Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Jumping the Shark!"-Part One

What comes to your mind when you think of Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms? Was this an early form of a fad diet in 15th century Germany? After all, just a few years ago you could find advertisements in magazines for tapeworms. Just swallow a few of these, the ad would say, and you can lose weight without really trying. Our brand is even hygienic for your good health, it would say! But, a Diet of Worms? Our form of the English language can be a fascinating thing. We can only imagine how strange it seems to others when they attempt to learn and speak our brand of English.

Martin Luther, as many of you well know was the father of the Protestant Reformation. Martin was born in eastern Germany in 1483. This was only some forty years after Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press. Martin Luther protested some of the practices in the Catholic Church of that time. A diet was a judicial hearing or court. Worms was the German city where the trial was to be held. And now, as the late Paul Harvey would often say, you know the rest of the story.

History demonstrates that at various times and different locations, the Christian church has veered off and even jumped the track. God calls out men and women, grounded in His Holy Word, the Bible, to steer the Christian Church back into the right direction. He has done this from Old Testament times until the present age in which we now live. The bigger question is whether or not the church of today will listen.

Recently, a well known television pastor and evangelist (Click for the interview) was asked what he thought about the Mormon faith. This was in response to recent criticism of a particular political candidate. The tele-evangelist’s answer seemed logical, and probably sounded OK to much of today’s Biblically illiterate culture. He said he probably would not agree with everything he Church of Latter Day Saints would teach. He went on to say that they were probably not the purest form of Christianity…that recognizing Jesus as the Son of God was the most important thing. The thing this well known evangelist neglected to consider is that the Mormon Church does not believe that virgin birth of Jesus Christ happened by any miraculous means.

All genuine Christianity is built on the foundation of what seemed to be a small detail to him. God sent His perfect, sinless Son, born of a virgin to be a sacrifice for mankind’s sin. Christ became sin for us on the cross at Calvary that we might have eternal life. The virgin birth is of utmost importance because sin is passed through the blood of each generation. Because Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit, Christ was born without sin!

Back in the 1970’s there was a popular television called Happy Days. As with most television shows, ratings decline the longer a program remains on the air. In an effort to gain a ratings boost, the Happy Days gang went on a beach vacation. In one particular scene Fonzi is seen wearing his famous leather jacket while on water skis. Still on the skis he then jumps over a shark to the cheers of everyone on the beach. Because of this particular scene, movie and television critics invented a new name for programs that leave common sense behind and go off into a strange direction. It’s called “Jumping the Shark!” My friends, there are many churches today that have jumped the shark!

The bigger question today is…how do we as a The Church get back on track? I would like to focus on several things today that I personally believe would get our church and nation headed back into the right direction based on God’s Word.

I. A Return to Christian Community: When I say church, I’m talking about the church as a whole. I’m not criticizing our church, Boonville Wesleyan Church. We are just a part of a much larger picture, Christ’s church, the entire Christian Community. Union with Christ establishes our membership in His Church, the community of the faithful. I’m afraid that because many times we as Christians have put so much emphasis on a personal relationship, that we forget we are all called to work together to be the light of the world. As an individual we belong to Boonville Wesleyan Church. Our church is part of the Indiana South District of The Wesleyan Church. Our district is part of The Wesleyan Church USA. And of course, all churches that believe that Jesus is Savior and Lord are part of the Kingdom of God. The first step the church of today must take in getting back on track is accountability. We must remain true to the Word of God and in fellowship with the entire Christian Community of believers that are striving to do the same.

II. A Return to Christian Social Witness: What do I mean when I speak of a social Christian witness? John Wesley once said, ”Any religion that can be concealed is not Christianity.” What do you think Wesley meant when he made that statement? As you study his life it becomes quite clear. The England of Wesley’s day had become very corrupt. Alcoholism was very rampant in the streets. Children could be hanged for stealing rabbit from a gentlemen’s estate. Not much different than today is it? Florida is the leading state to treat children as adults with over 300 under the age of eighteen in the adult prison system. Florida is followed closely by Texas. I’m sorry folks, regardless of the crime, a twelve year old boy is not an adult and does not deserve life in prison! I would not want to be in the judge’s shoes who sentenced a child for personal political gain when the King of Kings judges him. Jesus tells us about the fate of those who mistreat children. And just as the early Wesleyans constantly decried the evils of slavery…we should cry out to God for our leaders who justify the nearly 4000 thousand children who are murdered each day in their mother’s womb. God tells us clearly that the children’s innocent blood cries out from the ground to Him.

