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The Bible doesn’t have a lot say about ___________

We often hear it said, "the Bible really doesn't have a lot to say about ________" Into this blank liberals will insert terms such as "homosexuality" or "creation" or "gender" and, as Douglas Wilson has noted, they'll make this claim because they are the sort of liberal that still professes God's Word as authoritative, and they know that if the Bible does speak to their cause, then they really should listen. But they don't want to so they pretend God has not spoken. Then when we see what they're doing we get frustrated. How can they ignore what God has so clearly said? Not a business manual, but.... But conservative Christians also talk this way and sometimes for the very same reason. We know that God is sovereign, but there are some areas of our life where we want to rule supreme. For some it might be the type of music they like, or the movies they prefer. For others, it could be the way they treat their spouse, or the way they discipline their children. Of course, we know better than to say, "You can have it all Lord, but not this one part." So, instead, we pretend He has not spoken when the truth is we haven't looked and we don't want to. Other times Christians dismiss the Bible's relevance out of ignorance. We insist the Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about business, or the environment, or painting, or playing sports because, in our daily reading, we’ve never noticed chapters on business, the environment, painting, or playing sports. A fellow might say, "The Bible doesn't have a lot to say about being an executive – it's not a management manual after all." And there is some truth to that since the Bible doesn't contain all there is to know about life, the universe, and everything. But what it does contain are God's very thoughts about the purpose of life, the universe, and everything. Might that have some relevance to business practices? It's easy enough to answer with a "yes" and leave everything there – a hypothetical acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty in business too, but then we don’t go any further. We don’t pursue how exactly His rule works itself out in the boardroom. That’s why the better question here is one that apologist Del Tackett loves to ask: "Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?” Do we believe God really is sovereign over every square inch of creation? And do we believe that God really is wise, and really is loving? Do we really believe He knows what is best for us? That’s what we say we believe. But do we really? Because if we do, then instead of dismissing His relevance to whatever we are doing, we should be eager to search out what He does have to say. Even if it is only a little, we know it is brilliant and completely reliable (and what business books can say that?). God has a lot to say for anyone who has ears to hear If we start that search, the results are sure to be astounding. When we eagerly comb through the Scriptures to find every last thing God might have said about our particular interest – when, instead of avoiding his authority over our favorite activity, we look to see how we can place it under His rule – then we'll find God gives us more guidance than we ever realized. Yes, the word "business" is hardly ever mentioned in the Old and New Testament, but the Bible has lots to say about office life. One example: in a recent post by business blogger David Mead, he writes about what to do when you are in a meeting surrounded by brilliant folk and you're feeling intimidated. You feel like you really don't belong here "at the adult table." Mead lays out our two choices. We can either: "Show up in an attempt to prove that we're good enough, smart enough, experienced enough, or educated enough to be there..." "Show up knowing that we don't yet belong at the adult table and use it as an opportunity to learn, ask questions and contribute..." He then notes that if you try the first approach, you're likely to find "others in the group will take some pleasure in knocking you down a few pegs." But if you go with choice two, you may just find "the group will take pleasure in helping you gain..." I don't know if David Mead is a Christian but I do know this advice is. I can state that with confidence becuase God has given His people the means to evaluate such advice – we can verify that Mead got it exactly right, even if we've never been in a boardroom. How can we be so sure? Because in Luke 14:8-11 Jesus says the same thing. In this passage, Jesus is talking about a wedding feast, not a business meeting, but his point speaks to human nature, which remains the same everywhere. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Maybe David Mead was trying to build on Luke 14. But whether he was or was not, we can. And we should because we will never find a more reliable foundation than God's Word. Car mechanic The same holds true for any profession, any recreation, our food choices, the typical time we head to bed, the friends we choose – anything! For some, the everywhere-and-everything reach of God’s sovereignty will strike them as an imposition – there’s no square inch of creation left for us to call our own! But when we understand that God loves us, and is smarter than us, then we’ll see this not as restrictions, but as a comfort. God is watching out for us and has guidance for us, no matter what we are doing. So let’s try this again. Can we think of any subject, any area, any endeavor that the Bible doesn’t speak to? Let’s try and think of the toughest possible example, by focusing on something that the Bible couldn’t possibly speak about because it hadn’t even been invented in biblical times. What about cars? Wouldn’t it make sense for someone to say: “The Bible doesn’t say a lot about being an auto mechanic – after all, it isn’t a car repair manual”? The answer is still no. The Bible might not speak about cars, but it does offer warnings about the pull of idolatry, which may be a concern for any young gearhead whose interest is bordering on obsession. This is also a profession where most of the work he does has to be taken completely on trust. A client’s automotive knowledge may well end right where the front of the car begins, so the client won’t understand the problem, let alone have a clue as to the best solution. They are depending on an honest man giving them honest advice and putting in honest work. And the Bible has a lot to say about honesty too (Prov. 16:11 for example). Conclusion The Bible isn't an accounting textbook, or a self-help guide, or a cookbook – the Bible doesn't contain all there is to know about all of life. But God is sovereign over all of life, and what He says speaks to all of life. So, in whatever we do, the question is not whether God has something to say, but rather what is it that God has said? This is the calling and the privilege of being one of God’s own: we get to seek out God’s thoughts on math and bookbinding, art and child-rearing, environmental stewardship and counseling, and so much more! Of course, that doesn’t mean we are going to understand everything perfectly. We might seek God’s thoughts, and have a hard time figuring out what He has to say on a particular topic. We are not omnipotent – we will never know it all. But that speaks more to our own limitations than to the Bible’s. So enough with “The Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about _________.” We know God really has spoken, really is Ruler of all, and really does love us. That’s why we have every reason to seek out how God’s Word speaks to every aspect of our lives....

