Now, do I want my income tax rate going up? No, and I think it is immorally high even at 35%, let alone 39.6%. However, anyone telling you that the Senate or House voted for a tax increase is lying, and they know it. The law of the land was for a dramatically higher increase in rates across the board to kick in, and there have been huge reductions passed in the last 24 hours from all of those legally set levels. In other words, a tax cut was passed, not a tax increase. Did the Republicans hold their ground about not agreeing to see the top rate go from 35% to 39%? No. Did the always-pompous Obama keep his sworn campaign pledge for rates to go up on all incomes above $250,000? No, with all the leverage in the world he folded like a bad poker hand and agreed to a $450,000 income level for that increase. There are things to like and things not to like, but there is simply no debating that it is better than what we were going to get – by a mile.


This is typical compromise political speak. Bahnsesn doesn’t know what we were “going to get” so how can he proclaim that this is “better then we were going to get?” This is like a virgin being told that she has to choose between becoming pregnant or contracting a STD and then upon becoming compromise her chastity saying, “Well, I may have gotten pregnant but I didn’t get a STD and so being pregnant is better than I was going to get by a mile.”

What if she had just said “no.” What if the Republicans had just said “no?” Who knows what we would have got?


So why are people like Erick Ericson so mad? Because this plan does not cut spending the way we want. Well, no kidding Sherlock (I like the real expression better). It does not tackle deficits and debts because THE WRONG PARTY WON THE ELECTION.


More compromise from Bahnsen. He is cut from the same cloth as Boehner and McConnell.

We are so mad because even though the Republicans won the house they cave at every turn. We are so mad because the Republican moderates (Boehner & Cantor’s people) are forging a ruling coalition with the Democrats against Republican conservatives. Has Bahnsen forgotten how divided Government works? Given the 2012 vote that gave the House to the Republicans and the Presidency to Democrats the people obviously wanted gridlock. All because a Democrat wins the Presidency doesn’t mean that he gets what he wants when there is a decidedly Republican Congress. Bahnsen reasoning is curious.


The so-called resolution to fiscal cliff is a joke, but that is not because it is a bad piece of legislation. The bad piece of legislation was the initial bill that failed to build in tax reductions on a permanent basis back in 2001 and 2003. Elections matter. Do not ever set policy on the presupposition that your party will never lose again. And when you do lose, do not act like you didn’t. The time to flex our muscle and block spending where we legally can is coming. But there was no possible way to do that yesterday.


There was a way to do that before this deal. Boehner could have held the debt limit increase that Obama wants in a very short time hostage. He could have used that as a leveraging chip but he didn’t and when the time comes around to debate the debt ceiling limit the Republican will cave AGAIN. Why elect Republicans when they are not going to be fiscally responsible?


For Republicans mad about this deal, I suggest you do what always has to precede real political improvement in a Republic: Win your elections. The Libertarians and Paul-bots have been sitting around crying in their beer for over thirty years while they capture 1% of the voting public’s attention. Do not stoop to their loser level. Win an election, then demand a harder line on spending. For now, we were facing something far, far worse, and we got an improvement. Keep your eye on the ball, friends. This is a long war.

Bret L. McAtee

This is a untempered statement by someone not thinking through the implications of what he says.

Republicans won MASSIVELY in 2010. Did they do anything? Did they stop the debt ceiling limit? Did they do anything to investigate this President? No .. instead what we got with a Tea Party propelled victory is a Neo Con Speaker. Clearly winning elections do not matter as Rockefeller Republicans dance cheek to jowl with Socialist Democrats. Boehner is not a conservative and neither is McConnel or Bahnsen.

And why is he moaning about the Libertarians if they are so insignificant? Me thinketh Bahnsen doth protest too much.

We are being turned into a slave people and the best Bahnsen can do is lash out at Libertarians?

Liberals Continue To Give Back-Handed Support To The Belhar

Over here

What about the Belhar Confession?

There is a backhanded appeal to the support of the Belhar Confession. I normally wouldn’t comment on this but the blogger linked to my analysis of the Belhar and opinionated that I dismissed it “derisively.” Personally, I was hoping to have dismissed it “scornfully,” but I’ll take derisive.

Mr. Tuininga offered,

That said, is the problem really with the document itself? If DeYoung, Mouw, and others can agree with virtually everything the document says, is it possible that the misuses to which it is being put are the result of factors not pertaining to the confession itself? To be sure, in a liberal context the Belhar Confession is easily put to disastrous use. But if it is adopted in the context of strong confessional allegiances to the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dordt, or the Westminster Confession, is it really so dangerous or is it more of a corrective?