Early Wesleyans and like-minded Christians of other faiths worked to reform the prison system, end slavery, and feed the poor. A Social Gospel is putting into action what we believe and know in our heart is right based on what the Bible clearly shows us. . That is what it means to be salt and light. This is putting the golden rule into action. True revival brought about the needed social change in England. The answer to America’s problems is true spiritual revival, not more laws and political rhetoric.

Many would look for a political or presidential candidate to solve the problems.

Someone once said,” Why do we choose from just two people to run for president and fifty for Miss America?” Good question!

Both major political parties have had periods of time when they experienced complete control with the presidency and both houses of congress. If being democrat or being republican were the only answer, then our problems should have been solved by now. If you seek God in honest prayer, He will guide you in selecting a candidate, nationally or locally.

In spite of billions of dollars pouring in every year, our public school system has become a disaster. Abraham Lincoln said that the classroom of one generation will become the government of the next one. The great reformer Martin Luther recognized the problem nearly 500 years ago when he said, “I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.”

Dr. Leon Henson said, Whenever the Christian lives an authentic life, the world around is permeated with God’s presence… The pure in heart not only see God, but become letters through which society sees Him.”

Check back later for Part Two...God Bless -Keith 1 Cor 13

Friday, October 21, 2011

All Saint's Day...An Armchair Theologian's Opinion

All Saints Day, the day on which Catholics celebrate all the saints, known and unknown, is a surprisingly old feast. It arose out of the Christian tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. When martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, local dioceses instituted a common feast day in order to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown, were properly honored.

Most Protestants churches other than some of the "mainline" churches focus more of their attention on days such as Mother's Day, Father's Day. Now there's even a Grandparent's Day and a Children's Day.. I'm not criticizing this practice, but would would personally like to see more of the day's on the Christian Calendar observed and explained to congregations also.

Retailers tell us that the pagan holiday of Halloween is second only to Christmas in total consumer spending! It is not uncommon to see as many houses decorated in ghosts and goblins as Christmas lights a couple of months later. Most conservative churches replace Halloween Parties with Hallelujah Parties asking that participants dress like Bible characters and such.

This a a good alternative so the children of church members don't feel like they are totally left-out as in the good 'ol days when everything was illegal, immoral, and it seemed a sin just to smile. Maybe there is another possibility to consider? Maybe we as the Church could focus more on church holidays like All Saint's Day in rememberence of those who died that Christianity, especially Protestant Christianity might live. Included in this is our many translations of the Bible into everyday language so that everyone can read it.

And while we are at it, maybe we can throw Maundy Thursday, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday in there also! That's my opinion anyway...keith 1 Cor 13

Monday, August 22, 2011

Exhortations on Holy Living-Then & Now...

I enjoy reading quotes from revivalists and theologians of past years. More often than not, their advice is very timely and applicable to our world today. I presented a Bible Study recently from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22. Sometimes the Bible does some "hard preachin'" Here are some parts of that presentation with some additional quotes of others from past years. First, let us look at the Scripture text:

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies.* 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. NKJV

*20 Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages,CEB

Rejoice Always: This can be a difficult one when going through trials and temptation. John Wesley stated that in the book of Job,"There are many things hard to be understood." Others have noted that Job's "patience" only lasted two chapters out of a forty-two chapter book!

Pray without ceasing: "The evangelization of the world depends first of all upon a revival of prayer."- Charles G. Finney, in Revival letters

Quench not the Spirit: "Catch on fire and others will come to watch you burn." -John Wesley

Despise not prophesyings (Preaching) The original Greek word here was analogia, meaning "according to the proportion of faith" This actually meant preaching, and not predicting the future. However, the early "evangelists" were spiritually in tune with God. Most preaching in the 1700's and later was expository in nature, much different than many of today's user "friendly" and topical sermons.

"Sermonettes make Christianettes."- Jack van Impe

"What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace." -John Wesley

Abstain from all appearance of evil: In today's "Grey" world, this rings more true now than ever! There are several quotes herewith a humorous one by the late George Carlin.

"Vice does not lose its character becoming fashionable."- John Wesley

"Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself."