Science - Environment

The making of the Cornwall Alliance

How did we get our biblical stewardship group going? Editor’s Note: Dr. E Calvin Beisner will be featured in Reformed Perspective’s Spring Speaking Tour “The Grass is Greener” so we wanted to share a little bit about him, and the organization, the Cornwall Alliance, that he heads. **** Where did the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation come from? It is the ongoing result of decades of study by scores of scholars – theologians, scientists, economists, and others – and myself. My own personal background played a major role in shaping it, so let me share that with you. When I was an infant, my father, working for the U.S. State Department, was posted to Calcutta, India. We returned to the States around my second birthday, so I don’t have many direct, personal memories of life there. But two picture memories stand out starkly. The first is of the beautiful tropical garden in the courtyard of the apartment complex where we lived. The second is of the scores of bodies of those who had died of starvation and related diseases, over and around which, early each morning for several months, before trucks came around and picked them up, I walked, hand in hand with my “Aia,” the Indian lady who led me by the hand from my parents’ home several blocks to the home of an Indian family where I spent the day because my mother was paralyzed by a tropical virus that attacked her spine (from which, thank God, she eventually recovered). Over the years, those two memories came to bespeak for me two things: the glories of God’s creation, and the horrors of abject poverty. The Bible speaks about the poor too When I became a Christian, and when in high school I began dedicating my life to the service of Christ, I at first failed to recognize the connection between the Christian faith and either of those two matters. I thought the Christian faith was about nothing but the salvation of sinners – which is indeed the heart of the Christian faith and the most glorious part of it! I witnessed the gospel constantly to fellow students, then to teachers, and to many others, all through high school and college. I studied apologetics so I could answer arguments against the Christian faith. I rejoiced to see the Lord bring many people to saving faith in Christ. Evangelism and apologetics were my almost sole interests. Three years after I finished college with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion and Philosophy with double minors in Classical History and Classical Languages (in 1978), a pastor friend urged me to read a book about Christian responsibility to care for the poor. I did, and I realized for the first time how much the Bible has to say about the poor. However, I suspected that much of what the author said was mistaken – that he misinterpreted Bible passages, used faulty theological reasoning, and often argued invalidly (as a philosophy student I had studied logic). I didn’t know much about economics, but I suspected that he misunderstood that, too. Yet his book was tremendously influential, so I decided to learn economics to better evaluate the book. I read a lot of textbooks and other studies of economics. Then I earned my M.A. in Society with Specialization in Economic Ethics (International College, 1983) with a thesis focusing on economic ethics. The beginnings of a group Meanwhile, a theologian friend who knew of my prior work in evangelism and apologetics had started the “Coalition on Revival” to help what eventually became several hundred Christian theologians, philosophers, historians, lawyers, educators, psychologists, economists, and other scholars to work together producing “white papers” setting forth the Christian worldview as it applied to each of the major spheres of life. Knowing of my studies in economics, he asked me to chair the economics committee, and I consented. Dr. Marvin Olasky and Dr. Herb Schlossberg, along with about 20 others, were on that committee, and after the third year of our meetings, they asked me to write a book on economics for a series they were editing, and Prosperity and Poverty: The Compassionate Use of Resources in a World of Scarcity (1988) was the result. One chapter was supposed to discuss how population, resources, and the economy interrelate, but as I worked on it, I found that it was far too much to treat in a single chapter. Marvin told me, “Okay, then do a whole book on that.” After two more years, I finished Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future (1990). Becoming a professor When people in the administration and board of trustees of Covenant College read those books (and others I’d written), they invited me to teach. I did, from 1992–2000, as Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on the application of Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics to economics, government, and public policy, with special attention to economic development for the poor and environmental stewardship. In late 1999 the trustees and administration of Knox Theological Seminary invited me to teach. As Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Social Ethics (the latter including the ethics of economic development and environmental stewardship) I taught there from 2000–2008. (While teaching at Covenant and Knox, I also earned a Ph.D. in Scottish History (University of St. Andrews, Scotland, 2005–2003), focusing on the history of political philosophy.) Starting in the early 1990s, a variety of religious scholars – Jewish, Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical Protestant – were studying how Biblical ethics should inform