Monthly Archives: September 2009

Happy Birthday, Ludwig von Mises!

Born today in 1881, Ludwig von Mises was one of the 20th century’s most important intellectuals and one of its most passionate defenders of freedom. He is the economics equivalent of the giants of all the other disciplines (e.g., Einstein). And as Mario Rizzo notes over at ThinkMarkets, he is responsible for what is probably the most important single economic idea of the last century: rational economic calculation is impossible under socialism, and attempts to put such a system in place will only impoverish the citizenry.

Read the rest at The Austrian Economists: Happy Birthday to Mises.

Wikipedia on the anti-federalists seems too abstract

Anti-Federalism is a political philosophy which opposes the concept of Federalism. In short, Anti-Federalists dictate that the central governing authority of a nation should be equal or inferior to, but not having more power than, its sub-national states (state government). A book titled “The Anti-Federalist Papers” is a detailed explanation of American Anti-Federalist thought.

via Anti-Federalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I’m not insane enough to fight on wikipedia, but I don’t think this gives an accurate picture.  I don’t think there was a “political philosophy” that opposed “Federalism.” I think it was a response to the governments that actually existed. There were thirteen sovereign states who won their sovereignty by a war for independence. That was a fact. Those were the governments that existed. They were not “sub-national” because there simply was no nation state.

Now, in response to the attempt to win jurisdiction over these states via voting, many argued against ceding to such jurisdiction because they believed it effectively guaranteed conquest by a foreign entity.

To make wikipedia’s definition work, we’d need to see some claim that all nations everywhere should have sub-national states that are equal to or superior to the central governing authority.  I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Election, Covenant, and the Bible

Joshua Moon, pastor of Good Shepherd PCA in Minnetonka, Minn. says, “I don’t attach a special value to eternal election over and above any other doctrine of the church. However, Paul emphasizes it to the Ephesians, but not the Corinthians, or the Galatians, or the Philippians. [The prophets of the Old Testament are] by and large silent on the issue of divine (eternal and effective) election: they are more interested in the reality of ‘covenantal’ election, and urging those elected into the people of God by birth and promise to become and live like true people of God. That I take as more central to my task in preaching.”

via byFaith Magazine – In the Church – Conversations about Conversion, Evangelism, and Membership.

Intellectual property seems more like a state invention than God’s idea

The spirits of John Wycliff and Brother Andrew hover over this shameful situation compelling us to act. If the enemy forces were a state religion like the Church of England or an oppressive government like China or Iran we would think nothing of risking our lives to bring the Bible to those who can’t access it otherwise. But in this case because the bad guys have the words “Bible Society” in their name we’re supposed to sit on our thumbs.

via Illegal sources of the Portuguese Bible in digital format | lingamish.

Please read the whole amazing post.

“Bible Society” in the name doesn’t change the fact that it is state monopoly laws backed by a courts and policing regime that are the enemy.  In fact, this makes me think of a new argument against “intellectual property” in general for Christians.  If you don’t think God’s word can be copyrighted, maybe we need to question the general principle of copyright in the first place.

Note to self: plagiarize this in future sermon

We put too much confidence in means. If we have good callings, house, land, living, we can then trust in God: but when means of comfort fail, we are like the Usurer, who will not trust the man, but his pawn: even so we trust not God upon his bare word, without a pawn. If he comes to us with a full hand, and with the full pawn of his good gifts, and blessings, we trust him; else not.

via Barlow Farms.

Nevin on Catholicity

Eph. IV. 4-6.–There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

This is the image of the CHURCH, as delineated by the hand of the inspired Apostle. In the whole world, we find nothing so resplendently beautiful and glorious, under any other form. The picture is intended to enforce the great duty of charity and peace, among those who bear the Christian name. In the preceding part of the epistle, Christ is exhibited as the end of all separations and strife to them that believe, and the author of a new spiritual creation, in which all former distinctions were to be regarded as swallowed up and abolished forever. Reference is had in this representation primarily to the old division of Jew and Gentile; but in its true spirit and sense, it is plainly as comprehensive as humanity itself, and looks therefore directly to every other distinction of the same sort, that ever has been or ever shall be known in the world. Christianity is the universal solvent, in with all opposites are required to give up their previous affinities, no matter how old and stubborn, and flow together in a new combination, pervaded with harmony only and light at every point. “In Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, not uncircumcision, but a new creature.” “Those who were far off, are made nigh by his blood.” “He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; making in himself of twain one new man.” In him, all spiritual antagonism among men is subverted. The human world is reconciled first with God, and then with itself, by entering with living consciousness into the ground of its own life as revealed in his person. Such is the idea of the Church, which is “the body of Christ, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” And now at length, passing from doctrine to practice, the Apostle calls

upon those to whom he wrote to surrender themselves fully to the claims of this exalted constitution. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Such a temper, and such a life, are necessarily included in the very conception of the Church, as here described. “There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” He does not say, Let there be one body and one Spirit, as simply urging Christians to seek such agreement among themselves as might justify this view of their state; but the fact is assumed as already in existence, and is made the ground accordingly of the exhortation that goes before. There is one body and Spirit in the bond of peace. The unity of the Church is not something which results first from the thought and purpose of her vast membership, of which it is composed; but on the contrary, it is the ground out of which this membership itself springs, and in which perpetually it stands, and from which it must derive evermore all its harmony, and stability, and activity, and strength.

