Blog author: crobertson
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In the Autumn 2012 issue of Response, Jeff Van Duzer, wrote an article entitled, “Does Business Matter To God,” on the issue of faith and work. He is a well-respected professor of business law and ethics at Seattle Pacific University who gives a unique look into the role faith plays in business. This entire issue of Response is dedicated to the topics of faith and work. I will write about a few other noteworthy articles over the coming weeks.

Van Duzer starts the article by recounting a conversation he had with his father on the purpose of business. In the middle of his attempt to explain his view on the matter, his dad interrupted him and said:

Jeff, everyone knows what the purpose of business is. The purpose of business is to make money.


A schoolhouse in New England from the 1830s.

According to a recent Pew Center report, “Record levels of bachelor’s degree attainment in 2012 are apparent for most basic demographic groups.” 33% of 25- to 29- year-olds are completing both high school and college. According to the report, this number is up from five years ago and at record levels for the United States in general. But what does it mean? Statistics like these are constantly being produced, but they are no good to us if we do not know how to interpret them. After attending the joint Acton/Liberty Fund conference this past weekend on Acton and Tocqueville, I have Tocqueville on the brain and wonder if, perhaps, he might have some insights that are still relevant today. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pilgrims, Property Rights, & Prosperity
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

In their new economic system were planted the seeds of our own free market, which offers incentives for us individually as well as for the mutual benefit of all.

Christian Investors Get Patient With Their Capital
Rob Moll and Rudy Carrasco, Forbes

Now a new movement is well underway that links Christian values and emerging investment opportunities.

Family Christian stores to donate 100 percent of profits to charity under new ownership
Kyle Moroney, Michigan Live

Family Christian will now increase support to its current 25 ministries that benefit widows and orphans scattered throughout 12 countries, with hopes to expand to other Christian-focused charities.

Is Christian Charity Merely Ambulatory?
Keith Pavlischek, Juicy Ecumenism

Ramsey invited us to ask these questions because he believed that the way in which a Christian answered them created in a “fork in the road,” for Christian conscience.

In this week’s Acton Commentary, I take a look at the relationship between sacrifice and self-interest. One of the common complaints against market economies is that they foster selfishness.

But as Paul Heyne points out, it is crucially important to distinguish between self-interest and selfishness: “Many of the most eminent and sophisticated theorists in the economics profession make no effort to distinguish between self-interest and selfishness or between rational behavior and greedy behavior.” The failure to make such a distinction leads to some pretty strange conclusions about the motivations behind human behavior. If you want to know why people work, just look at what they do with the money they earn.

To this end, I also highlight the perspective of Herman Bavinck, who describes the rhythmic relationship between the spheres of family and work:

Through the family God motivates us to work, inspiring, encouraging, and empowering us to work. Through this labor he equips us to survive not for the sake of satisfying our lusts but for the sake of providing for our family before God and with honor, and also to extend the hand of Christian compassion to the poor.

We go out to work to provide for our families, and we return home from work to enjoy and share the fruits of our labors. We do this daily, in fact. There is a deeply intimate connection here in the cycle between home and work, the dual aspects of the cultural mandate: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and exercise dominion over it.

On Nov. 19, Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico discussed a recent federal court ruling on the Obama Administration’s HHS Contraception Mandate on’s Real News.

For more on this story, see the Tyndale House Publishers v. Sebelius resource page on the website of Alliance Defending Freedom.

On Friday the cause of religious liberty was advanced when a federal court stopped enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against Tyndale House Publishers, the world’s largest privately held Christian publisher of Bibles.

But yesterday freedom faced another setback when a federal court rejected Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.’s request to be issued a similar injunction against the conscience-violating mandate:


Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I remember when I was a kid and would ask why we celebrate Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. What about Children’s Day? To which I would receive the inevitable response, “Every day is Children’s Day.” I use the same response now when some smart-alecky kid pipes up with this kind of question.

That may be true, in a sense, but today (Nov. 20) is also “Universal Children’s Day.” This event is a vehicle in part for UN advocacy on behalf of the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the last issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality, Johan van der Vyver examined the convention, with an eye particularly toward the complications of ratification and implementation in the United States in comparison with that of South Africa, in his piece, “Children’s Rights, Family Values, and Federal Constraints.”

Van der Vyver argues, “There is strong opposition against ratification of the convention from within the ranks of evangelical Christians, based essentially on a perception that the convention undermines family values. However, this article argues that the main obstacle confronting the United States in this regard derives from the constitutional dispensation of federalism.” The basic point, says van der Vyver, is that the autonomy of the family unit is not essentially undermined by the convention, but that the particular polity of the U.S. government and the nature of the process of treaty ratification is what stands in the way of American participation.

As to a classical expression of the place of children within the family and the significance of the family as a social institution, it’s worth noting the recent translation of the Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck’s treatise, The Christian Family. This is a wonderful book, full of insights into the nature of social relationships, the divine institution of the family, and the importance of the family to a free and virtuous society.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Republicans Retreat On Copyright Reform?
Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest

If the GOP can’t break with the corporate money machines and the Status Quo Lobby on an issue like this one, you have to wonder what the party’s capacity to lead and to innovate really is.

Free Speech, the Supreme Court, and Neutral Principles
William Haun, Public Discourse

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Judge Robert Bork argue that the First Amendment gives the people greater deference to determine legitimate speech than the courts.

Why understanding Economics is more important than ever
Thomas Purifoy, Economics for Everybody

The truth is that a majority of Americans in both political parties are radically ignorant of basic economics. In numerous ways, most people in the United States have been committed to some form of economic suicide for generations. They just don’t realize the extent of it.

Feeding the Masses
C. Peter Timmer, Wilson Quarterly

Markets help in the process of price discovery—determining what a commodity or service is “worth.” This, in turn, dictates such important values as the price of rice or the wages for unskilled labor. Price discovery is about who gets what.

On Friday, a federal court ruled that Christian book publisher Tyndale House is temporarily exempt from the Obamacare contraception mandate.

Tonight at 6:30 EST on TheBlaze TV, Rev. Robert Sirico will discuss that case, along with a wider discussion of religious liberty and opposition to the Obamacare mandate by other businesses and organizations.

Blog author: jballor
Monday, November 19, 2012

Dr. Kuypers zorg voor de kleine luyden

A rare work in which Kuyper dispatches a particularly troublesome vampire.

However history remembers me … it shall only remember a fraction of the truth.

The multi-talented Abraham Kuyper is sometimes difficult to introduce. I often use the descriptors, “theologian, statesman, journalist” to highlight his many interests and talents. But there is much more than this to the life and work of this complex and compelling figure. As a recent introduction to Kuyper’s thought puts it, “Kuyper was a man of many hats: statesman, politician, educator, preacher, churchman, theologian, and philosopher.”

Kuyper was, indeed, the head of state of the Netherlands from 1901-1905, and had previously led a church movement that formed a new denomination, initiated the publication of two newspapers, wrote a series of essays, books, and editions of works across decades, and much, much more. He is the real-life kind of persona that the words recently placed in the mouth of a fictionalized Abraham Lincoln, who apparently enjoyed a career as a vampire hunter before his ascendancy to the nation’s top political office, would aptly apply to: “However history remembers me before I was a President, it shall only remember a fraction of the truth…”