Acton Institute Powerblog

A Not-So-Compelling Argument

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This is a not-so-compelling argument that “information should be free.”

Logos Research Systems Inc., which produces Libronix biblical and theological research software, was vandalized this past weekend by “a man throwing Froot Loops cereal and pieces of paper out of an apartment window in the shipping department building Saturday morning.”

The Bellingham Herald reported that he “told officers he felt the company was charging him money for Bibles when he could get them for free.”

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • I ran into this attitude once when I worked in a Christian bookstore years ago. I was the ringing up some books, and some man said, “You know someone should think about making a place like this for free. It isn’t right to be making money off God.”

    It was interesting that if he believed what he did, he didn’t do this himself. No. Somebody else was supposed to get up early, learn how to use the IBID system, order books, return unsold books, close down the place, etc.

    There also seems to be some Biblical illiteracy in the man’s case. St. Paul says of pastors that “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14) And as 1 Timothy 5:18 states: “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” There is a basic principle taught here—first with oxen!—that you don’t ask someone to work in a way that they cannot receive sustenance from their working.

    Software like the Logos software does not program itself. Yes, you can get the King James Version for free. Those who labored over the translation are long gone. But book bindings and software are another thing. If you want them to be good, then expect to pay.