Postmillennialism and Education and Christian Idea of Economics - RR148K19

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Postmillennialism & Education & Christian Idea of Economics
Course: Course - Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools
Subject: Subject:Education
Lesson#: 19
Length: 0:29:10
TapeCode: RR148K19
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Let us begin with prayer. Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we give thanks unto thee for all thy blessings. We thank thee, O Lord, that thou art sovereign, that thou art Lord and governor of all things, that the government is, indeed, upon thy shoulders. Give us grace so to walk day by day, that we may ever learn to cast our every care upon thee, to take hands off our lives and commit them into thy keeping. Bless us this evening as we give ourselves to the study of all things in terms of thy word, that we might know in every area of life and thought that thou art sovereign. Bless us to this purpose in Jesus name. Amen.

This evening, as usual, we will have two sessions, and in our first session, in answer to your request, Ed Powell will speak on economics, a biblical interpretation of economics.

[Powell] Before I start, I’d like to know how many of you are students and how many of you are teachers? How many students do we have here? And how many teachers? And how many are {?} in the ministry teaching profession? The reason I ask is because I’m going to try to define economics, a Christian concept of economics, and I wasn’t quite sure what you’d need if you’re mostly teachers. I don’t know really how to explain a Christian concept of economics so that you can apply it to your school, so I’m just going to try to explain what economics is from a Christian perspective.

In one of Rushdoony’s tapes, he explained that economics was a branch of theology and once was known as moral economy. An example was John Witherspoon, who is primarily responsible for having economic beliefs incorporated in the United States Constitution, primarily in terms of the precious metals used for money. The Bible has precious metals for the use of money. It goes by weight; silver and gold, and this was the primary responsibility of the federal government at the creation of the United States {?} Constitution, that the federal government would issue coins as legal tender, in specified amounts. [00:03:18]

Economics is always a branch of moral theology...[edit]

Economics is always a branch of moral theology. Even today, it is a branch of theology, but it is a branch of humanist theology today, and not a Christian theology worldwide. It is a branch of theology because economics rests upon a juridical principle of ownership. It rests on a principle of faith, a belief in lordship. To try to define economics specifically, an exact and particular definition is very hard. Must answer the question “What is economics?” is virtually an impossibility unless you start from a theological foundation. If you ask an economist “What is economics?” he will give you his definition. If you ask another economist the same question, he will give you another definition. There is a saying that if you put four Frenchmen into a room, that they will form five political parties, and that also can be said of economists. If you put four economists in a room, they will come up with twelve definition of economics. It’s the study of a political economy.

The reason for this stems from their theological foundation in which they define economics. Basically, the older definition that comes from the Greek is the proper rendering of economics. The Greek word used for this means “pertaining to the management of a household.” Economics then is a study of the management of a household, state, nation, business, or whatever you have. It’s a management of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods. When we say the management of a household, business, nation, or state, we are talking about the management of a production, distribution, and consumption of goods.

Now, whoever manages these economics activities must own and control these economic activities. The manager of any business, in the ultimate sense, has to be the owner of the business. You cannot divorce ownership and control. If you say you own a cow but the state says you cannot milk it, you cannot kill it, you cannot use it for meat, you cannot feed it on pasture land, this control of how that cow may be used, you cannot say you own it. Only if you control something can you say that you own it. So, ownership and control go hand-in-hand. So, we have to say that we start with the idea that economics is the study of the management of the production, consumption, and distribution of goods, we’re talking about who makes the rules for these economic activities. Who makes the law that governs the production, distribution and consumption of goods? In other words, how can goods be produced? [00:07:16]

The first principle of economics, of understanding...[edit]

The first principle of economics, of understanding it, is this ownership principle. We can never understand economics apart from this ownership principle. {?} upon this principle of ownership, of lordship, we begin our study of economics. Now economics never begins with the study of individual economic activity. It never begins with the study of how I manage my money, how the state manages its money, or how General Motors manages its cars. It begins with an overall world and life view of ownership. It begins with the basic presupposition of ultimate ownership of creation, of man and his world. I think I’m losing some of you, am I?

Now, you have to understand this because this is central to our understanding of economics, because if you don’t understand that economics deals with the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods from an ownership principle, {?} . You have to understand that whoever owns the world, makes the rules for the world, and sets the laws by which goods can be produced, distributed, and consumed.