Susanna Wesley, Mother of John and Charles

"The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse:
You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment." George Carlin

Monday, July 4, 2011

Morning Trinitarian Prayer

John Stott's Morning Trinitarian prayer.

Good morning heavenly Father,
good morning Lord Jesus,
good morning Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence
and please you more and more.

Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God,
have mercy upon me. Amen.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

God Never Changes

Five Things We Can Depend On!”

Text: Luke 12:22-33

By Keith Kiper

Why do bad things happen to good people? That question has been asked many times. A newly-wed couple are killed by a drunk driver as they leave the church for their honeymoon. Just this past week, evangelist Rev. David Wilkerson was killed in a head-on crash with an 18 wheeler. Wilkerson is best known as the founder of Teen Challenge ministries and as the author of “The Cross and the Switchblade.” Recently we have witnessed the devastation of the tsunami in Japan and the record setting tornadoes in the south. The death toll continues to climb into the 300’s. Contrast this with all the news coverage and the world’s fascination with the Royal Wedding which took place in London this week. Perhaps the world was ready for some good news for a change. Proverbs 11:10 tells us, ”When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers, when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.”

Many will blame God when tragedy comes into their lives. The pundits and talking heads on the nightly news are always looking for a cause or an explanation.

Things like climate change must be to blame. Others would point to what the Bible tells us about the last days. Perhaps both these statements are true. After all, the Bible tells us in Romans that the whole earth groans in travail because of man’s sin.

We may never have the answers to all these questions in this short life here on earth. But as Job and others in the past well knew, they could trust God whatever the outcome. That’s what I would like to focus on today. We can find five things that set us apart as Christians. Like God the father, these don’t change and will provide us with comfort regardless of what’s happening in our life.

During a British conference on the World’s religions, experts from around the world were discussing the Christian faith. They wanted to know if there was one particular belief that belonged only to the Christian faith. One by one they began to eliminate the possibilities. Incarnation they said? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of someone returning from the dead. They debated for some time until the great Christian author C.S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about? He asked.

The other experts in the room told him they were discussing what made Christianity different from all the other religions. In his usual forthright manner C.S. Lewis responded, Oh that is easy. It’s grace.”

Grace alone can save us. This is one of the major teaching of the Protestant Church. Grace sets us apart as Christians from the other religions. That is why we celebrated Resurrection Sunday this past week. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection means that only by the unmerited favor of God that Christ went to the cross and paid for our sins. That’s what grace is all about! Salvation comes through faith in Christ alone. Man is depraved by nature and alienated from God his Creator. It is through God’s grace alone through the Holy Spirit that we can be drawn to God through Christ. The only mediator between God and man is Jesus. We can go directly to God in pray. Grace spells out “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” Jesus paid the price at Calvary for our sin. It has been paid for. We cannot pay or bargain for our Salvation through any human being. We can just simply confess and accept this free gift. Grace means that the cruelest, most vile and evil person can find favor with his Creator. All are equal at the foot of the Cross.

The Human mind can no more grasp that concept than it can understand the Holy Trinity. We can know its true. How? True because of the experience in our heart and the changed lives and testimony of others. It doesn’t matter what is happening in the world or in our personal life. When we trust in Jesus, He will always be there. In this life and the next.

The Bible tells us in the last days that false prophets will arise. Liberal pastors will tell us that certain ways of living are acceptable to God. As Christians we realize that Scripture alone speaks authoritatively and it speaks to all believers. The Bible speaks to the individual. As Protestant Christians we believe that we do not need an interpreter or so-called modern day prophet. The Bible speaks to us independently of church leaders and organizations. I realize that different denominations may have differing ideas as to what certain passages mean. Sometimes this is because of what we call proof-texting nor taking a single verse out of context to suit what a certain group wants to believe. But I do believe that as Christians, especially Protestant ones, that we will agree on the central teachings of the Bible. Someone once asked the late Dr. Bill Bright what he thought about some of the things in the Bible that we sometimes wish had a better explanation. He replied, “Well, The plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain things. If it isn’t a plain thing, then it probably isn’t a main thing.”

Ignoring the main things can have disastrous consequences. When we don’t accept the Bible as literal and whole it affects our respect for human life and how we view others. When we don’t accept the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, then it becomes easy to accept certain evolutionary ideas.