environmental stewardship. I was one among many who participated in small colloquia hosted by various groups – the Evangelical Environmental Network, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Acton Institute for Religion and Liberty, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and colleges and churches – to deliver papers and discuss ideas. From West Cornwall… One such meeting, involving about 30 scholars, took place in the autumn of 1999 in West Cornwall, Connecticut. Following it, several of us thought it would be helpful to create a statement of fundamental principles, and I agreed to draft it. That became, after editing by several scholars, The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship, which was released publicly in March of 2000, after it had been endorsed by several hundred prominent religious leaders, and which eventually was endorsed by over 1,500 religious leaders and thousands of lay people. In the summer of 2005, a handful of those who had been instrumental in organizing the gathering that led to issuing the Cornwall Declaration asked me if I would write some articles, speak in various places, and coordinate the building of a network of scholars to promote the basic ideas of the Declaration. I agreed to do it on the side. …to the ISA From that grew the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA), a loose-knit network of theologians, pastors, other ministry leaders, scientists, economists, other scholars, and policy experts, all donating their time, dedicated to applying Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics together with excellent science and economics to the interrelated challenges of economic development for the very poor and environmental stewardship. Our first major product was An Examination of the Scientific, Ethical, and Theological Implications of Climate Change Policy (November 2005). Over the next two years, ISA functioned as a loose-knit network of people with mutual interests. It had no budget, almost no funding (just small amounts donated by a few individuals), no office, and no staff except myself on a small part-time stipend. But the quality of that first paper, and then of our second, A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming (July 2006), resulted in our scholars’ being asked to speak for a variety of organizations and in my being asked to give testimony as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (October 2006). New name In 2007 we changed our name to The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation to make our connection to the Cornwall Declaration clear. To respond to rising demand for our teaching and writing, we incorporated The James Partnership, a 501(c)3 non-profit religious, educational, and charitable organization. (Two other organizations also operate under The James Partnership. We were able to hire a part-time assistant, and then in 2008 I left Knox Theological Seminary to divide my time between the Cornwall Alliance and serving on the pastoral staff of a church I had helped plant. We are supported by donations from private individuals and non-profit foundations, not by corporate gifts, and by donations of time and expertise by over 60 scholars in our network, such as the authors of hundreds of articles we’ve published in scores of venues; the speakers for our Resisting the Green Dragon video lecture series and documentary; the author of our book Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death; the scholars interviewed for our Where the Grass Is Greener: Biblical Stewardship vs. Climate Alarmism and other video documentaries; and the authors and reviewers of our major papers, including: An Examination of the Scientific, Ethical, and Theological Implications of Climate Change Policy (2005) A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming(2006) The Cornwall Stewardship Agenda(2008) A Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Examination of the Theology, Science, and Economics of Global Warming(2010) The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ethics and Economics of the War on Conventional Energy(2011) What Is the Most Important Environmental Task Facing American Christians Today?(rev. ed., 2014) A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor 2014: The Case against Harmful Climate Policies Gets Stronger(2014), and An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change(2015). As of this writing (early 2017), with two full-time staff (our Director of Communications and me), one paid part-time staff member (our Director of Donor Relations), and two part-time volunteer staff members, the Cornwall Alliance remains largely a loose-knit network of theologians, pastors, other ministry leaders, scientists, economists, other scholars, and policy experts dedicated to applying Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics together with excellent science and economics to the twin tasks of environmental stewardship and economic development for the poor through writing, speaking, social media, and our websites and ***** E. Calvin Beisner will be touring Canada, as part of RP's "The Grass is Greener: biblical stewardship and an age of climate alarmism" speaking tour. Dates and location are below. Can you help us spread the word? Please like and share this post! May 1 – Hamilton Cornerstone CanRC May 2 – Smithville CanRC May 3 – Fergus Maranatha CanRC May 4 – Burgessville Heritage NRC May 5 – Strathroy Providence URC May 8 – Winnipeg Redeemer CanRC May 9 – Lethbridge Trinity URC May 10 – Edmonton Parkland Immanuel Christian School  May 11 – Ponoka Parkland URC May 12 – Barrhead CanRC ...


