The essence of democratic socialism is this re-written version of God’s commandment: “Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.”
“Economic democracy” is the system whereby two wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for dinner.
Christian socialists and defenders of economic planning by state bureaucrats deeply resent this interpretation of their ethical position. They resent it because it’s accurate.
When Christianity adheres to the judicial specifics of the Bible, it produces free market capitalism.
On the other hand, when Christianity rejects the judicial specifics of the Bible, it produces socialism or some politically run hybrid “middle way” between capitalism and socialism, where politicians and bureaucrats make the big decisions about how people’s wealth will be allocated. Economic growth then slows or is reversed. Always.
Free market capitalism produces long-term economic growth. Socialism and middle-way economic interventionism by the state produce poverty and bureaucracy. If your goal is to keep poor people poor, generation after generation, you should promote socialism. But be sure to call it economic democracy in order to fool the voters.
The Bible is an anti-socialist document. Socialist propagandists for over four centuries have claimed that the Bible teaches socialism, but we have yet to see a single Bible commentary written by a socialist. If the Bible teaches socialism, where is the expository evidence?
When I say that the Bible mandates a moral and legal social order that inevitably produces free market capitalism, I have the evidence to back up my position. My critics — critics of capitalism — do not.
The next time you hear someone say that the Bible teaches anything but free market capitalism, ask him or her which Bible commentary demonstrates this. You will get a blank stare followed by a lot of verbal tap-dancing about “the ultimate ethic of the Bible” or “the upholding of the poor in the Bible.” You will be given a lot of blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah is not a valid substitute for biblical exposition.
Fact: There has never been an expository Bible commentary that shows that the Bible teaches anything other than free market capitalism.
Beginning in April, 1973, I began writing a verse-by-verse commentary on the economics of the Bible. The first essay, on Genesis 1:26-28, appeared in the May, 1973 issue of the Chalcedon Report.
An economic commentary on the Bible had never been attempted before. I discuss only those passages that relate to economics.
No one before me had ever attempted to write a Bible commentary on a specific academic discipline. I hope mine becomes a model for others.
I have continued working on this project ever since. I limited my writing to one essay per month from 1973 to 1976. Beginning in the summer of 1977, I began working 10 hours per week, 50 weeks per year on this project.
I have needed every minute.
So far, I have written commentaries on every book except Esther and the Song of Solomon. I found nothing in Esther. I do not expect to find much in the Song of Solomon. Some are still in manuscript form: the epistles, the prophets, Psalms, the historical books, and Ecclesiastes. They will be typeset by the middle of 2010 if things go well. As for indexing, I make no promises about anything that is not yet on-line.
In addition, I have written over half a dozen books that are in effect extended appendixes to one or more of these commentaries. These are posted on-line for free: www.GaryNorth.com/freebooks.
Dominion and Common Grace (1987)
Is the World Running Down? (1988)
Political Polytheism (1989)
Millennialism and Social Theory (1990)
Victim’s Rights (1990)
The Judeo-Christian Tradition (1990)
The Coase Theorem (1991)
The books covering Genesis through Leviticus (the short version) are still in print. So are the seven support volumes. Order them here: 800-628-9460. (Note: I have never taken royalties on any of these books. They were written and printed as part of my ministry, the Institute for Christian Economics.) You can download them here, read parts or all of each of them, and then decide if you want the book on your shelf.
Leviticus (the long version), Deuteronomy, and the New Testament commentaries are only available in PDF files. Eventually, I may make them available through the new print on demand (POD) technology: one book at a time. Until then, you must download each file, save it to your hard disk drive (recommended: File> Save As…), name it, and print it out.
For an introduction to each of my economic commentaries, click on the links to the following descriptive articles.