Yes, the problem is with the document itself. The document, as I exhaustively exposed in my previous posts on the Belhar is a document that grows out of the soil of Marxist liberation theology. Second, anybody (and I do mean anybody) who can agree with virtually everything that document says is either a Marxist, a proto-Marxist, or a useful idiot. Thirdly, the reason that the Belhar, in a liberal context could be used to disastrous use is because the Belhar is a liberal document. If a Liberal context can put the Bible, which is a historically non progressive document, to a disastrous use how much more a progressive document such as the Belhar? Fourthly, just exactly what is it in the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dordt, the Heidelberg catechism, or the Westminster Confession that needs to have a corrective as young liberal Mr. Tuininga offers the Belhar as a solution? I’d really like to know what Mr. Tuininga believes the Belhar can do that these confessions don’t already do. Finally, yes, in point of fact it really is so dangerous Mr. Tuininga. To add the Belhar to the Westminster or the Three Forms of Unity is like adding the Communist Manifesto to the US Constitution as a “corrective.” The fact that Mr. Tuininga can’t see that says more about Mr. Tuininga then it does about the relative safety of the Belhar.

Second, I’m not sure Young and Mouw are really representative of “conservative voices,” on this issue. They might be “more conservative,” but that would only mean that they represent, perhaps, the right side of the left as opposed to representing the right.

Tuininga goes on,

DeYoung argues that the Belhar Confession’s statement that God is “in a special way the God of the poor, the destitute, and the wronged” cannot be supported from Scripture. He believes that this statement contradicts the Scriptural teaching regarding God’s covenant with his people. But I would argue that DeYoung is reading too much into that statement, and that he is underselling what Scripture says about God’s concern for the poor. It is Luke, after all, who records Jesus’ proclamation Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God, and woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation (Luke 6:20, 24). It was Jesus who described his calling as requiring him to proclaim good news to the poor (Luke 4:18). DeYoung has argued in his What is the Mission of the Church? that the material significance of these statements is exaggerated, but I find his insistence on downplaying the implications of the gospel regarding poverty quite troubling. It does not go beyond Scripture to say that God is in a special way the God of the poor and the oppressed.

Yes indeed it does go beyond Scripture to say that God is in a special way the God of the poor and oppressed. Was God more God to David when he was a shepherd boy then he was God to David when David was King? Was God more God to the oppressed Israelites in Egypt than he was to Rich Abraham? Was God more God outcast Moses than He was God to Moses the leader of the Israelite Nation? Was God more God to the woman with the blood issue who had spent all her money on many Doctors than He was God to rich Zacchaeus? Was God more God to the woman caught in adultery than he was to Joseph of Arimathea? The Luke passage must be read in light of the Matthew passage which adds to “poor,” the idea of “in spirit,” in order to understand what Jesus was saying. When Scripture portrays God as hearing the cry of the poor and needy no one really believes that means that God hears the cry of the poor and needy who are wicked as well. It is past ridiculous for someone to suggest that God prioritizes the poor simply because they are poor, absent of any consideration of their relation to Christ. If Mr. Tuininga really believes that the poor qua poor are special to God I would look for him to impoverish himself instantly, take a vow of poverty, and become a mendicant monk. Now of course, God is not the God, in a special way, to the rich either. God is the God of those, rich or poor, who are united to Jesus Christ. Mr. Tuininga’s words belie his liberal leanings.

Mr. Tuininga offers,

In fact, if the Belhar Confession (or something like it) is worth adopting in our churches, I would argue that it is precisely for the reason that it challenges conservatives in their reactionary stance on matters of justice. Conservative Christians love to downplay (or ignore) the teachings of Scripture regarding the gospel’s implications for race or poverty. But they are in severe danger of allowing liberal extremes on these issues to curb their own fidelity to the biblical witness. For those who read older theologians like Calvin on these issues, the contrast is quite stark.

I wonder if Mr. Tuininga would terribly mind to much giving some examples of “conservative reactionary stances on matters of justice.” It would be good if he could provide names as well as examples. Secondly, just exactly what are the Scripture’s teaching on race and poverty that conservative Christians love to downplay? Names and examples please.

You see, I believe that it is liberal reactionary stances on matters of justice that create more poverty then what already exist. Liberals are full of good intentions that when implemented make matters worse then they were prior to their implementation. Perhaps Mr. Tuininga and I agree on the Churches and Christians role in relieving poverty.

Socialism Bromide #5 — So Since You’re Against Government Spending, What Would You Cut?

The response which those who believe in limited government often get from people who think that the Government should be redistributing wealth is, “What would you cut.” Sometimes such a question is better and more quickly answered by making a list of things one wouldn’t cut. The best and easiest answer though to such a question is to say, “I would cut all those programs not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution.”

