Saturday, March 8, 2014

Too Young to Appreciate

I was 19 when I first stumbled with Gary North's Bible economic commentary. That was 1986 when I was taking my bachelor's degree in theology. I was surprised with Its content. I find his "sarcasm" and "arrogance" entertaining and his concrete thoughts enlightening. After reading several chapters, I thought that time that better to assign it as part of my future reading task for I had other academic obligations. After 28 years, still I never finished reading even one of his books. 

I forgot the exact year I returned to North's books. If my mind serves me right, I think that was the time when I was pursuing my master's degree in theology. I think it was 1998. The primary reason for my return was prompted by my dissatisfaction with then existing discipleship materials for I was also pastoring a church at that time. It was then that I discovered North's deep connection to Cornelius Van Til's thoughts. Through North and then later John Frame, I started tracking the books of writers coming from Christian Reconstruction. So the names and works of John Rousas Rushdoony, Greg Bahnsen, Gary deMar, James Jordan, and David Chilton became familiar to me. Still, I faiiled to come up with discipleship materials from those resources, maybe because I considered them too difficult and academic for church members or perhaps their sizes were intimidating or maybe I was too lazy and disorganized. 

It took me 8 years to finish my master's degree. I was tasked to teach Pentateuch in our seminary, and so I took that chance to create lectures using North's and Rushdoony's materials. I only came up with 7 lectures. And then in 2006, I pursued my doctoral course in educational leadership and incorporated Van Til's and North's books in my papers. Since I had the financial resources that time, I took advantage of it to collect Van Til's books, Rushoodny's Institutes of Biblical Law Volume 1, and 2 volumes of North's Bible economic commentary.

The third and I hope the last influence that brought me again to North's books was most unusual; it was a personal crisis. It happened in 2009. And as a result of that, I could no longer concentrate in pursuing my doctoral course, and so I stopped. And due to that crisis, I resigned from my teaching job.

After more or less six months of suffering pain, I finally decided to face reality, and besides I have three sons who are depending on me. And so I tried to look for other sources of income. It was that time that I met a business community advocating financial literacy. The books of Robert Kiyosaki were their primary sources, and it was Kiyosaki that led me to Edward Griffin, then to Ron Paul, to the Austrian school, and then back to North again. 

The realization that Gary North is both an Austrian economist and a Van Tilian thinker is something I did not see before. This time I am thinking of making it a goal to read his books and that's the reason why I am writing this article, to remind myself. Unlike North, I don't want to make it as a vow. It is just that at this point I want to take North's challenge that none except him has read his 31 volumes Bible economic commentary. It is really surprising to know that it took him 52 years to finish this project. Compared to Murray N. Rothbard, which many are already impressed with his 7 years of commitment to finish 'Man, Economy, and State," I can't find appropriate words to describe North's perseverance. To serve as my guide, I want to post here Gary North's past accomplishments and future goals in his so-called "four phases" of his calling:

  • Phase 1 - Contributor to The Freeman, Marx Religion of Revolution (1968), The Concept of Property in Puritan New England, 1630-1720 (1972), Introduction to Christian Economics (1973).
  • Phase 2 - Bible economic commentary
  • Phase 3 - Conversion of the commentary into YouTube videos, a new website - The Covenantal Structure of Economics, and a comprehensive treatise comparable to Ludwig von Mises' Human Action.
  • Phase 4 - A book on epistemology of economics and historiography

North wrote: "Be careful what you select as your life's calling. Do it early. The clock is ticking." I can no longer recover my "wasted years." My interest as of now is to read both North's and Rothbard's books. I hope that before 2014 ends, I can finish "Man, Economy, and State" and a couple of books from North's Bible economic commentary.