When society ignores the truth in God’s Word they will set their own standards. No society in the history of the world has survived long after making that disastrous choice.

One of the most fascinating, yet sad chapters in American history is the story of Ota Benga. Ota Benga was a Pygmy who was put on display in an American Zoo along side a Chimpanzee in the early 1900’s. Darwins theory had so gripped the minds of some scientists that they believed Ota Benga was some form of inferior race. Pygmies were hunted down and killed as portrayed in the movie “Quigley Down Under.“ The word “race’ itself is a result of evolutionary ideas. Even more horrifying examples of this type of thinking can be seen in the concentration camps of WW2. This is what happens when society picks and chooses from the truth found in God’s Word and distort what it really says.

In his letter to the Colossians, we see that Paul is helping a newly established church know that its foundation is the inerrancy of Scripture. He tells them that Scripture living richly within them will keep them united in the faith and strong and focused on the task. Paul writes in Colossians 3:16:

“The word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Listen to the keys words as Paul proclaims in Romans 1:16,”I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

We are all equal at the foot of the cross. Jesus sees all of us through the same eyes. Whatever we are going through, we still have God’s promises and His plan for our lives. We have it in His unchanging Word.

Another Biblical concept we can always keep with us is our faith. Our faith that only God can be completely trusted. The Bible teaches us that only total righteousness is acceptable to God. This righteousness is found in Christ only, not in man. Man is justified by faith alone in the finished work of Christ.

That very familiar verse in Hebrews 11:1 tells us, ”Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” Verse six goes on to tell us that, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

At first glance, these statements made by Paul would seem to contradict each other. The Bible tells us that faith must begin in the heart. Yet, God above is the one who puts that measure of faith there in the first place. This kind of faith, or trust in God, springs from the Christian’s innermost being. This kind of faith allowed early Christians and Reformers to endure torture and persecution. They were sawn in half and burned at the stake. Some died a slow, painful death, so that everyone could have the very Bible we read from today.

Our words seem inadequate to describe this kind of faith. The Bible describes many individuals whom God worked through to do great things.

Why? Not because they were somehow superhuman. They accomplished great things because they took that leap of faith and took God at His Word.

Christ alone is our way to heaven! All other teachings of Christianity hinge on this statement. Salvation is accomplished by Christ alone. Jesus plainly told us that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. We have direct access to Him through prayer. Angels, saints, sacraments, priests, churches, and teachers may direct us to Jesus. But Christ alone was the perfect Saviour, and we have direct access to our heavenly Father only through him.

The angels cried Glory to God in the Highest! God told Moses at Mt Sinai,”I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Duet. 20:1,2)

Religion should be God-centered, not man-centered. Anything else is just a good set of rules to live by. Christianity is the bridge between God and man. It doesn’t matter what the other religions tell us, or what we believe personally.

Dag Hammarskjold said,

“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a Wonder, the Source of which is beyond all reason.”

We should glorify God in everything that we do. In Old Testament times, the Hebrews would take their portable tabernacles with them as they traveled. In the New Testament Paul tells us we are the tabernacle in which Christ through the Holy Spirit dwells.

Several years ago there was a popular chorus named “Sanctuary.” You may have heard it or even sang it. I may have read the words to this here before. I believe these words speak to our heart and are worth repeating. Whatever is going on around us, we can have peace in our heart. As we close today, think about the words as I read them to you. (I am not a singer by any means)


Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You

It is you, Lord
Who came to save
The heart and soul
Of every man
It is you Lord
who knows my weakness
Who gives me strength,
With thine own hand.

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and Holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving I'll be a living
Sanctuary for you

Lead Me on Lord
From temptation
Purify me
From within
Fill my heart with
You holy spirit
Take away all my sin

Lord prepare me to a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You

Let us pray: We thank you and praise you today for sending us Your Son. We thank you for your Holy Word you have given us to guide us in truth. We pray that in your light, we might see light. You promised us that no matter what is going on around us, You are there with us when we trust in You. Cleanse us each day that we might be the sanctuary and the light that would draw others to you.

And the people said,” Amen.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Christian View of Labor Unions...

A Christian View of Labor Unions

By Dr. Gary North

Dr. North is editor of Biblical Economics Today, from which this article is reprinted by permission. Biblical Economics Today is available free on request: P.O. Box 8567, Durham, N.C. 27707.