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Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

by Alex Epstein 209 pages / 2014 Author Alex Epstein challenges society’s negative view of fossil fuels by asking us to also consider the positives. He argues that, “energy is ability – because energy can help us do anything better” and “make the world a better place . . . for human beings.” Throughout the book Epstein exposes the unreliability and unaffordability involved in alternative energies (with the possible exception of nuclear energy in the future), he repeatedly emphasizes the importance of making human life our measure of something’s value, and he shows how fossil fuel consumption has actually led to improved water quality, less disease, and cleaner air – fossil fuels are moral because they have improved human life! One caution: though not critical to his argument, the author is seemingly not Christian, as is evidenced by references to “Mother Earth,” and one silly quote from Ayn Rand in which having “half naked women” about the house is lauded. That said, this book is a must-read for those working in the energy industry, a should-read for those pursuing science degrees, and a good-read for all who are interested in developing a realistic, big-picture approach toward environmental stewardship, sustainable energy, and industrial progress and development. ...

Science - Environment

How should Christians view climate change?

Chatting with the Cornwall Alliance’s Dr. Calvin Beisner This is an overview of a recent episode of Lucas Holvlüwer and Tyler Vanderwoudes’ Real Talk podcast. Real Talk is a bi-weekly podcast of Reformed Perspective featuring great conversations on everything from propaganda to pornography, and if you haven’t checked it out already, you really should. And you really can, at **** Is climate change real, and if so, how should Christians think about it? How should we take care of God’s creation in a way that still allows us to use its resources for the good of the crown of creation, mankind? Lucas Holtlüwer recently sat down with Dr. Calvin Beisner, founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation (, to talk about these and other issues. Dr. Beisner summarized the Cornwall Alliance’s work in a memorable tagline: “Our work is to defend the planet from the people who are trying to defend the planet.” More formally, it is a network of about 70 Christian theologians, natural scientists, economists, and other scholars educating for Biblical earth stewardship, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the good news of salvation by God’s grace. The climate is always changing Beisner started with a summary of how the earth’s climate is constantly changing: daily of course, with high and low temperatures, seasonally each year, and also in decades-long cycles driven by different ocean tides and oscillations. Geologists are certain the earth was significantly warmer than today for a few thousand years prior to Christ’s birth, as well as during periods of the Roman empire, and of the Middle Ages. During multiple cooling periods over the last 2,000 years, glaciers have covered much of the world in ice before receding again over centuries. “We’re in an ice age now, although most people don’t realize it, and that’s because Greenland is covered by ice for the most part, and Antarctica is covered also…. All of these happened entirely naturally: there were no SUVs running around burning diesel, and so the human influence had essentially nothing to do with those.” Beisner points to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 as one of the first times that the phrase was re-defined to mean changes driven primarily by human activity, especially the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Change, but not catastrophic He believes that mankind’s activities do contribute to climate change, but to a very small degree, and that modern technology has an enormous net economic and life-sustaining benefit to human beings that is worth the relatively small effect on the climate. Beisner made the case that the alarmist language and dire predictions of today’s environmentalists do not come from actual scientific climate studies, with their measured tones and scientific language. Rather, these reports are summarized by government bureaucratic appointees, and they tend to push more alarmist mentalities than the reports themselves. “Crisis, danger, catastrophe, existential threat; by environmentalist activist organizations, and by the mainstream media, and by politicians because that’s the kind of language that can get people on board for spending trillions of dollars to solve a problem, whereas, if you speak in very measured moderate scientific terms, you won’t get that kind of support.” Warring worldviews Holtvlüwer asked if Christians in general were less worried about climate change because of the worldview of those who were sounding the alarm. Beisner agreed that non-Christian views such as pantheism, materialism, and animism are prevalent in the environmentalist movement, and contribute to the dangerous error warned about in Romans 1. “When you deny the Creator, you begin to worship the creature instead of the Creator… You elevate the earth to the supreme concern… Paul tells us what happens when you do that. God gives you over to a reprobate mind, professing yourself to be wise you become a fool, and you fall into all kinds of different errors, both intellectual and moral… I think that’s a large part of why… there is a great deal of really shocking folly in much environmental thought.” Seeing babies as blessings From a Biblical perspective, we are called to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). “Rather than seeing the earth as delicate, but nurturing, we see it as robust: very tough, very resilient, self correcting. But, dangerous, unless subdued, unless mastered, and that means that instead of trying to minimize our impact on the world, we don’t maximize it, but we optimize it… to enhance the fruitfulness and the beauty and the safety of the earth for human well-being as well as for the glory of God.” Dr. Beisner pointed out that human deaths from natural catastrophes have actually dropped 95% in the last one hundred years – during the exact period that mankind’s impact on the climate is the greatest it has ever been. Why is this? Man’s prosperity and technological advances have allowed us to build safer homes and businesses, to heat and cool our dwellings, and to travel long distances in relative safety. So, rather than decry the slight impact we have had on the planet’s climate, we should encourage the development of greater wealth, of even safer structures, and of other means by which humans can live long and productive lives. The current rate of warming, stated Beisner, is much lower than often portrayed, and may actually have positive effects on our ability to farm more efficiently in larger areas of the world: “The benefits of this sort of warming are going to outweigh the risks! There may be some problems here and there, but I think it will be much less expensive to adapt to those than to try to control them.” Bigger problems “So should the church not be concerned about climate change, because there are bigger problems?” asked Holtvlüwer. Beisner believes that, “there are going to be some problems that come with human-induced climate change, and that we should be aware of those, and we should be trying to deal with them by mitigation… or by adaptation.” Beisner laid out some likely scenarios as sea levels and temperatures are likely to rise in the coming decades and centuries, but put these in the context of human adaptation as has been the case in the past. In short, there is nothing new under the sun, and part of our mandate as God’s creatures is to subdue the earth, to use its resources in a responsible manner as stewards of creation. According to Beisner, the Cornwall Alliance does not advocate government subsidies for alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Although there is a place for this type of energy use, the tax dollars of citizens are better used in the limited role that government should play, and the free market should be allowed to work out what energy sources are the most efficient and economical over time. “Nuclear, large-scale hydro, fossil fuels (such as) coal, oil and natural gas would far outstrip wind and solar not just now but for decades, possibly generations, to come.” To dig deeper Dr. Beisner also gave his opinion on the work and writings of Danish author Bjorn Lomborg, expressing his support for most of Lomborg’s views, but disagreeing with the responsibility of government to incentivize alternative energy sources. In the rest of the podcast, Holtvlüwer and Beisner also discussed the overall idea of environmental conservation, and touched on the situation faced by farmers in the Netherlands – who are dealing with new government restrictions on the use of vital fertilizers – along with their protests. Overall, this is a very helpful podcast for Christians who wish to think Biblically and reasonably about climate change and environmentalism, and well worth the 90 minutes of listening. You may even find yourself rewinding and pausing, as you look up statistics and the Cornwall Alliance website for confirmation of the data and studies cited. Real Talk is published twice per month and can be found at,, YouTube, and many podcasting platforms. Listen to the whole 68 minute episode below.  ...


