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The Gold Standard

The gold standard meant honest weights and honest measures. Paper money is an ever-inflating and changing measure: it gives less and less security to people who save.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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(Reprinted from Bread upon the Waters: Columns from the California Farmer [Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, 1974], 81–82.)
CA Farmer 229:5 (Sept. 7, 1968), p. 24.

When God listed the charges against Judah that required judgment, one of the indictments read, “Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water” (Isa. 1:22). Fraud governed winemaking: the wine was mixed with water. Fraud also governed their money: the silver had given way to baser metals, to slugs.

Repeatedly, the Biblical law calls for just weights and just measures (Lev. 19:36; Deut. 25:15), and this refers not only to scales and bushels, but also to money. The shekel was not only a measure of weight but also of money, so a shekel of gold or silver meant a certain weight of gold or silver. The American monetary standard was built on the Biblical method, by weight. The major coin was the $20 gold piece, called the double eagle: its weight is an ounce of .900 fine gold. The $10 gold piece is half an ounce, and so on down. People in Asia, Europe, and Africa did not know what a dollar, pound, franc, or mark meant, but they all knew weights, and a dependable weight of 22 carat gold was to be trusted: it was real and honest money. American gold was thus very popular, as was American silver.

A $20 gold piece used to cost the Treasury almost $20 in gold, plus labor. The paper money of today, Federal Reserve notes and U.S. banknotes cost perhaps a dollar to print $100,000 worth. Is it any wonder modern governments get bigger and bigger since they discovered “instant money,” paper money? They can create their own money by borrowing or by printing and be the richest buyer in the market and the biggest employer.

The gold standard meant honest weights and honest measures. Paper money is an ever-inflating and changing measure: it gives less and less security to people who save. It is a form of legalized robbery by which a central government can have instant wealth and progressively crowd out the people and destroy their wealth. Paper money is a rubber yardstick.

But our world today is full of rubber yardsticks, false standards, because the first and foremost measure or rule, the Bible, has been replaced by man’s word, a rubber yardstick. Men preach today, not the Word of God, but man’s word—their own political beliefs and opinions, self-help psychology, pleasing and entertaining sermons, anything and everything but the Word of God. Religiously, we are off the gold standard; our silver has become dross; we are on slugs.

We should not be surprised, therefore, at the consequences. Every man is his own law, and the result is lawlessness, increasing anarchy and corruption. We need a return to the true measure of all things, God’s Word. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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