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What is the place of “organization” in the church? To what degree does the church need to be “organized”? At bottom, that was the question addressed by the famed Lutheran legal scholar and church historian Rudolph Sohm (1841–1917). His conclusion was radical: organization was anathema to the church as a spiritual body, and was only tolerable as a concession to the necessities of temporal life.
While this conclusion sounds radical, it is actually, in practical terms, the baseline position of the denominational framework as we experience it in our day. Denominationalism treats outward organization as a matter of indifference, so that any number of options are available, all of them equally legitimate. The rationale behind this indifference lies in the notion that each individual Christian is the source of authority in the church, the framework of which depends upon consent and choice. It is not a question of what God says about it, but what man says. For to think otherwise is to impose upon our wills, our choice, and that is not something moderns can tolerate.
Sohm and the moderns meet at the point of departure: the church in terms of outward, external order is the product of man’s decision, not God’s command. The two authors included in this book beg to differ. Adolph Harnack (1851–1930), distinguished church historian, argued that the church developed an organizational structure early on, and it did so in obedience to its Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Organization and law are indeed spiritual values, not just earthly constructs. Josef Bohatec (1876–1954) similarly argued that John Calvin’s opposition to Lutheran indifference in matters of organization and law was a matter of obedience to the Word of God. Their positions are presented here, in their own words.
The issue is anything but academic. A proper doctrine of the visible church is the prerequisite for a recovery of Christian culture and politics, indeed for the extension of Christ’s kingdom on earth. Indifference in this is in fact supremely dangerous, because it betrays Christ’s lordship. The arguments presented, taken together, lead to the inescapable conclusion that Sohm’s concept of the church and of law are crippling to a proper ecclesiology. They provide aid and comfort to the notion that the visible, organized church is the problem, when in fact it is the solution.
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Publication date: October 31st, 2019
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Our translation of Joseph Schumpeter’s Treatise on Money has been made the centerpiece of “Joseph Schumpeter‘s Credit View of Money: A Contribution to a “Monetary Analysis” of Capitalism” by Odile Lakomski-Laguerre, published in the September 2016 issue of the History of Political Economy.
Here is the abstract:
The purpose of this article is to bring to light a central—although neglected—aspect of Joseph Schumpeter’s thought, namely, his theory of money. Regarding the important contribution he made to a “monetary analysis” of capitalism, we show how Schumpeter pertains to a long tradition of alternative views of economic theory that were based on the key role of money, banking, and credit. We particularly stress the very consistency of his monetary thought, mostly focusing on the links between money and credit, as Schumpeter claimed the need for a “credit theory of money.” We base our interpretation on a systematic and thorough exploitation of Schumpeter’s posthumously published book, recently translated into English under the title A Treatise on Money. This is an essential resource, in which Schumpeter replaced the orthodox view of a “real” economy by the central concept of money as a “social accounting” system. We offer some insights regarding the core ideas of Schumpeter’s book and shed light on a quite unknown aspect of his monetary theory: the key role of central banking and monetary policy. We also suggest the original proposition that, in Schumpeter’s thought, the hierarchical banking system manages and regulates economic life in the dynamic framework of an evolving capitalism.
Stephen Wolfe reviews Christian Political Action in an Age of Revolution, in Volume 81, Issue 2,
[Colin Wright] made a special effort to consistently complete the footnotes of Marcel’s text. Meticulous research forms the basis for the information he provides in this respect…. Colin Wright certainly should be praised for all the work he has done, even more so because he is neither a professional translator nor philosopher.
To this we add, where would we be without amateur scholars?
The following short review is contained in the Italian journal Moneta e Credito, vol. 67 n. 267 (2013), p. 344. It is translated from the Italian.
Having remained unpublished after the death of the author (who is said to have declined to publish it after the appearance in 1930 of Keynes’ Treatise on Money, intending to confront it on an equal footing), this important essay was published only in 1970 in the original German (and in 1990 in Italian, in the series of the Cassa di Risparmio di Torino) and is now being offered in English translation, which also includes the introduction by Fritz Karl Mann from the original German edition. The functioning of the monetary and financial system is known to be an important aspect of the Schumpeterian theory of development: this text is therefore crucial to integrate a full understanding of the theoretical construction of the great Austrian economist, as well as to provide material of considerable interest to a reconstruction of the debates on monetary theory in the thirties of the last century, a period of great interest in the history of economic thought.
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