Saturday Selections – April 18, 2020

Are you tolerant? (4 minutes) This is as funny as it is informative! Environmentalism has killed its millions Earth Day, April 22, is upon us once again, and while it may have a different feel this year we can be sure all things environmental are still going to be celebrated by the secular media. However, there as an important aspect of environmentalism that is not praiseworthy: placing the interests of plants and animals either alongside or above those of people. This is a difference that distinguishes environmentalism from biblical stewardship, where we are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for creation (Gen. 1:28) but are also the pinnacle of it (Gen. 1:26-27, Ps. 8:3-9).  This article highlights the enormous damage done when that is forgotten. How long does it take to read each book in the Old Testament? (infographic) Would we dive into our Bibles more eagerly if we understood just how little time it takes to dig deep? Click for the full chart. Babylon Bee encourages us to hold our medical opinions with humility... The Christian satire site, in their own unique way, made their point with the headline: "Facebook to award everyone printable medical degree." FREE MAGAZINE: Ezra Institute's Jubilee Looking for a good deep read? The articles in Jubilee, a conservative Reformed publication, often require some investment but diligent readers will be rewarded. And while the print subscription is $25 a year, past digital issues can be enjoyed for free. As always, readers should practice discernment. Is opposing same-sex marriage like opposing interracial marriage? (4 minutes) You're in a conversation about marriage, and someone says, "The Church opposing same-sex marriage is like how the Church used to oppose interracial marriage" How would you respond? ...


