If I had to summarize the recently published self-help book of Crown Financial Ministries CEO Chuck Bentley, it would be in the this: God is sovereign, national economies are in peril from prodigious debt and as the day of reckoning comes Christians are to be prepared, helpful and defenders of Truth.
I would characterize the book as coming from a mainstream evangelical Christian group, even though the subtitle emits a claxon warning of an approaching air raid that to some ears pushes it into the realm of the alarmist. The Salt Plan[;] How to Prepare for an Economic Crisis of Biblical Proportions analyzes the peril of the economy, proposes four scenarios (one of them worth considering) and examines famines in the Scriptures.
Mr. Bentley explains how Christians should prepare for times of turmoil, distress, chaos and collapse, arguing for liquidity (cash, essentially) and mobility that will allow God’s people to be gracious to those in greater distress.
“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished” is the advice of Proverbs 27:12. The 142-page book noses into a maelstrom it suggests is ahead. It makes no effort to time the disruption. Salt Plan focuses on the debt bubble and how it jeopardizes western economies. “If that addiction doesn’t cause a worldwide financial collapse, it will at least severely curtail our current affluent lifestyle —more likely sooner than later,” he says (p. 9). He predicts that the century will be marked by tectonic shifts in social and economic power that will bring “an era of massive change” (p. 10).
The text is “not a self-reliance survival guide” for you to “stock up on guns, gold and grain so that you can ‘hunker in the bunker[.]’” (p.13), Mr. Bentley says, because a Christian’s duty is to be salt and light, mindful of God’s authority to act in the affairs of men according to His providence, and to share with those who are suffering.
A key insight comes from Deuteronomy 28, where the Lord promises grants of prosperity, a “storehouse of bounty,” rain and blessings from the work of His peoples’ hands. The Israelites are expected in prosperity to lend to many nations (to subdue and tame them), but are warned not to borrow. But if they turn from God by disobeying his laws, He will overtake His people with judgments. Within the monarchy will arise an enemy class — the lender — to whom he will continue to resort for credit (and slavery).
The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you,but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. (Deut. 28:43, 44)
4 scenarios for future — only 1 seems likely
Mr. Bentley proposes four scenarios for an economic day of reckoning.
➤ One proposes global centralization under the Group of 20. But centralization is fizzling, thanks to the power of the microchip and the Internet.
➤ A second unlikely scenario is one for optimists. A “long steady period of economic growth” leads to a return to normalcy. An improving economy allows for better tax collections, and a paring down of government debt levels. John Maulden (mauldeneconomics.com) is cited as the originator of this view. But the sketchy references fail to account for the fundamental nature of the Fed and its control over the economy. We have no lawful coin and currency, but fiat paper circulating in the place of money. Inflation is the sole course, and “growth” is merely inflation misleading the economy, teasing business and economic actors into taking on more debt. When the talking heads of the system declare “growth,” you should hear “inflation” and debt repudiation.
➤ A third scenario, austerity, which Mr. Bentley calls “deleverage and division,” suggests a return to normalcy after rounds of welfare state spending cuts. But no national government today will be able to attain austerity; we are all socialists now. Budget cuts in Europe are weak, and it’s possible won’t be enough to avoid shattering the crusty artifice that is the EU financial union. U.S. budget cuts will be too small to matter.
➤ Scenario No. 4 is “bailout until collapse.” Tottering governments borrow more to delay the meltdown and pretend that federal tinkering will bring relief and stability. In this scenario, Mr. Bentley quotes a financial guru as doubting establishment claims that the U.S. will never default. The expert cites a “covert default engineered by inflation.” In other words, the Federal Reserve System throws itself in front of the bus to bail out Uncle Sam with a “quantitative easings” that let him spread inflation worldwide to extinguish his debts with cheaper dollars.
This part of the book seems incoherent despite its brevity. But the bursting bubble scenario suggests mass inflation, and allows for a default on the U.S. debt.
But more is to be be gleaned from The Salt Plan beyond its sifting of forecasts. In Part II of my brief we’ll summarize what are Mr. Bentley’s local economy suggestions from the scriptures about living through a cataclysm of “biblical proportions.” And feel free to send out a link to our site from your friends.
Chuck Bentley, The Salt Plan[;]How to Prepare for an Economic Crisis of Biblical Proportions (Crown Financial Ministries, 2011)