Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Unequal Distribution of Economic Freedom


At Forbes, Alejandro Chafuen surveys countries that have successfully raised lower incomes and argues that the main causes of income inequality are:

1. Corruption: Defined as those actions by government agents that sell what they do not have a right to sell, such as subsidies, preferential regulations and others, which disproportionally affects the poor.

2. Cronyism: This is similar to corruption but usually “legal.”

3. Regulatory barriers: This is in the form of high capital requirements, mountains of red tape, and exorbitant license fees, especially in the areas where the poor enter the market.

4. Government schools:  In “This Wonderful Tree,” James Tooley, of the E.G. West Centre, documents how in several nations the poor prefer to send their children to humble, but more efficient, private schools. Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, of the Becker Friedman Institute, argues that a big improvement in high school graduation rates would reduce inequality of earnings.

5. Monetary Policy: Ralph Benko, a Forbes.com contributor, recently wrote a column on inequality where he took as a given that major players in the banking sector were being unjustly enriched by the current monetary policy.

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Are Christian Required to Tithe?

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Program segments:

• Galatians and the Two Covenants
• Christians, Tithing & Malachi 3:7-12
• Sermon Review: The Questions That Have the Potential to Change Everything by Perry Noble

Resource: Are Christians Required to Tithe?

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Beware the bookseller pretending to be Christian

Well, the lines are now clearly drawn. Conservatives who have a biblical worldview are now part of the Resistance, I’d say.

Nowhere do we see this more clearly outlined than with what’s happening in Christian media/publishing. Christian book publishing continues to crumble. Witness, for example, the new-and-improved Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Back in the day, with its marketing angle that touted the company’s roots (the company began in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1798), one got the feeling that its books were trustworthy.

Guess not.

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The White House is trying to impose a Mideast peace deal. Here’s what you need to know.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(Washington, D.C.) — A fascinating but dicey and possibly dangerous moment is rapidly approaching in the epicenter.

The Obama administration is about to tell the Israelis and Palestinians how to solve their problems. The White House is about to pressure both sides to agree “in principle” to an interim agreement, and then work on a final peace treaty. How the two sides will react is anyone’s bet. Could the dynamic actually lead to a peaceful resolution of an ancient conflict? Seems unlikely. Could it lead to a calm and quiet at least for a while? Sure, theoretically. But to be candid, it could also lead to political chaos, or even to renewed violence.

Let me explain as concisely as I can.

Within days, or at most a few weeks, Secretary of State John Kerry will present both sides with what he calls a “framework agreement.” Essentially, this is an American-crafted peace plan. Yes, it will be based on…

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Depression, Medication, and Biblical Counseling

 

I’ve collated my four posts related to Depression, Medication, and Biblical Counseling into a free two-dozen-page PDF that you can download here.

Also, if you would like to read the original posts, or send the links to others, you can find them below.

RPM Ministries: Equipping You to Change Lives with Christ’s Changeless Truth

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Biblically understanding the prosperity gospel

In a twitter conversation, a friend mentioned to me that the prosperity gospel is simply ancient pagan fertility religion (namely Ba’al worship) in a modern garb…which got me thinking.  In thinking about the Biblical classification of the Prosperity Gospel, I would have to suggest that it is a system of very old false religion, but not necessarily Ba’al worship.

Now, it’s fairly easy to see that the “gospel” of the prosperity gospel isn’t the biblical gospel, regardless of how some try to soft pedal it.  The “good news” isn’t the death/resurrection/ascension of Christ resulting in restoration with God, it’s the death/resurrection of Christ resulting in the restoration of your credit rating.  It’s also fairly easy to get the whole “Balaam” and materialism connection (2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 1:11), and it’s easy to recognize that those who push the prosperity gospel are false teachers since those who use God as a means to get financial gain are, on the basis of that one characteristic, labelled “false teachers” in the New Testament (1 Tim. 6:3-10; 2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 1:11).  Nobody gets into ministry to get rich, and those who do aren’t actually “in ministry”.

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Still, the materialism thing isn’t the only error.  I was thinking about something different…something less overtly pagan.

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Contentment, the Stealth Prosperity Gospel, and Spiritual Greed

The real devil in the details of the prosperity-type teaching permeating so much of evangelicalism is not really that it skips over the stuff about sin. Sure, it does that too, but the pernicious paradox of this stuff is that it champions “victorious Christian living” yet does not equip believers for sustainable discipleship. It emphasizes feelings and “outlook,” not the power of the Spirit, which is hard for some folks to notice since the latter is often conflated with the former (so that being optimistic or a go-getter is ipso facto being Spirit-empowered). The problem over time is that, going from victory to victory, expecting victory after victory, cultivates a contagious form of spiritual greed. (Is it any wonder that this sort of teaching often goes hand and hand with talk of financial riches and prosperity?) The real stuff of discipleship — what Eugene Peterson calls “a long obedience in the same direction” — involves hard stuff like discipline and the fruit of the Spirit. In pop discipleship discipline is replaced by steps, tips, and amazingsupercolossal breakthroughs.

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Without Love, I Am Nothing: A Word to Bible Students, Seminarians, Disciple-Makers

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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In light of 1 Corinthians 13, a word to Bible students, seminarians, and disciple-makers:

If I excel in seminary,
master the languages and ace every exam,
associate with notable faculty,
and abound in exegetical skills,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I affirm biblical inerrancy,
refute the documentary hypothesis,
solve the synoptic problem,
and defeat damnable heresy with air-tight rationale,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I acquire a biblical worldview,
equip an army of disciples,
champion Christian orthodoxy,
and confront a sin-ridden, God-hating culture,
but have not…

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