People must keep in mind that whenever Government involves itself in wealth redistribution Government is involved in theft as they steal from Peter to give to Paul. As theft is sin, no Biblical Christian can support a Government that involves itself in confiscatory taxation to the end of massive wealth redistribution schemes.

In the words of Leornard Read, Government’s function,

should defend the lives and property of all citizens equally. This means protecting willing exchange and restraining unwilling exchange; suppressing and penalizing fraud, misrepresentation, predatory practice; invoking a common justice under written law; and keeping the records incidental to these functions. Governments legitimate purpose is to codify and then inhibit all destructive actions while leaving all creative and productive actions — including welfare, charity, security, and prosperity — to citizens acting voluntarily, privately, cooperatively, or competitively as they freely choose.”

When the government is in the business of seizing the assets of the citizenry government loses it’s status as legitimate because such a government at that point has gone from that institution which is responsible to insure proper boundaries for a vibrant market to being a institution that exists for its own end and to be enriched in that end with the private property of others. When Government tilts the balances of free exchange by putting its Leviathan thumb on the scales of exchange, Government thieves from some people (those they take from) not only their wealth but also thieves from other people (those they redistribute to) their sense of personal individual responsibility and so their dignity.

So, in embracing the philosophy of limited government I would cut all of those funds that work to keep the citizenry dependent upon the Federal Government as opposed to being dependent upon themselves as they look to God for His provision as they ply the trades, professions, and crafts to which God calls them.

Socialism Bromides #4 — Strikes Are Only For Bowling & Baseball

It is taken as a given that there is a right to strike without losing one’s job, but does that make sense?

Certainly people have a moral privilege to quit but is quitting, while using force to make sure “scabs” don’t take your job moral? Is it ethical to be able to coerce by force a employer, who without use of force would be unwilling to meet the demands of increased pecuniary and benefit recompense? I would say that no person, nor any league of persons who have banded together in order to negotiate by the force of the mob has an ethical place to stand when it comes to going on strike.

Imagine if we tried to take the reasoning attached to going on strike and marry it to the Doctor – patient relationship. The patient comes to the Physician with a malady and comes to contract with the Physician to treat and heal his disease. Both patient and Doctor are pleased with the arrangement. If either Doctor or patient pulls out of the agreement without breech of contract there is no problem. But, assume instead that the Physician (employee to the employer patient) in the middle of the corrective surgery or treatment goes on strike against the patient and says,

“I demand three times the wage that we agreed on or I quit and furthermore upon quitting I will, by use of force, prevent any other available qualified Doctor from treating your disease. If you do not meet my demands you will live without medical care forever.”

Stripped of all the emotional baggage the above parallel Doctor, Patient scenario is exactly what striking in the workplace is. Without the emotional baggage of “worker’s rights” and “being ‘fairly’ treated,” suddenly the right to strike is seen as morally ugly and unseemly as it really is.

To insist that one has the right to strike is to embrace that “might makes right,” since the right to strike embraces the right to use force to exclude competitors who might be pleased to take the wage and work that the striker is refusing to take or do. To insist that one has the right to strike is to embrace the idea that thug control normally associated with the acts of government are to be preferred over the voluntary exchange that occurs in a free market between buyers and sellers where mutually agreed on price (price of labor, and price of wage) are arrived at peacefully.

Leonard Read could write on this subject wisely offering,

“Lying deep at the root of the strike is the persistent notion that an employee has a right to continue an engagement once he has begun it, as if the engagement was his own piece of property. The notion is readily exposed as false when examined in the patient – physician relationship. A job is but an exchange affair, It ceases to exist the moment either party quits or the contract ends. The right to a job that has been quit is no more valid than the right to a job that has never been held.”

There is no moral right to strike, and as striking leads to a forced expropriation of funds from the one who is the Employer of the Strikers, one could easily make the case that striking is a form of violation of the 8th commandment since as the Heidelberg Catechism teaches, a strike would come under Lord’s Day 42, Answer 110

Answer: God forbids not only outright theft and robbery[1] but also such wicked schemes and devices as false weights and measures, deceptive merchandising, counterfeit money, and usury;[2] we must not defraud our neighbor in any way, whether by force or by show of right.[3] In addition God forbids all greed[4] and all abuse or squandering of His gifts.[5]

[1] Ex. 22:1; I Cor. 5:9, 10; 6:9, 10. [2] Deut. 25:13-16; Ps. 15:5; Prov. 11:1; 12:22; Ezek. 45:9-12; Luke 6:35. [3] Mic. 6:9-11; Luke 3:14; James 5:1-6. [4] Luke 12:15; Eph. 5:5. [5] Prov. 21:20; 23:20, 21; Luke 16:10-13.

Certainly no one could argue that Striking is not a wicked scheme and device that is tantamount to outright theft and robbery.