From the beginning, this great truth has dwelt deep in the consciousness of the Christian world. Through all ages, and in all lands, that consciousness has been uttering itself as with one mouth, in the article of the creed, I believe in the Holy Catholic Church. The Church is one and universal. Her unity is essential to her existence. Particular Christians, and particular congregations, and particular religious denominations, can be true to themselves only as they stand in the full, free sense of this thought, and make it the object of their calling to fulfil its requisitions. The manifold is required to feel itself one. All particularism here must be false, that seeks to maintain itself as such, in proportion exactly as it is found in conflict with the general and universal, as embraced in the true idea of the body of Christ.

I propose to consider, in the further prosecution of the subject at this time, first, the Nature and Constitution of the Holy Catholic Church, in the view now stated; and secondly, the Duty of Christians as it regards the unity, by which it is declared to be thus Catholic, and holy, and true.

Read the rest: “ Catholic Unity”.

6 talking point for North American freedom

1. Big business and big government are (for the most part) natural allies.

2. Although conservative politicians pretend to hate big government, and liberal politicians pretend to hate big business, most mainstream policies – both liberal and conservative – involve (slightly different versions of) massive intervention on behalf of the big-business/big-government elite at the expense of ordinary people.

3. Liberal politicians cloak their intervention on behalf of the strong in the rhetoric of intervention on behalf of the weak; conservative politicians cloak their intervention on behalf of the strong in the rhetoric of non-intervention and free markets – but in both cases the rhetoric is belied by the reality.

4. A genuine policy of intervention on behalf of the weak, if liberals actually tried it, wouldn’t work either, since the nature of government power would automatically warp it toward the interests of the elite.

5. A genuine policy of non-intervention and free markets, if conservatives actually tried it, would work, since free competition would empower ordinary people at the expense of the elite.

6. Since conservative policies, despite their associated free-market rhetoric, are mostly the diametrical opposite of free-market policies, the failures of conservative policies do not constitute an objection to (but rather, if anything, a vindication of) free-market policies.

from Wild Cards | Austro-Athenian Empire.

hat tip

The problem with R2Kt


Zwingli preaching behind a long, skinny, metal, sharp pulpit.

The problem with radical “two kingdom theology” as being espoused by Kline, Hart, et al….

The problem?

Well, I’m not talking about content.  I’m not talking about why I disagree with it, why I think the Bible says something different.

So far, go here, here, and here for that.

No, the problem I’m talking about is that it isn’t historically Christian.  It isn’t historically Reformed. It is not anything except some new idea that is being sold as it if is the self-evident tradition of Protestants.

The followers of John Huss hold a Bible study.

The followers of John Huss hold a Bible study.

Precedents?  Are you serious?

Oh wait, there was the change in the Westminster Standards on the civil magistrate that happened to be made by Americans the same year as the Constitutional Convention. That’s ancient history and undoubtedly the result of sober Bible study. But, even so, the change doesn’t give us R3Kt and they forgot to be complete if that was their aim (the questions and answers on the Lord’s prayer, for example).

Wait!  What about Luther’s “two kingdoms”?


R2Kt is firmly rooted in Luther’s theology and Ayn Rand was nothing more than a Aristotelian philosopher.  Get real.  If Luther’s politics were implemented today the world would assume that we were suffering under sharia law.  Modern secular “Reformed” versions of “Lutheranism” are not credible.

Far be it from me to idolize tradition, but I’d like some honesty about historic orthodoxy here.


Alfred the VBS instructor dressed up in his Eph 6 costume. (VBS = Viking Bible School; he schooled many.)

Never despair

I thought about using Churchill’s “Never give up,” as the title of this entry.  But sometimes you need to give up because what you are attempting is not going to work and/or is not right.

But giving up is not the same as despairing.  Giving up is the pursuit of a new path.  It is hope.  It should be.

Never despair.

I’ve been reading in Isaiah and it occurred to me that one of the great things about the Bible’s corporate perspective on reality means that the corporate can often be applied to the personal.

Awake, awake, put on strength,
O arm of the LORD;
awake, as in days of old,
the generations of long ago.
Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
who pierced the dragon?
Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made the depths of the sea a way
for the redeemed to pass over?
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

No matter what you are going through, it is not over.  And your future is not determined by your past.  God can change things totally around.  He has in the past and he can do so again.

For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” For thus says the Lord God: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.”

Never despair.

Parents are not potters

I remember as a very childless very young married man talking about how I looked forward to homeschooling and “molding” the minds of my children.

Pretty demeaning to them and pretty stupid.

They mold back.  They have their own gifts.  They have their own personalities.  They have their own goals.  They have their own choices.

God had Adam in a controlled environment with controlled information and Adam failed his first and only test as soon as God left him on his own.  God seems to have a record of failure as a parent (unless we actually admit that the children have some responsibility)

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand (Isaiah 1.2, 3).

I’m using a rather negative example to make a point, but the point has a positive side.  Children are often better than their parents.  They eventually know better how their lives will go.

Obviously, in this case, the analogy with God as our parent breaks down.  But another analogy can be used.  “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Our children are not the Incarnation, but having been baptized, they too, by God’s act in baptizing them, have been adopted.  “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.” You’re a steward with authority for many years, but you can’t know everything and you have to let go eventually.  So you can’t make all your decisions when you do have authority as if you knew what’s to come.

And there is something wonderful about it all.  If parents could be potters then we’d never hear of conversions from non-Christian homes and the social engineering attempt by the public schools would work perfectly.