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Posts Tagged ‘Scripturalism’

Financial Crisis

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.”

    – Luke 21:20-21

Last week we looked at the third of three case studies in prepping from the Old Testament, Joseph, Prime Minister of Egypt. The other two case studies were the accounts of Noah and the end of the world as he knew it and Lot’s narrow escape from Sodom. This week, I’d like to turn our attention to the New Testament and in particular to the teaching of Jesus himself that relate to the subject of prepping.

But before turning to Jesus’ teachings on prepping, it’s worth taking a little time to review the events in the financial markets last week. The general title for this series The Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008, because it is the contention of this author that the crisis which manifested itself that year, sometimes referred to as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), has never gone away. Rather, the symptoms only were treated by massive money printing by the world’s leading central banks and other financial fakery, a great deal of which probably is still kept under wraps by the powers that shouldn’t be.

The first event from last week I’d like to look at was the New York Fed’s (The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most prominent of the Fed’s regional banks) bailing out the overnight Repo market to the tune of $53 billion late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning, September 17th and 18th. Now you may be asking, “So just what is the overnight Repo and why should I even care?” Good questions.

Investopedia defines a Repurchase Agreement (Repo) as, “a form of short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities. In the case of a repo, a dealer sells government securities to investors, usually on an overnight basis, and buys them back the following day…Repos are typically used to raise short-term capital…Classified as a money-market instrument, a repurchase agreement functions in effect as a short-term, collateral-backed, interest-bearing loan. The buyer acts as a short-term lender, while the seller acts as a short-term borrower. The securities being sold are the collateral.”

For most of us, the repo market is a fairly obscure corner of the financial system, something that runs in the background. But what happened overnight while most of us slept was a sudden spike in the repo interest rate, which the week before had been 2.29%, but shot up to 10% before the Fed stepped in. As CNN reported, this was the first time the fed had to bail out the overnight repo market since late 2008, which just happened to be the height of the financial crisis.

The Fed conducted further bailouts on Wednesday night and Thursday night.

Finally, on Friday the Fed announced that it would conduct daily repurchasing operations through October 10.

One big takeaway from operation repo is that market forces want to take interest rates higher, which is exactly the opposite of what the Fed wants to have happen.

Which brings me to the second event of note in the financial markets last week, the Fed’s announcement that it was lowing interest rates by 0.25%. This is the second such announcement in the past two months, the previous one coming at the end of July.

Many mainstream commentators are confused by the Fed’s decision to lower interest rates. The reason is that lowing interest rates is something central banks do when the economy is struggling, but the official line is that the American economy is doing great and has never been better. Why is this?

Think of interest rates as the price of money. If the economy is doing well, this means businesses are borrowing to expand their facilities to keep up with demand, consumers and taking out car and home loans. And what happens when demand for a thing increases? All other things equal, the price goes up. With respect to demand for loans, this means that interest rates go up.

The opposite is the case when the economy is doing poorly. There is little demand from businesses to expand, so there is little demand for business loans. Consumers don’t have the income to support car an home loans, so they too are unable to take on debt to fund these purchases. When demand for money decreases, its price, that is to say the interest rate, tends to drop.

This is where the confusion comes in. Donald Trump is out there telling the whole world that the American economy is doing great, while at the same time forcefully arguing for lower interest rates. The Fed’s decision to lower rates strongly suggests that the economy is not doing as well as the Trump administration would like you to believe. Taken together with the Fed’s needing to bail out the repo market, lower interest rates are another data point suggesting an oncoming recession.

A third item of note from last week was the return of talk about a not too far off return to Quantitative Easing (QE) from none other than Fed Chairman Jay Powell. In plain English, QE is simply massive money printing (aka counterfeiting) by central banks to buy assets no one else wants to keep interest rates under control. First employed during as an emergency during the 2008 crisis, QE is now being seriously discussed in public. Question: If the economy really is as great as the powers that shouldn’t be want us to believe, why is the Fed talking about bringing back QE?

In the opinion of this writer, the three items mentioned above – the Fed’s bailout of the repo market, it’s decision to lower interest rates, and talk about QE – strongly suggest the Fed is worried about major problems in the financial system, perhaps even a financial crisis, just around the corner and strongly suggest what the Fed will do to combat those problems: print money.

So, what are Christians to make of all this? The most logical conclusion is that we are, in fact, facing a major financial storm and we need to rig for heavy weather. That is to say, we need to get prepared and to stay prepared. All which brings us back to where we started, the teachings of Christ on the subject of prepping.