Why should we speak of a Christian view of labor unions? The best rea­son is that almost all Christians have some opinion on the place of work in the life of a Christian. Max Weber, the German social scientist, wrote an important book at the turn of the century, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he argued that the idea of the calling—one’s vocation—was a cen­tral feature in the attitudes of Prot­estant laymen who helped lay the foundations of modern production methods and organization. If the idea of work is central to the Chris­tian tradition, and this tradition led to the creation of modern capitalism, then we ought to pay attention to a related topic, the labor union. Labor unions are not the major part of the total American labor force, contrary to popular opinion. They are important in the large in­dustries such as autos, steel, and television, but only about 25 per cent of the American labor force belongs to any union, and many of these are weak, rather insignificant organizations. As I hope to demon­strate, it is almost impossible for trade unionism ever to control over half of a nation’s labor force in a democratic country, and where unions control more than this, labor mobility will be reduced markedly.

Do unions raise wages? Unques­tionably they do. Do monopolies in business raise prices? Unquestion­ably they do. Labor unions raise wages in exactly the same way that a business monopoly raises prices: by artificially restricting the supply of a particular resource. Over the long run, with rare exceptions, no monopolist can keep prices raised in this fashion apart from direct gov­ernment interference into the mar­ket. If the government keeps out competitors, then it is possible for monopolists to keep prices above what they would have been in a free market for years or even decades. In the case of diamonds, the DeBeers oligopoly has kept diamond prices up throughout the twentieth cen­tury, but it takes the collusion of the South African government to main­tain this monopoly (or at least it took such collusion originally).

Monopoly Pricing

The economics of monopoly pric­ing is the foundation of all modern trade unionism. This is either not understood by the supporters of trade unions, or else it is rejected as irrelevant. You will search your days in vain trying to find a support­er of trade unions who is also a supporter of business monopolies, yet the economics of each is identi­cal. The labor union achieves higher than market wages for its members by excluding non-members from ac­cess to the competition for the avail­able jobs. In other words, those who are excluded must seek employment in occupations that they regard as second-best. They bear the primary burden in the marketplace; they are the ones who pay the heaviest price for the higher than market wages enjoyed by those inside the union.

How can unions exclude outsiders from the bidding process? There are many ways, all used effectively by unions over the decades. First, there is raw power. They beat up their competitors. They throw paint bombs (paper bags filled with paint) at the homes of their competitors. They threaten the children of their competitors. Their children exclude the children of the competitors from social activities at school, meaning public (government) school. They shout "scab" from their picket lines. (Strange, isn’t it, that those who defend labor unions seldom shout "scab" at Ford salesmen who are challenging the so-called monopoly of General Motors?)

Second, and most effective, trade unionists have been able to convince legislators to enact legislation that excludes non-union workers whenever 50 per cent plus one worker vote to choose a particular labor union as the sole bargaining agent in a plant or industry or pro­fession. The skilled trades were the first to get state governments to pass such legislation, and im­mediately blacks in the South dis­appeared from the skilled trades. Then professional associations got such legislation passed, most notably lawyers, physicians, and den­tists. Then, in 1935, the Wagner Act was passed at the national level. It established the National Labor Re­lations Board (NLRB), a consis­tently pro-union bureaucratic Fed­eral agency. As far as the favored unions are concerned, 75 per cent of all workers are potential "scabs," and the NLRB keeps them in their second-choice jobs.

There is a third, less evident, means of insuring labor union monopoly pricing. This is the minimum wage legislation. This legislation is always supported by trade union officials, whose mem­bers are always earning wages higher than the proposed min­imum wage. This legislation sees to it that regions that have less developed unions, such as the South—in fact, primarily the South—cannot attract industry so easily from the more heavily unionized Northeast. The minimum wage was the primary means of war­fare by unions against non-union workers after World War II until very recently. It still may be the primary weapon. The primary loser is, of course, the urban teenage male black, who cannot get into the Northern union, or migrate to the South, or offer services to employers that are worth the minimum wage.

Employers pay higher wages than the market would have dictated when their labor force is unionized.

Of course, employers outside union domination pay lower wages, since they are not compelled by competi­tive market forces to bid away labor from unionized firms. Since 75 per cent or more of all workers are not in a union, they cannot gain legal ac­cess to the labor markets where 25 per cent of the workers are employed. They have to work else­where. Thus, non-unionized em­ployers are granted a subsidy from government: lower priced workers.