5 things Christians should know about income inequality

Income inequality is still at the forefront of conversation for many people. Thankfully, there are biblical principles that help Christians understand whether income inequality is a problem, and if so, how we are to respond. At the Christian research organization I work for – the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics – we talk a lot about various aspects of income inequality and how to think about it. Today, I’d like to summarize this tough topic through these five points dealing with the best approach to bringing about flourishing, especially for the poor. 1. HOW INCOME INEQUALITY IS MEASURED Income inequality measures income differences across groups of people using a statistical tool called the Gini coefficient. It ranges between zero and one. A score of one indicates perfect inequality: one person makes all the income and everyone else makes zero. A score of zero indicates perfect equality: everyone earns exactly the same amount. The U.S. Gini coefficient is 0.45 according to the CIA World Fact Book. For the sake of context, the impoverished country of Bangladesh has less income inequality than the U.S. (Gini of 0.32). Meanwhile Hong Kong has slightly more income inequality than the U.S. (Gini of 0.54).  Alone, income inequality data doesn’t tell us that much about whether one country is “better” than another. 2. CRONYISM MAKES INCOME INEQUALITY WORSE, AND IT'S UNFAIR Cronyism occurs when corporations pursue the government for benefits, protections, or subsidies benefiting their business at the expense of competing firms and consumers. It is a growing trend evidenced by the hundreds of lobbying firms popping up on K Street. Politicians have responded quite favorably to these lobbying efforts and have created a culture in which the most well-connected win. This is inherently unfair. An unjust system is prevailing where ordinary businesses and entrepreneurs are failing because they lack the resources to buy off politicians. The unfortunate result is that they can’t succeed, and the well-connected rich get richer and stifle more opportunities for the poor. 3. DIVERSITY IS A BIBLICAL PREMISE OF CREATION. WE ARE BORN WITH DIFFERENT GIFTS, RESULTING IN DIFFERENT INCOMES. We are created in God’s image (Gen 1:27) and, while we bear many physical similarities, we are all distinct. That means that, by definition, we are unequal. God knew that our uniqueness makes our work and talents inherently dignifying and brings us into community with one another. Our interdependence makes us able to achieve things we never could on our own. We use our gifts and skills to provide goods and services that others need. We then trade for goods and services that we need but aren’t able to provide ourselves. The market return for our services is our income, and that income is based on the market supply of what we provide and the value people place on it. This means that our incomes will be different. However, because we do not operate in a vacuum, those who do earn high incomes tend to create lots of value for everyone, including lots of job opportunities. High incomes are not a sign that the rich have stolen from the poor. Quite the contrary, wealthy individuals have often innovated products and services that make us all richer and ease our way of life. 4. INCOME MOBILITY IS A BETTER MEASURE OF PROSPERITY Income mobility is quite different from income inequality. Income mobility tracks the lifetime income of a person. It’s a way of understanding if people are able to earn more income over their lives as a result of increases in their education, skills, and productivity. The trouble with the data on income inequality is that it doesn’t track individuals over time. If we look at the poorest income bracket in 1990 and again in 2014, we have no idea if the people who were poor in 1990 are still poor today simply by looking at the data. In fact, mobility data suggests that almost sixty percent of individuals who were in the lower income brackets moved into higher brackets in under a decade. 5. WE SHOULD FOCUS ON WHAT GOD HAS CALLED US TO DO, NOT ON WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING In a flourishing society, there are going to be lots of people who make high levels of income. Think how different the Congo or Vietnam would look if local entrepreneurs had the opportunity to create and innovate. The world would have a lot more people like Bill Gates and a lot more wealth and opportunity for all – not just the rich. It’s easy to want for ourselves what others have, but we can’t all be Bill Gates. God has gifted each of us to do something specific and special. We need to focus on our unique callings and do them with excellence rather than focusing on what others have. Unfortunately, some of the talk around income inequality is about coveting what others have rather than wanting more for the poor. I can tell you from living in a county with the highest per-capita income in the country that it is easy to want what others have: the newest car, the bigger house, the better wardrobe. It is a deceptive trap to believe that if we have these things, we will feel better or live better. WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT INCOME INEQUALITY? Be aware of the cronyism all around us that often shows up in seemingly benign programs like laws mandating certain light bulbs, sugar subsidies, and occupational licensing. Government is increasingly giving in to the entitlement culture of lobbying. We need businesses to stop asking for favors and political leaders who will stop the handouts. Furthermore, prayerfully discern the path to which God calls you and pursue it with integrity, hard work, and faith. No matter what income it brings, it gives you a chance to serve others in the here and now and achieve everlasting significance for God’s kingdom. This article is reprinted, with minor edits, with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics ( The original article appears here. IFWE is a Christian research organization committed to advancing biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Go here to subscribe to the free IFWE Daily Blog. Dr. Anne Bradley "is the Vice President of Economic Initiatives at the Institute, where she develops and commissions research toward a systematic biblical theology of economic freedom." comic used with permission....


Saturday Selections - April 6, 2019

5 ways dads can encourage our daughters This isn't all that long but it's worth reading through slowly and considering how to put these into practice with your daughters. RC Sproul on "Are there contradictions in the Bible?" This is a short, succinct, and entertaining answer from a very special teacher. Teaching our kids not to be bystanders to bullying "Bystanders don’t need to do what their name implies: stand by. They can stand up and do something.... One kid can make a huge difference. Really. Just one." Free commentary on Ephesians We haven't read this commentary, but others in this commentary series have been well worth recommending. The ebook of Richard Coekin's Ephesians For You is free all April but you do have to give them your email address. May same-sex attracted Christians have exclusive relationships? Sam Alberry is writing to Christians struggling with homosexual temptation but his reminder is a good one for all: friendship can be intimate, but it isn't exclusive. Are we starting to see through environmental tokenism? The difference between biblical stewardship and secular environmentalism comes down to the type of worship offered. God despises virtue-signaling and blasts pharisaical worship (Luke 18:9-14) so He expects us to use our talents to do real good. But environmentalism's false gods – whether that's trees, the ocean, the planet, or the public – can't tell the difference between doing good and merely looking good. That's why the world's environmentalism often amounts to tokenism. Two examples: the recycling programs that have been rampant in cities across North America for decades, and the recent straw bans that have been put in place by Seattle and other cities. ...