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Financial Crisis

There were at least a three noteworthy events in the financial markets this past week. In the first place there was outgoing European Central Bank (ECB) head Mario Draghi’s announcement of what some are calling QE Infinity (Infinite Quantitative Easing). According to Draghi, the ECB will begin asset purchases at the rate of €20 billon per month for as long as it deems necessary, “to reinforce th accommodative impact of its polity rates.”

Translating all this central bank talk into plain English, Draghi has committed the ECB to counterfeit an absurd about of money on a monthly basis just to make sure the European economy doesn’t collapse. Further, there is no definite stopping point to this program. Draghi’s policy is both sinful and incompetent. It is sinful, because it violates the Bible’s clear teaching that differing weights and measures are an abomination to the Lord It is incompetent, because it fails not only to address the real reasons for the economic problems in the nations that use the Euro currency, but actually makes them worse.


Second was Donald Trump’s calling for the Federal Reserve to lower “interest rates down to ZERO , or less.” This is a remarkable statement by the President, and has left many asking why he made it. The short story is this, the American economy is not as good as what Trump and others have tried to convey and the President is concerned that, if the Fed doesn’t cut interest rates, the stock market will tank and the economy will fall into recession. Neither of these things would be good for his reelection chances.

Of course, neither a Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) nor a Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP) would be good for the country, especially for those who rely on interest income from their savings, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the President.

A third noteworthy item of financial news from last week was the sudden spike in the 10-year US Treasury interest rate. The 10-year US Treasury is considered the benchmark interest rate for the entire bond market. More than that, the 10-year Treasury is the benchmark which goes a long way to determining the price of stocks as well.

When interest rates move sharply upward, this means that the price paid for bonds has gone sharply down. Bond interest rates and bond prices move in opposite directions, much as the ends of a teeter-totter do. If yields are going up, this means that there is a selloff in the bond market.

So bonds are selling off, what does this mean? Peter Schiff and Gregory Mannarino have warned that this could portend a larger bond selloff as holders of US Treasuries become nervous about the financial condition of the US. Mannarino is of the opinion that China may be the major actor here.

Another interpretation is that the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) – the ESF is part of the US Treasury Department – is manipulating the 10-year interest rate to make sure that the yield on the 10-year Treasury stays well above the yield on the 2-year Treasury, thus preventing an inverted yield curve, which is a strong recession indicator.

These moves in the bond market are important, yet most people don’t follow the bond market nearly as much as the stock market. But it’s the bond market that controls what goes on in the stock market, not the other way around. If we ever do get an uncontrolled selloff in the bond market – this would mean sharply higher interest rates, remember when bond prices go down, interest rates go up – you would see a simultaneous crash in all markets that derive their value from debt: stocks, and housing in particular.

Put another way, if the bond market tanks, the whole economy tanks.

One thing all three bits of news above have in common is that they are all related to what I’ve called the Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008. My contention is that, due to the interventions of governments and central banks, the debt problem that triggered the 2008 global financial crisis not only was not solved, but actually made worse. Calls for QE Infinity, ZIRP, and NIRP together shaky bond markets are all symptoms of this.

In light of the fact that the serious problems with the West’s financial system have never been addresses, and given the foolishness of Western leaders, never will be voluntarily addressed, it seems wise to this author for Christians to take steps to protect themselves from a breakdown in the financial system now.

It is this need to get prepared and stay prepared, together with a conviction that very little has been written for Christians by Christians on this subject, that have prompted me to write this series in the first place.

As part of this series on the financial crisis and on getting prepared for it, I have been examining what the Bible has to say about prepping. As a Scripturalist – a Scripturalist is defined as one who believes that all knowledge is either expressly set forth, or can be derived by good and necessary inference, from the 66 books of the Bible – it is critical to ground all prepping the Word of God.

One question to ask is this, Does the Bible support prepping? The clear answer is, yes it does. This can been seen in the numerous, clear examples in the Scriptures of those took steps to prevent suffering and death, both their own and that of others, by taking preventive measures in the face of oncoming catastrophe. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself,” says Proverbs, “but the simple pass on and are punished.”

A second question to ask is, What should Christians do to get prepared? I contend that Christians must answer this question in the same as the first, by looking to the Scriptures. As part of this series, we’ve already looked at two examples, that of Noah and that of Lot. Today, I’d like to turn the reader’s attention to another obvious example from Genesis, the case of Joseph, Prime Minister of Egypt.

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John Robbins“Many people in relatively orthodox churches are confused about sanctification,” wrote John Robbins in the forward to Gordon Clark’s book Sanctification.

And not only is there a great deal of confusion about sanctification, but the errors people make on this doctrine place them in two broad categories: mystics and workers.

Mystics, as Robbins points out, are those who say of sanctification, “Let go and let God.” They tend to be Charismatics. On the other hand, the workers think that justification is by grace but sanctification is by works. Such persons tend to be Reformed.