First, however, is my brief, easy-to-read introduction to biblical economics, Inherit the Earth.
|Inherit the Earth: The Biblical Blueprint for Economics
Here is the biblical structure of economics. It conforms to the five-point structure of God’s covenants with man. Biblical economics supports the capitalist system. Capitalism is the inevitable product of the Bible’s law-order, which is why Christian socialists reject biblical law. . . . keep reading
|The Dominion Covenant: Genesis
The Book of Genesis is the book of origins. It establishes this fundamental principle: God owns the world because He created it. In Genesis, we read of the hierarchy of creation: God> man> nature. Man is superior to nature. This idea drives the tree-huggers crazy. . . . keep reading
|Moses and Pharaoh: Dominion Religion vs. Power Religion
Exodus 1-19 sets forth the basic conflict of the ages: God vs. the pretenders, dominion religion vs. power religion. In Moses’ day, the great pretender was Pharaoh. The head of a vast buraucratic empire, he was beleved to be a man-god. But then the bills came due. . . . keep reading
|The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments
There can be little doubt that the Ten Commandments made possible the development of Western Civilization. There is almost equally little doubt that Western Civilization made possible the development of free market capitalism. . . . keep reading
|Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus
The case laws of Exodus? What are case laws, anyway? What have they got to do with anything in the modern world? What have they got to do with the church of Jesus Christ? . . . keep reading
|Leviticus: An Economic Commentary
This is the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books version of my commentary on Leviticus: only 750 pages. The full version, Boundaries and Dominion, is over 1,700 pages. . . . keep reading
|Boundaries and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Leviticus
Leviticus is a book about law and therefore boundaries. The original boundary was the one around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: the original property boundary. Leviticus extends this principle to other forms of property. . . . keep reading
|Sanctions and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the account of the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness. It is the story of their unwillingness to impose sanctions on the culture of Canaan (Num. 14). The paid a heavy price: four decades of wandering. . . . keep reading
|Inheritance and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy is a closed book for most Christians. It is almost as unfamiliar as Leviticus. Yet Jesus quoted repeatedly from Deuteronomy. Why is the book ignored by most pastors? Because it lays down the law, including economic law. . . . keep reading
|God’s Success Manual: An Economic Commentary on Proverbs
This book contains 85 short chapters on the passages in the Book of Proverbs that refer to economic issues. . . . keep reading
|Priorities and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Matthew
Jesus’ recommended program of success is not a mystical rejection of the world. Rather, success is based on the correct selection and then ranking of priorities, and then the disciplined implementation of these priorities. . . . keep reading
|Treasure and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Luke
Luke is the Gospel of the Great Economic Reversal: from poor to rich and rich to poor. It does not teach that everyone will get rich in the long run. Neither does it teach that poverty is God’s preferred way of life. It teaches that there are winners and losers in history. . . . keep reading
|Sacrifice and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Acts
The Book of Acts is the socialists’ favorite book in the New Testament. This is because Acts 2 and Acts 4 record that the church in Jerusalem owned property in common. There was a reason for this, which the socialists never mention. . . . keep reading
|Cooperation and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Romans
Chapter 12 of Paul’s epistle to the Romans is a call for the division of labor in the church. This principle of church cooperation can be applied outside the confines of the institutional church. . . . keep reading
|Judgment and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on First Corinthians
This epistle deals with the rendering of judgment. When we render judgment in economics, we impute value. Imputed value is the basis of all economic value. Economic value is subjectively imputed. It is not inherent in a commodity or labor. It is not intrinsic. . . . keep reading
|Hierarchy and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on First Timothy
In Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, he lays down the standards for becoming a church officer. Several of these requirements have to do with money: attitude and use. A greedy man is not to be made a church officer. But he must also have wealth to share: hospitality. . . . keep reading
|Honest Money: The Biblical Blueprint for Money and Banking
The modern world economy faces a monetary disaster because it violates the Bible’s laws governing money. Theologians ignore these laws, and so do economists. You would be wise not to imitate the theologians and economists. . . . keep reading
|Taxation in the Bible
Are there Bible-based principles of taxation? If there are, how would they apply today? . . . keep reading
|An Introduction to Christian Economics
This 1973 book serves as a guide to the relationship between the free market social order and the Bible’s system of ethics. . . . keep reading
Unholy Alliance: The History of the National Council of Churches
This is the definitive study of the history of the National Council of Churches, which was launched in 1908 with a gift by John D. Rockefeller, Sr. If you want to know how the Establishment Protestant Left has promoted its program of government control over the economy, start here. . . . keep reading