Joseph Farah and the Business of Christian Reconstructionism

Business Reform magazine is now (partly) available for free electronic perusal to “friends of WorldNetDaily“, I discovered after clicking on a WND link. WND and Business Reform have been working together for some time, as Terry Krepel at ConWebWatch noted last year:

WorldNetDaily has been in a bit of an expansion mode lately. One new initiative is a page dedicated to business news, unsurprisingly called BizNetDaily. It follows the WND formula of aggregated (outside link) business stories combined with original commentary.

The twist here is WND’s partner in creating this page. It’s a magazine called Business Reform, and WND CEO Joseph Farah describes the folks behind it as “people who share our unique perspective on the news and our view of the world.”

So, what is Business Reform? It describes itself as “a Christian ministry approaching today’s business issues from a Christian worldview and assisting Christian businesspeople through publications, audio resources, conferences and seminars, networking, and consulting.” A blurb on the magazine’s Web site describes it as “may well be the most important unifying literary voice now emerging in God’s obvious global call to those in the marketplace.”

Krepel then refers a (since-moved to here) puff piece for Pat Robertson as an example of why Business Reform is not much good.

Business Reform was founded by Joe Johnson, an Ohio-based businessman who suffered bankruptcy before he discovered Biblical business financing principles. He is also a full-on Christian Reconstructionist, drawing inspiration from Cornelius Van Til and Rousas Rushdoony. In the first issue of the magazine (in 2001), Johnson notes that just as the apostle Paul interpreted God’s Law to show that women should be silent in church and submissive to their husbands, so Christians today need to interpret the Scriptures in order to apply Biblical Law to modern business:

everything that pertains to life and godliness can be found through the knowledge of Him, which is found in the Bible (John 17:17). Therefore, the Word of God must teach us how to structure our balance sheet, what kind of business model to use, what our employee policies should say, how to market our products and services, or how to solve specific management problems.

Johnson’s great hero is John McDonogh, a slaveholder from New Orleans:

The secret strategy of the successful, nineteenth-century slaveholder mentioned earlier was the covenant he made with his slaves that gave them the opportunity to buy their freedom and become self-governed, free men. The covenant required the slaves to work more productively in order to earn the money to buy their freedom and their own land to work in their off time. Eventually, John McDonogh, the Scottish Presbyterian slaveholder from New Orleans, became one of the richest men in America.

In the same way, such motivationalism from bosses is a far fairer way to run a business than “un-American” rules such as anti-discrimination laws. Johnson also promotes Trinitarian business management, as illustrated here:


However, business is not the only topic covered by the magazine. The latest issue features an article on Creationism by Gary North (linked by WND). As I noted when I surveyed Creationism in the USA a few weeks ago, Creationists use the democratic-populist impulse in American culture to undercut science with anti-intellectualism. North (a notorious Y2K scaremonger) provides the perfect example of this:

Darwinists are well aware of this truth: Their opinions regarding man’s origins are not shared by the vast majority of Americans. This fact bothers them, but not enough to surrender control over tax-funded education to the will of the people. It bothers them because they have lost the intellectual battle for the minds of men, despite their century-long monopoly over public education. The public still isn’t buying the Darwinists’ tuition-subsidized product.

…To the extent that the American academic Establishment is Darwinian, it is of necessity politically elitist. The self-certified, self-accredited professorate wants its academic work funded by taxpayers. The professors also want their worldview written into the textbooks that are paid for by taxpayers. They want no back-talk from voters. They see democracy as a matter of temporary convenience. Whenever democracy threatens to transfer the monopolistic power they possess over the allocation of money extracted by compulsion from taxpayers, they abandon all pretence of honoring democracy.

The magazine claims to have a readership of 100,000, and hopes to have 42 employees by 2006.