You can understand this from God’s {?} man from Paradise, in the Garden of Eden. You see, when God created Adam, He created Adam because God {?}. Adam was not determined {?} apart from God. {?} in terms of God. So, as you view the world, you view it through the eyes of God. Now since Adam and God are difference essences, the only way he could think God’s thoughts after Him is by thinking in terms of His law {?} himself and creation. So, when Adam classified and named the animals, he saw these animals through the eyes of God, and that is possible because man does not have the mind of God, but {?} is not limited. So when Adam classified the animals, he was classifying them according to his biological characteristics; a horse was a horse, a duck was a duck. In other words, the biological characteristics that matched the horse he didn’t stick on a duck. When Adam thought in terms of God, he would hitch up a plow to a horse, to plow his field. He would take, in terms of God, to how God’s creation works. In other words, he thought God’s thoughts after Him, in terms of the world {?} creation [00:10:37]

Now this capitalized Adam, and made Adam more efficient...[edit]

Now this capitalized Adam, and made Adam more efficient. As he worked in terms of the laws and rules of creation, planting a garden, the tilling of the soil, he became more productive. On the other hand, if you hitched up a plow to a duck and forced this duck to plow, you would have killed the duck. You would have lost the duck, you would have lost all that time, and you would have lost {?}. Now this would be capitalizing {?} So, in other words, what we see now is that man, in Adam, before the fall, thought God’s thoughts after Him, {?} that he could capitalize himself {?}. He could create and subdue the world through the law of God. Now this is the {?} principle of ownership applied. Adam saw God as owning the world, he saw his law as ruling the world, he applied this law to farming technique, and {?} and he became productive. Economic farming, he became more productive.

Now, after the fall, man’s thoughts no longer were concerned of God, but the {?} principle of ownership was not {?} It was mere knowledge. Because man now wanted to be as God, he now wanted to be the owner, lord of creation. In other words, he wanted to determine good and evil apart from God. But what he did was he wanted to look upon creation, as belonging to himself. Now he was going to hitch up a plow to a duck and it better produce, because that’s what he said it was supposed to do, and he decapitalized himself in the process. See, as man thinks in terms of himself as his own god, he’s going to legislate over creation. He’s going to take {?} how goods it may produce, distributed, and consumed. By doing so, he will decapitalize himself as he {?} away from the word of God. [00:13:01]

We can understand from this that God’s law is what...[edit]

We can understand from this that God’s law is what capitalized Adam, made him more productive, made him so he could produce goods. Adam’s fall led to decapitalization, with death entering into the world, and the alteration of creation. Do you see the principle? God’s law determines what is valuable, not man’s efforts or man’s law. Regardless of how man looks at the world, does not change the objective truth that’s over him, he can only be economically efficient and progressive, in terms of adhering to the word of God, because he cannot legislate for reality, he cannot creative objective truth.

Everyone sees the world in terms of this lordship principle. Everyone sees the world in terms of ownership. Whoever owns creation is the lord of creation and {?} God. Now all of man’s economic activities and pursuits are geared toward this one end, to serving the owner of creation and of himself. Man’s whole life is geared to being theologically relevant to himself. He wants, more than anything else, to be in harmony with the owner of his soul. Man is not an economic creature, but a theological and a religious creature, so that every one of his activities is geared to serving his god, and that would be, to reprobate man, his economic activities are geared to making himself as God. Now, if he’s redeemed in Christ, his economic activities are supposed to be geared to proclaiming Christ as Lord. Now to reprobate man, he can create, by law, economic and material goods out of nothing. To {?} in Christ is an impossibility. What we gain then, for modern society, for example, is that when the state creates printing press money they are saying they can create wealth out of nothing. It’s called fiat money, because it is a creation out of nothing, and it’s not entirely as God’s law that rules creation, and this is why printing press money leads to inflation, and helps to create the business cycle which helps {?}. In other words, fiat money decapitalizes because man cannot {?} reality. The redeemed in Christ know this is an impossibility, because you cannot create something out of nothing, but the only way you can {?} is to {?} the word of God. [00:16:33]

Now each economist begins to ...[edit]

Now each economist begins to {?} from his own perspective. Now the Christian’s perspective is God’s word. The reprobate’s perspective is himself and his own god. In other words, if the economics sees himself as a {?} rules and laws that govern creation. He sees his particular definition of economics as being objective truth, as being the way things must operate. This {?} squarely at the realm of being as God, {?} squarely at the realm of being dictator over the rest of mankind, because it’s His law that rules reality. It’s His definition of economics which establishes an economic order, not God, but himself.

This is why you’ll have as many definitions of economics as you have economists, because secular economics is {?} his particular idea of economics is real, is what rules the world. Unfortunately, there is no Christian economic theory today. One has to be developed, one has to start from the word of God, and for this reason, all economic theory today starts from premise from economist man. All these theories will lead to disaster. Some are not as greatly {?} as other, but as they all follow the logical conclusion, they will all lead to destruction. So, we can understand that the Christian cannot start from a theological premise that man as economist, that man is owner of this world. What he starts with is the idea that God is Lord. That’s his basic presupposition, that the word of God is the law for all of reality, and therefore, he never assumes to legislate in the area of economics. What he wishes to do is to implement God’s law in the area of economic activity. [00:19:08]

Now, what we can understand from this is that economics...[edit]

Now, what we can understand from this is that economics and theology are individual{?} The claim of the economist is that he knows God’s word, as it applies to the economic realm. To begin with, he’s claiming to be God. If he’s a Christian, he claiming to be{?} and has the ability to apply God’s word to the area of economic concerns, the production, distribution, and consumption of goods. So what we’re {?} is, is economics and theory are absolutely individual, and we can understand the local economist, the one in Washington, or in the books we read, by asking where his economic theory {?} God, give all glory to God or do you give all glory to men? In other words, do these economic theories adhere to the law of God or do they adhere to the law of man?

