An initial brief thought on the economics of conservative Presbyterians that may or may not warrant further consideration

Andrew Sandlin’s mention of the waste of time and money on trials has got me thinking…

In terms of economic analysis, the problem is “misallocated resourcs.” Such misallocations are commonly caused by disruptions in pricing.

As I have argued before (“Machen’s Warrior Children Were Subsidized”), one problem is that the price of making false accusations in court is kept artificially low. At least when the pamphlet technology was used during the Reformation to overturn the powers that be, the writers and purveyors of the pamphlets were taking real risks. While the blogosphere is the more efficient development of the pamphlets, it is not accompanied by real accountability. As I wrote awhile back:

So by filing a complaint, culled from incredibly biased attacks on a man, one could get a free pass to only care about tearing down a man’s reputation and having virtually no responsibility for considering contrary evidence. What organization will survive a period of time in which accusers are given this kind of institutional cover? Jesus claimed that even Satan knew better than to allow this sort of internal conflict. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

But in addition to making attacking the brethren artificially inexpensive, we also ought to ask if somehow other avenues of Christian ministry are being made too expensive or if they seem too expensive.

We could go in several directions here. Sandlin mentioned “people who waste time on trivialities while Western civilization burns.” But perhaps that explains the economic motivations. If putting out the fire engulfing Western civilization looks impossible, frustrating, and dangerous, this itself could encourage an inward turn.

Is there stuff “out there” that seems to demand too high a price? If so, is there anything we can do about reassessing the values and potential rewards?

I can’t help but wonder if there might be an amillennial v. Postmillennial issue here, since Postmillennials believe that the fire will indeed be quenched by the Spirit and the Gospel.

But what else is there that diverts time and resources away from other tasks and into the manufacture of accusations?

One thought on “An initial brief thought on the economics of conservative Presbyterians that may or may not warrant further consideration

  1. pentamom

    I really hesitate to go here because I don’t want to come off as criticizing in generalities or tagging pastors as “lazy” (because I don’t believe that, in general, they are) but I wonder — if the understanding of pastoral ministry was that it was so consuming that to spend a lot of time on things like this was understood to have a cost to one’s congregation in terms of reducing the pastor’s ability to do his normal job well, maybe more serious and careful consideration would be given to picking battles, instead of the tendency among some to say, “I smell error over there! I must go root it out!” If the bar of being too busy with things you’re indisputably called to was a bit higher, and the time necessary to engage in something like this was seen as a real sacrifice of one good in favor of another, maybe there would be more discretion.

    I don’t know — maybe the people who spend their time on this do see it that way. But it’s a theory, anyway.


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