Saturday Selections - June 9

I believe in "theistic evolutionist" Dr. Bredenhof on the disingenuous way some in the creation/evolution debate describe their positions. Airport security: where do we draw the line? When airport security selected his 13-year-old daughter for a pat down, John Stonestreet wasn't going to have it. Should churches incorporate? "Incorporating the church also undermines Reformed church governance because it puts power in the hands of the membership to overturn “board” (i.e. elders’) decisions. Incorporation puts final decision making power in the membership rather than consistory." The myth of deforestation: the difference between environmentalism and biblical stewardship On the surface biblical stewardship and secular environmentalism seem to have a lot in common - both are concerned with pollution and loss of animal species. But where they often differ is in the Christian belief that people are more important than plants and animals. Now, saying people are more important than the plants and animals isn't to say that plants and animals are unimportant – it is only about getting our priorities straight. And when it comes to deforestation, secular groups have gotten their priorities mixed up. While the planet is, overall, still experiencing a slightly decline in the extent of its forests, that is happening in the poorest countries. Meanwhile in the rich West, our forests are increasing - in the UK they are three times what they once were! Trees are a luxury – the person who doesn't know what they are going to eat today doesn't have the time or energy to care about trees...and we shouldn't expect them to. But the wealthier a country becomes, the more likely they will see an increase in the size of their forests, as trees become a luxury we can now afford. So when environmentalists complain about deforestation, what is it they are asking for? That the poorest countries start making trees a bigger priority, even as people are still starving? They aren't saying that out loud, but that is what they are asking. And those are mixed up priorities. Starlings are stupendous! Grab the spouse, grab the kiddies, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the jaw dropping spectacle of starling "clouds." God is fun! (4 minutes). On reading and how to do it We all know how to read, sure. But we don't always know how to assess what we're reading. Bekah Merkle gives us some of the tools (40 minutes). ...


Destruction only destroys - the "broken window fallacy"

We are halfway into the 2017 hurricane season and tropical mega-storms in the Atlantic basin have already broken several records. Hurricane Irma has sustained its destructive power longer than any super-storm ever recorded (and our data goes as far back as the 1970s). At the time of writing, the expected damage caused is upwards of $250 billion US. In the midst of this destruction, some are speaking of an economic “silver lining” – that the incoming hurricanes might in fact be good for the economy. For example, William Dudley, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, argues that, “the long-run effect of natural disasters is that it actually lifts economic activity.” The reasoning is that after the initial harmful effect on human and economic resources, the inevitable rebuilding efforts will stimulate local economic activity. It will also increase demand for labor, driving up wages and ultimately making people wealthier. And if we consider the way economic activity is most often measured – via Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) – reconstruction efforts might seem to cause an increase in the economy. Unfortunately, this is not true. Simply put: destruction does not benefit the economy. In the case of Hurricane Irma, the GDP figure will show the value of reconstruction efforts, but not the value of what was destroyed. It is true that the reconstruction of infrastructure and housing spurs on economic activity. However, this argument ignores the opportunity cost – it ignores what could have been done with that money if it didn’t have to be spent on reconstruction. This observation was first made by the French economist Frederic Bastiat. He illustrated the concept that destruction does not benefit the economy through the example of a broken window. Replacing the window may improve the economic position of the repairman, but it means that the owner of the window has lower disposal income to spend on anything else. If the window hadn’t broken he could have had a window and a pair of news shoes. Now he can only afford to replace the window. Similarly, the destruction caused by the hurricane requires the government to spend money on reconstruction and aid, at the expense of what it might otherwise have done with that money. The government has to use resources to rebuild something, as opposed to using the resources to build something new. As Christians, we need to be sensitive to this fallacy in the measurement of economic activity. The task of stewardship of God’s creation is not only about the utilization of the resources within it. It is also about considering the destructive impact we have on creation through our activities. Far too often do we only consider the value that was generated through our activities, but we forget to properly count the cost of our activities, whether it be environmental or socioeconomic. May the Lord be a refuge and strength to those affected by the destructive power of the ongoing natural disasters across the world....