One example of how to discern what an economist is saying, if it’s godly or ungodly, is to see how he uses the law of God. {?} obedience to the law of God {?} economic activity. When {?} and claims that we can have our cake and eat it, too, that we can have printing press money without inflation, he’s got to be a liar. It’s a form of theft, because the first people who get that printing press money are the first buyers into the market. He essentially creates something out of nothing through printing press money, and you cannot. Money does not produce cars, does not produce food. Printing more money always takes more paper, and the more money you have for the same amount of goods, the money becomes less soluble{?} in terms of purchasing power.

A Christian economist, and humanist economist can never start from the same basic presupposition. They are at total war with one another. Both see the world in terms of theological perspective. Both starts with a different God. Both start with a different faith and a different law, and {?} start with a different faith and a different law, the Christian who knows nothing about economics can judge the general things of where any economic policy may take him, because he has the law of God. The Christian cannot claim that he’s ignorant about economic issues because economic issues are basically religious and theological. [00:22:16]

Well, we can sum up and say that economics are theological...[edit]

Well, we can sum up and say that economics are theological, it is religious, and is essential to {?}. It is a {?} because it is obedience to the law of our God. Economics is simply the study of religious principle and its application to our lives. This is all it is. It is the study of application of the law of God to man and his world. It is the study of the management of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods in terms of the word of God or the word of man. What we’re saying is that economics is a branch of moral theology. It is a branch of the moral theology of man or the moral theology of God. Economics begins with the concept of ownership. It begins with an answer to the question, Who is Lord? Christ or man? Are there any questions? Do you understand the basic premise of economics? Do you understand that when you read scripture and understand the law of God related to economics, or when you teach your kids, or your students, the law of God, you’re teaching them economics? “Thou shalt not steal” is an economic principle. It endorses the concept of private property. In other words, it endorses the concept that either God owns everything, he has appointed private stewardship as His means to fulfill His glorious rule on earth. When we endorse socialism, it endorses collective stewardship, in violation of the word of God. There’s hardly no {?} owner of creation can say collectivism rules the world because they say that’s the law by which all things are ruled.

[Audience] {?} private property?

[Powell] Is there a legitimate tax on private property? By private property you mean real estate, don’t you? Yeah. No, the only legitimate taxes in the Bible are firstfruits, the pole{?} tax, or head tax, the tithe, {?} and {?}. Anything that the state imposes beyond that is illegitimate and evil in the eyes of God, and this doesn’t mean the state is illegal and illegitimate, it means its actions are. Just like if you went and you’re a legitimate person in the eyes of God because you’re a member of the covenant of Christ, or the covenant of Adam, {?} {?} relationship with God, even if the sin {?} redeemed as a Christian. Now if you stole, you violate God’s law and steal, that action is illegitimate.

[Audience] {?} what you just said, {?} Christian approach to economics, that because they deny the law of God, the Old Testament God, they can’t come up with a Christian view of economics, because of the ownership principle, right?

[Powell] That’s exactly true. Once you start with the idea that you can find economics apart from the revealed word of God, and that’s the Old and New Testament, then you just cut your throat, because the only definition we have of how this world operates is in terms of the word of God. You see, even the reprobate {?} has come up with some outstanding truth, but he’s done so by thinking God’s thoughts after Him, in spite of himself. You see, it’s like the {?} full of economics {?} acting and determining value relationships between {?} in terms of dollars. Basically it’s true, but their basic thing will always honor man and lead to destruction, but what they’re saying is true. Now what we have to do is develop a Christian theory of value. We have to develop a Christian theory of money. We have to develop a Christian theory of corporations, and we can’t do this unless we have the law of God, the Old Testament, to be our guide. Without the Old Testament, we can’t develop Christian {?}. But this is basically what we’re going to have to do when we teach kids. We’re going to, there are some good economic books out there, what we’re going to have to do is tell them, basically this is economics and this is morality, that’s all economics is, it’s morality in action in terms of producing material goods.

Now, I’d like to spend, for example, stealing is an extremely effective means of obtaining materials goods. Now if I wanted a car, I can go out and swipe yours and I’ve got a car just like that. God prohibits that. Instead, I should go to work, or someone should give me a car, or whatever, see? So, what we’re saying is, with the law of God, we set limits on what we can do in economic {?} Competition, for example, cannot be a free market activity under a Christian concept of {?} economy. {?} say prostitution’s alright, but I find it valuable to me, therefore, there’s nothing wrong with it. Now, this is basically the {?}. But God says no, because you’re taking a subjective theory and making an objective truth. Prostitution destroys society, homosexuality destroys society. So, man can only think in terms of what God has allowed to be given us, what God sees valuable in terms of His law. [00:28:45]

End of tape.