When was the last time you heard a supporter of labor unions argue that the reason why unions are wonderful is because they grant a subsidy to the employers who employ 75 per cent of the American labor force? Yet this is precisely the economic effect of compulsory government-enforced trade union­ism.

The Law of Market Competition

"Buyers compete against other buyers. Sellers compete against other sellers." Not that difficult a concept, right? Apparently it is the most difficult concept in economics, if we are to judge by the arguments people use in favor of increased gov­ernment intervention into the free market.

Buyers of labor services compete against other buyers and potential buyers of similar (substitutable) labor services. This means that em­ployers are in constant competition against other employers in the labor markets. They are forced to bid up the price of labor until the point that they can no longer afford to hire any more laborers, or, in the case of the most successful bidder, until all the competition has dropped out of the field. This is the explanation for the curious phenomenon that labor unions subsidize non-unionized in­dustries that are buying labor ser­vices from those excluded by law from competing for jobs in unionized industries. The buyers of labor in unionized industries have been compelled by law to depart from the "labor auction" in which 75 per cent of American workers are offering their services to the highest bidder.

On the other hand, sellers com­pete against sellers. This means that those who are harmed by trade unionism are those excluded from union membership. They are denied the right to compete for jobs in cer­tain segments of the economy. They have been denied their right to bid, just as the employers in the unionized markets have been de­nied their right to bid.

The biblical view of man is work-oriented. It affirms that man was placed on the earth to subdue it to the glory of God (Gen. 1:28; 9:1-7). It is not each man’s right to work. It is his duty to work. What is his lawful right is his right to compete for the job he wants, his right to compete for the labor services he wishes to pur­chase. No one has a right to my job, including me. Anyone should have the right to compete for my job, including me. And I have the right to compete for his.


The striker argues that he has the right not to work, but his employer does not have the right to hire some­one to replace him. Modern compul­sory trade unionism is based on the wholly immoral premise that the worker owns his job (can exclude others from the position) even though he refuses to work for his employer. To add insult to immoral­ity, most trade unionists also want government food stamps, un­employment benefits (tax-free), and other forms of taxpayer-financed benefits while they are striking. The consumer is supposed to finance his own funeral, and the coercion of law then becomes total.

Obviously, nobody inside the union could reap monopoly wages if everyone were in the union who wanted to compete for the available jobs. The union would then become superfluous. It is only because of the artificial barriers set up against other workers that the union mem­bers reap their monopoly gains. This is the reason why, economically speaking, the trade union move­ment in its present, coercive form will never be more than a minority movement. The union needs the majority of workers outside the union movement, since the union member­ship has to have victims among the working class in order to reap its monopoly returns.

Once a man’s contract has ex­pired, he should have the right to walk off the job if he wants to. He should not have the right to keep his employer from hiring a replace­ment. Similarly, any employer should have the right to fire a worker, once the contract has ex­pired. But he should not have the right to exclude that worker from competing in other labor markets. Trade unions deny both these prem­ises.

Voluntary unionism is lawful, so long as the civil government does not do more than enforce the con­tracts agreed to by employers and laborers. A union can help to spread information of better wages or bet­ter jobs, thereby helping its mem­bers to keep alert to the true value of the services they are offering for sale. Unions can be self-help societies. But when compulsory, under coercive civil law, they are immoral. They must be recognized as such by orthodox Christians.

For further reading, see Prof. Sylvester Petro’s many books, including Labor Policy of the Free Society, Power Un­limited: The Corruption of Union Leadership, The Kohler Strike, and The Kingsport Strike. Also of interest: W. H. Hutt, The Strike-Threat Sys­tem.


Let the Market Decide

If you believe that the state should not intervene in dealings between employers and employees, then that means not only no Wagner Acts, but no right-to-work laws and no administrative review of wage settle­ments as well. Yet we seem to be headed for ever more intervention by the state in dealings between employers and employees, in the in­ternal affairs of unions, and in the wage-price relationships in industry. Having created our Frankenstein, we are now going to break him to our will.

In the process the state is almost certain to undertake to dictate de­cisions about matters that should be left to the market place, and to create authoritarian patterns of action that will be degrading and de­bilitating to employers and employees alike.