Friday, September 13, 2013

The Gospel of Truth-in-Currency

Worldview on Steroids

Last Friday the Rev. Dick Knodel, once a minister of the PCA but mostly of the OPC, who now is pastor of the SW Ohio RP Fellowship which has made
application to be received into the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North American, posted on Facebook a criticism of liberalism's ideological faith. He took to task Washington’s economic, and especially its monetary, policies. He labelled the Fed’s monetary policy as an affront to God who alone has fiat power (the power by which he called the world into existence) and will not share his glory with another.

Now, I don’t understand money except that I need it and never have found I had too much of it. I agree with George Bailey, who when told by the angel second class Clarence that money is not used in heaven, replied, “Well it sure does come in handy down here, bub.” And, while I am not sufficiently knowledgeable of Hebrew to know if the translation is correct, I have long appreciated the NIV’s rendering of Ecclesiastes 10:19: “A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.”

When it comes to government economic policy, my intution tells me there must be some kind of similarity to the economic realities within which I must live. While I may charge big sums for a long time (though I am restrained by what the evil bankers will allow), the time will come when I will have to (1) pay what I owe, (2) file for bankruptcy, or (3) die. All the options involve pain for somebody. My guess is that there must be some point, however far in the future it may be, when government debt will cause a lot of pain for quite a few somebodies. And, while the government has a power I don’t, which is to make money by printing it, I don’t see how printing money can postpone some kind of economic reckoning indefinitely. However, as Carl Trueman would like to be proved wrong about transformationalism, so I would be very happy to be proved wrong about economics.
But, since I don’t understand money, my purpose here is not discuss monetary policy. Rather I call attention to the closing paragraph of Pastor’s Knodel’s commentary where he brings his remarks around to the Gospel:

Come to Christ, the Eternal Word or Fiat-Power, all ye who labor & are heavy laden. Believe in his teaching of private property, and truth-in-currency! Leave off these FALSE PROPHETS & their FALSE GODS!
Someone BETTER is near by who CAN LEAD US OUT OF BONDAGE!
As I said, I do not know much about economics and money, but I do think I understand something about the gospel. And, unless I am misreading Pastor Knodel, the call of the Gospel at the end of his commentary is for those who labor and are heavy laden to come to Christ, the “Fiat-Power.” Faith is to “Believe in his teaching of private property, and truth-in-currency.” Repentance is to “leave off these false prophets and false gods.” The Eternal Word is better and near at hand, and he can lead out of bondage. 

I must admit that I made a rather snarky if accurate statement in response: “That last paragraph is no gospel.” The next day Pastor Knodel was busy, presumably preparing another evangelistic sermon, but found time to try to try to enlighten me: 
Bill Smith I'm not committing a whole lot of time to this line of questioning, but I would remind you that Jesus generally approached people in terms of either Lordship or sin/salvation. For example, the Rich Young Ruler was handled entirely within the Lordship paradigm. From this we deduce that the one implies the other: If Christ is truly your Lord, then you will have bowed the knee to his gospel -- and availed yourself of THAT. And if you have asked him for forgiveness and atonement, then you will also happily accept his sovereignty over you! 
The difficulty Fundies have with the gospels is that Jesus only speaks of his kingdom for the first 2/3 of the gospels, and never did give a bonifide (sic) altar call. He doesn't even talk all that much about sin (and implicitly how much men need to be saved from it). He does talk a whole lot about the necessity of the Kingdom, and how central he is/was to THAT! But if you understand what I said above, there is no problem at all; Christ's ministry is unified and clear. 
The whole of God's revelation (including Moses) has to do with Christ's Word and Kingdom. Men cannot submit to that without the Holy Spirit's work, which works through the gospel of his life (righteousness obtained) and death (atonement made for sin!). 
But when the Spirit so works, man instinctively desires holiness -- part of which is his desire for Christ's Lordship (and definition of righteousness as it is detailed in his Law!). 
Lordship and salvation are friends with each other, just as are the two natures of Christ -- united in one person. In Christ, one implies the other. 
Matthew Bryan also tried to help me: 

Bill, to the extent the whole counsel of God contains the fullest presentation of the gospel, and not only the narrowest view necessary to escape the flames, yes, the gospel is there. 
The gospel is the good news that sets us free from sin, individually, institutionally, culturally. The gospel applied sets us free from the slavery of theft and fraud. Hallelujah! 
Don Freeman chimed in:

You're only preaching the Gospel if you say the magic words, "Choose Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior". Nothing else is Gospel. (sarcasm).


And again:
There was a time when Biblical Christianity was a thorn in the flesh of tyrants, who are always idolaters and who always work to throw off God as described in Psalm 2. But the truncated version of Christianity, which is so popular today, won't oppose the idolatrous state but actually supports it. Shameful.

I confess that I find this all confusing - both Pastor Knodel’s further comments and those of his allies. Somehow this full-Gospel comes back around to U.S currency. It’s all bound up together. But what I suspect is that this is the Gospel of worldview - on steroids. One has to wonder if when Paul said that no man can say Jesus is Lord except by the Spirit, he was thinking about currency.

Here are Jews who are cut to the quick by Peter’s Pentecost sermon and cry out, “Brethren, what must we do?” Peter answers, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Fiat-Word for the forgiveness of sins…Save yourselves from this perverse monetary system.” Here is the just moments ago suicidal Philippian jailer on his knees before Paul and Silas, asking, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul replies, “Believe in the Fiat-Word and his teaching of private property and truth-in-currency. And, by the way, this will make Caesar tremble.” And the jailer, cries, "Hallelujah! Good news!" They go into the house to speak more of this currency Gospel, and then the whole household are baptized into this faith. And they all rejoice about truth-in-currency.

To my observation dying is usually pretty hard. I am not saying there are no triumphant deaths, but I don’t think there are so many as hagiographic sermon illustrations might lead us to believe. John Murray’s last intelligible words were not, “I'm about to slip into glory!” but, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” My request is that when I come to die, please do not let within 100 miles of me anyone whose gospel is about Fiat-Words, or Moses’ law, or currencies, or quaking tyrants. I know that then, as now, the only comfort I can hope to get will come from being assured that even my sins, horrendous and innumerable as they are, are covered by Jesus blood.

On the many occasions when I have stood at the Table and given our Lord’s invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls,” I have never once thought of our Lord as the Fiat-Word. I have never once thought I was calling sinners to his monetary system. I didn't know he had one.

I am seldom - no, never - accused of being a pietist. But if this makes me one, go ahead, make my day.

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