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Christian Economics in 15 Words

Written by Gary North on November 11, 2013

It took me from 1973 until 2012 to complete my 31-volume set, An Economic Commentary on the Bible. That was the homework assignment.

Now I have to begin putting the pieces together. I want to write a large book that is comparable to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations or Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action. But before I do this, I have to complete a preliminary work: The Covenantal Structure of Christian Economics.

I will use the five-point biblical covenant to structure the book. The generic covenantal structure is as follows: God, man, law, sanctions, and time. It applies as follows:

1. Transcendence/presence of God
2. Hierarchy/authority/representation
3. Ethics/law
4. Oath/sanctions/judgment
5. Succession/inheritance/dominion

The acronym is THEOS, the Greek word for God.

I must apply these in a framework that is exclusive to economic theory. This same structure, and this same decision-making process regarding the categories, applies to all of the social sciences. The five-point structure is the universal framework. The question then is the content with respect to each academic discipline. For example, is structures the field of government: sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession. This is government in the broadest sense: self-government, family government, civil government, and church government.

The scholar wants universality: general principles of interpretation. He also wants specificity: “my academic discipline, not someone else’s.” This is the challenge of determining the covenantal structure and content of any academic discipline.

The structure is clear. The content of the structure is not. The main problem is not identifying the structure. The main problem is identifying the most applicable, and also the most universal, categories of this structure.

Consider economics. When I say “economics,” I am not limiting this to market affairs, or what Mises called “catallactics.” I mean the issue of scarcity as it applies to four covenants: individual, family, state, church.

I could go with this structure:

1. God owns everything.
2. God delegates ownership.
3. Theft is immoral.
4. Covenant-keeping prospers.
5. Scarcity will decrease.

(For the rest of the article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

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24 thoughts on “Christian Economics in 15 Words

  1. Are these the 15 words? If so enough said and it took you way too long and way too many words to get to them: "1. God owns everything. 2. God delegates ownership. 3. Theft is immoral. 4. Covenant-keeping prospers. 5. Scarcity will decrease."
    I realize you do have to write and speak to the lowest common denominator, but you could have put the 15 words first then explained them rather than doing so in reverse order.

  2. Stuart Shepherd says:

    Darn, LCRonMar!- You could have STOPPED READING at the first 15 words if Mr. North's literary style or manuscript editing didn't appeal to you or meet your exceedingly high standards!! And to stoop so low as to say "I realize you have to write and speak to the lowest common denominator!" What a complete (has 7 letters) you are!

  3. Really LCRonMar? If you would have bothered reading the whole article as was linked at the bottom of the page, you wouldn't have had to make a fool of yourself. North ended it with his 15 words,
    1. God owns everything.
    2. God delegates ownership.
    3. Ownership establishes responsibility.
    4. Value is imputed.
    5. Mankind increases dominion.
    If it's your personal distaste for Dr. North's work in Christian Economics that displeases you, then why not skip over the article entirely and let those who have a sincere interest in it do the commenting. Otherwise, you just appear juvenile to others.

  4. Oh great, Gary's moderating every comment now. I guess I pissed him off.

  5. I wonder if Dr. North will accept book purchases in advance? This sounds like a fascinating topic.

  6. The problem is those are NOT the first 15 words, or even in the first 15 sentences.

  7. In today's climate people won't read a long book. Better a series of shorter books like the Biblical Blueprint series.

    Even better a series of short videos such as the video cartoons or Amanda BillyRock's series on Economics in One Lesson. Straight lecture probably won't cut it.

  8. Its called BURYING the lead. The Headline claims to summarize Christian Economic in 15 words, then, instead of STARTING with those words, it acts as if they don't exist until the LAST 25 words.

  9. LCRonMar DID stop reading as soon as he FOUND the 15 words promised in the headline. The fact he had to SEARCH for the is the basis of his critique.

  10. I have a 17-point summary of economics concepts I'd like to share with Dr. North. Not as pithy as his, but maybe still helpful to the discussion. But I don't know how to send them to Dr. North.

  11. In Bulgaria they will read big thick books. North's books are being read by the common person over there.

  12. Joel drop them down to 5 points or less. In Why Men Hate Going to Church it is pointed out that men can only handle 1-pointed sermons, LOL.

  13. Or you could do bursts of 3 points and put them on YouTube. You would have to do 5.67 videos, to get in your 17 points.

  14. I guess the hyphenated covenant-keeping is being counted as 2 words, Ron. I would have counted it as one word and thus 14 words.

  15. Steven, at least he didn't send us to a page that traps us, never gives the 15 words, asks us to buy a newsletter, holds us for a 30 minute audio/video, and if we try to get away warns us about "leaving the page". There are mucho de la gente trapped on the MaObummerCare Website that CAN'T get out. If North had trapped you and you had a MaObummerPhone you might have gotten deliverance, who knows?

  16. Try to barter the price down, he believes in dickering!

  17. Now, this is an excellent point. ALL the ICE type books need to be chopped up into videos. The common person of today has an attention span of maybe 7 minutes video. We need bursts of videos utilizing the 5-point covenantal structure. Great Idea tom.

  18. whoops, i missed this, the 15: 1. God owns everything.
    2. God delegates ownership.
    3. Ownership establishes responsibility.
    4. Contracts increase cooperation.
    5. Mankind increases dominion.

  19. Yikes, missed it again:
    1. God owns everything.
    2. God delegates ownership.
    3. Ownership establishes responsibility.
    4. Value is imputed.
    5. Mankind increases dominion.

  20. I really like his outloud thinking about a future book. One question I would have towards the end is on imputation of value. North said who imputes, which is what I was thinking. He says, "Who imputes value? Is it the individual owner? Or is it a state bureaucrat?" But my immediate thoughts were, Who imputes value? Is it the individual owner? Or is it a state bureaucrat? OR GOD? Comments?

  21. I would say man imputes value when he takes the natural resources God provides and makes them useful. The free market sets the price, but bureaucrats have a way of mucking things up.

  22. Stuart Shepherd says:

    Poor baby!! You had to read more than 15 sentences, which is probably a difficult thing for you, I realize- we're so sorry this caused you so much pain and anguish for something NOBODY WAS FORCING YOU TO DO in the first place!! So sorry! Here, let me get my violin, a box of tissues, and I'll play the love theme from the Titanic movie (the one they play when the ship is going down and her boyfriend is floating away to the bottom of the sea!) while you have a good cry! Go ahead, you'll feel better! And after you have your little cry- WHY DON'T YOU GO WRITE A BETTER ARTICLE YOURSELF, START YOUR OWN WEBSITE, AND PUBLISH IT SO THE REST OF US CAN TAKE CHEAP POT-SHOTS AT Y-O-U!!

  23. Has Dr. North considered using Talmud for a starting point?

  24. How come no comments from Humanists?