Neither of these approaches to sanctification is Biblical.

Before talking about what sanctification is, Robbins notes that salvation, “from start to finish, from election to glorification, from eternity to eternity, is all of grace.”

Robbins notes that justification – God’s declaring us legally righteous and pardoning all our sins – is by grace alone, through faith alone apart from any works. Further, justification is wholly outside us. It is a work that God has done for us by imputing – to impute means to ascribe or to reckon – Christ’s perfect righteousness to us. Justification is not a work done in us.

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Foreign Policy_Syria2

Before and after in Aleppo.

The great law of morality ought to have a national as well as a personal and individual application. We should act toward other nations as we wish them to act toward us.

– Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States , 1850 State of the Union Address

Back during the 2012 Presidential campaign, I wrote a post critical of an article by Uri Friedman, who showed his utter disdain for candidate Ron Paul by accusing him of invoking the Millard Fillmore doctrine, which as the quote above indicates, is the application of the Golden Rule to foreign policy. Fillmore, notes Friedman, was “undistinguished” and “uninspiring” and self-evidently not worthy of emulation in any respect. Friedman goes on to write that Paul was both booed an laughed at when he presented his version of the “Golden Rule” approach to foreign policy on the campaign trail.

It is absurd to think that the Golden Rule has anything whatsoever to do with foreign policy, so opines Friedman. And not only is it wrong to suggest that it does, but it’s actually laughable. This we know because Millard Fillmore believed the Golden Rule was the standard for a proper policy and it’s just obvious that Millard Fillmore was a dunce, a boob and a fool. What is more, so are all those, such as Ron Paul, who follow him. That’s the sum of Friedman’s argument, who, as one writing in Foreign Policy, the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations, could be said to be echoing the views of the American foreign policy establishment.

Perhaps if the accomplishments of America’s foreign policy establishment – dating back to the Spanish American War at the end of the 19th century, America’s leaders have rejected the nation’s original foreign policy of staying out of foreign wars in favor of a policy of interventionism – were more impressive, it would make sense to give ear to Friedman’s snarky dismissal of Fillmore and Paul. But after more than a century of foreign wars that seem only to set the stage for the next conflict, perhaps it’s worth asking just how much the sages at the Council on Foreign Relations actually know about foreign policy. It seems the this author that the answer is, not very much at all.

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John Robbins

John W. Robbins

The following sermon was preached by John Robbins at Reformation Chapel in Unicoi Tennessee. Please click here to read part two.  The transcription is my own.

-Steve Matthews

And now Luke moves on in his narrative to the resurrection. Then he begins by saying it happened on the first day of the week. And there’s a Jewish idiom here, it’s the first of the Sabbaths. And it’s a phrase that appears in the Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:1, it’s called the first day of the Sabbaths or the first of the Sabbaths. From now on this will be the important day. This is what John calls the Lord’s Day. This is why we meet on Sunday and not on Saturday, because this has taken on the characteristics of the most important day of the week. This is the day that Jesus rises from the dead.

“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning,” Luke says, “they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb brining the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.” Christ had dies on the sixth day of the week, on Friday, he was in paradise that day and the entire next day, and then early in the morning on the first day of the week he rises from the dead.

Luke says these women, and they’re named in the previous chapter, they go very early in the morning. John says in John 20 verse 1 that they leave when it is still dark, yet dark. And some people have, again, tried to make contradictions in the Bible by saying the various evangelists say well it was at dawn, and John says it was while it was still dark, and another Gospel says it was when the sun was rising. Well, these women had to travel. And they left when it was still dark and when they got there the sun had risen. And it’s very easy. If people would just think about what’s going on in these narratives, all these so-called contradictions and problems would disappear. The women can’t transport themselves like they do on Star Trek from one place to another instantaneously. It takes a while for them to travel, to get together, to pack up their spices and to arrive at the tomb. And so you would expect a variation between the time they leave to the time they arrive there. Which is what the four narratives say.

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Apostle Paul_Citizenship

The Apostle Paul declares his Roman citizenship, anon. 2008.

Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”

He said, “Yes.”

The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.”

And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen” (Acts 22:27-28).

Hamartano is a Greek verb, which is rendered in English translations of the New Testament as “sin.” But in classical Greek usage it more commonly meant “miss the mark.”

For example, one classical Greek writer gave an account of a hunting party that went out to slay a wild boar. Among the hunters were the king’s son and a rather ambitious courtier. The hunters finally cornered the boar, and the courtier, apparently eager to get credit for the kill, threw his spear and missed, instead striking the king’s son and killing him.

That, as they say, was a bad career move.

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