Science - Environment

The Poor: why we can't let the Global Warming debate be over

It’s been 25 years now since Vice President Al Gore famously declared “Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the Global Warming crisis. The time for debate is over.” Is it different now? We’re still being told the time for talking is done, and yet “warming” has become disputable enough to necessitate a rebranding – now it’s the “Climate Change” debate that’s over. This is a brilliant rhetorical move in so far as climate change is indisputable –  as Heraclitus declared, the one constant in life is change. Despite what we’re being told there is still a lot to discuss. Think it’s a given that we should spend trillions to slow global warming? It’s nowhere near that simple, as E. Calvin Beisner* pointed out in an article last May – there are an “enormous range of opinions among scholars about: • how each of the thousands of subsystems of the climate system will respond to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. • how much warming will come from the added CO2. • how much harm and benefit will come from that warming. • how much benefit will come from the fertilizing effect of rising CO2 on almost all plants. • how to balance those harms and benefits against the benefits of the energy derived from fossil fuels; and • what would be the costs and benefits of efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by substituting other energy sources for fossil fuels” He continued: Earth’s climate system is one of the most complex natural systems ever studied. It consists of thousands of subsystems — feedback mechanisms — most of which we still don’t understand. We don’t know how strong they are or in some cases even whether they increase or decrease warming or the balance of benefits and harms from it. Providing energy to everyone is one of the most complex activities ever undertaken. The cost of reducing fossil fuel use — which now delivers about 85% of all energy in the world — is scores of trillions of dollars that could be used otherwise with far more benefit. This brings us to a key point for Christians to consider: how are the poor being impacted? We have to speak up for them, because they seem to be forgotten in all of this. To underscore just how important it is that we speak up for them, let's remember what happened the last time the United Nations wanted to solve a world crisis. Starting in 1969 the United Nations Population Fund warned the world about the dangers of overpopulation - we were going to run out of food, out of space, and out of resources! As a result of this fear-mongering, millions of children around the world were aborted. In China many mothers were forced to do it, due to China's one-child policy, but in the West it was sometimes a terribly misdirected sense of nobility that drove women to abort, rather than bring another child into a world they were told was crowded to capacity. Except it wasn't, and isn't. Overpopulation was a myth. That's obvious today, as countries like China, Japan, Russia, are already dealing with a different type of population crisis – they have shrinking populations, leaving an increasing number of old people, and fewer and fewer young people to care for them. Even western nations like Germany, Canada, and the United States may start to decline in the not too distant future. This was the crisis that never was. Millions were killed for no reason at all. And Christians should have seen through it from the start. How could we have known? Because God tells us children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3) but overpopulation proponents treated them as more like a curse. When it comes to Climate Change, God gives us clear guidance in His Word once again. No matter what you think of Global Warming – no matter what degree you think it is, or is not, happening – the one thing all Christians can agree on is that we must not oppress the poor (Prov. 14:31). So when we craft climate change policies then we need to ask, how will the world's poorest deal with the rising energy costs, and the rising food costs that come with them? If we help the planet, but hurt the poor, is that a good tradeoff? It's nice to talk about renewable energy, but that's remains expensive and intermittent. How might the poor in Africa, or Asia, or South America be helped if they had access to cheap, reliable fossil fuels? And if we're going to spend trillions to fight carbon emissions, shouldn't we consider what might offer us a better return on that money? How many lives could be saved if we spent those trillions another way? How many millions could be saved with access to clean drinking water? Or a cure for malaria? Or access to housing? Or by the employment opportunities created by natural resource development? We're being told the debate is over but for the sake of the world’s poorest we can't let it be. * E. Calvin Beisner will be the feature speaker for Reformed Perspective's 2017 Spring Tour "The Grass is Greener." He is the author of books on economics, the Trinity, the Psalms, as well as environmental policy, and he is the spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation....

Science - Environment


Documentary 2014 / 58 minutes Rating: 7/10 Blue is about an alternative – a Christian alternative – to the Green movement. Whereas the secular environmental movement too often sees man as a problem for the Earth, the Blue movement would start with the biblical understanding that Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation, and has been entrusted with the stewardship of the Earth. While the Green movement wants us to just leave things alone, the Blue movement knows that God has told us to take an active role in protecting and developing the Earth. The strength of the film is King’s unabashedly one-sided, presentation: 100% of the film is spent talking to like-minded Christians, politicians and scientists, including some pretty big names like E. Calvin Beisner, Lord Christopher Monckton and Vishal Mangal Wadi. And because this is the side we hear so little about from the mainstream media, this film can serve as a good counter-balance. But the weakness of the film is this same one-sided presentation. I doubt that someone watching this who was already sympathetic to the Green movement would watch this any change their mind. I think it would be more likely that they would think King’s uninterrupted bashing of the Green movement must be unfair, and couldn’t possibly be a fair representation of them. The environmental movement is actually as bad as King portrays but because he never lets the Greens speak for themselves, it is understandable that a skeptical listener wouldn’t just take King’s word for it. The presentation is good, and as documentaries go, it is quite entertaining. That’s another way of saying, if you like documentaries, you’ll like this one, but if you don’t like documentaries, this one isn’t likely to make you change your mind. Overall I’d say it is a great one for Christians, to help us better understand the difference between biblical stewardship and the environmentalist approach, but it probably isn’t a good one to give to your environmentalist friends. You can watch the whole movie for free online. Check it out below. ...