Thursday, April 9, 2009

Christian Values in Economics: The Gold Standard

©Millie McNabb

The Bible is full of examples about money. Scripture has nearly 400 references to gold. If you’re serious about passing on your Christian values, money stewardship will play an important part. Our children observe us using money, and learn our attitudes, whether we intentionally teach them about money or not. Money is a training ground for being able to handle spiritual matters. "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

Someone sent me a clip of a Glenn Beck program where he was showing a graph of the astounding amount of money that is being printed by the government. The graph was essentially flat while the United States was on the gold standard through 1971. Then the line wiggled its way slightly higher in response to wars and emergencies until 2008, when it took a sharp upward turn that has not stopped.

Gold is recognized worldwide as having value, and the price is subject to market fluctuations, supply and demand as are other commodities. This was not always the case, as highlighted in this brief outline:
--In the early history of the United States gold was unofficially the standard money.
--In 1900 the Gold Standard Act passed and gold became the official standard of our money. You could carry paper gold certificates for convenience, but exchange them at the bank for gold.
--In 1933 the established price for gold was $20.67 per ounce.
--In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive order forbidding the private ownership of gold. Deposit boxes were sealed, and within fourteen days the owners had to turn their gold over to a federal agent. They were paid in paper dollars for the gold.
--In 1934 the Gold Reserve Act changed the price of gold to $35 per ounce. This effectively cut the value of the paper dollars people had received in 1933 in half.
--In 1946 the Britton Woods system established international trade and exchanges using gold as the standard at $35 per ounce.
--In 1971 Richard Nixon ended the standard of trading of gold at $35 per ounce. The international markets were no longer tied together by any standard of a real commodity.
--In 1975 a bill signed by Gerald Ford made it legal to again privately buy and own gold.

What is our money based on, if not gold? We, and most countries, operate on a fiat system. (No relation to the car.) This is paper that has no real value of its own; its value is based on what it can purchase. For example, the $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills are all the same size and of very similar appearance. It costs no more to print $100’s than $1’s, yet they have a much greater purchasing power.

The gold standard maintains discipline with the money; the fiat system can fluctuate wildly and is subject to the market. The spiritual parallel is God’s truth. It is absolute and maintains a standard and a discipline in our spiritual and moral lives. Other systems are relative and are always subject to the winds of change.

When we teach our children to be faithful with their money, we have taught them about the “little things.” It is a picture that teaches our children to also be faithful with God’s Word. With our faithfulness, we have taught them about “much.” “Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold.” (Psalm 119:127)

What examples have you seen between the spiritual gold standard and a spiritual fiat system?

God bless….

Millie McNabb, founder of Christian Values Legacy, offers parenting seminars that focus on passing on your Christian values. Request your free report “Considerations for Intentionally Raising Children to Become Christian Adults” today at


Margaret said...

I really appreciate the history of the gold standard. Very good.
If it were me I would go back to bartering, but that's just me.

Let_us_Think said...

Please be careful: don't know a whole lot about Glenn Beck, but I do know he endorses Goldline, an organization with a clearly one-sided purpose of selling investments in gold. And further, I've seen graphs and presentations at least similar to, if not the same as what you described, and they are very manipulative and misleading; very similar to the way that data was presented in "An Inconvenient Truth." I don't know if this is the same as what you are referencing in your post, as I've not seen it, but it sure sounds like it based on your description in the second paragraph. And, although the historical time line given is accurate as to dates and events, the conclusions are really opinion. The issue of a gold standard for our currency is far more complex than is presented here, and coming to a rational conclusion, let alone a Godly one, is not nearly so simple and straightforward as has been presented.

We, as Christians, have an incredibly high level of responsibility (especially in this climate) of being as absolutely sure as we possibly can that what we are passing on as "truth" is really truth, and not opinion, or worse yet, inflammatory rhetoric aimed primarily at selling air time. If we are going to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, we really don't have the option of forwarding information, let alone endorsing it, that we've heard in passing, informally and without vetting the source or confirming the veracity of the message. To do so amounts to hearsay.

In love, through Him who IS Truth, -LT

Anonymous said...

Let_us_Think has no profile. I do not know what #'s he/she has to refute Mr. Beck. Just because he may belong to a group that promotes one particular thing doesn't mean he made up his numbers. I am not defending him, as I don't know much about him either.

If you have a source for what you say, I would love to know about it.