First United Presbyterian Church, Clinton IA

We are a traditional church Receiving Christ, Reaching Out, Sharing Love in downtown Clinton, IA. Check our website at

We are a traditional church in downtown Clinton with excellent worship & music, small groups, spiritual development possibilities, mission & outreach opportunities.

Mission: Receiving Christ, Reaching Out, Sharing Love

April 17: Buswell on Economic Liberty

This Day in Presbyterian History
Daily devotional readings in Scripture, the Westminster Standards, & Presbyterian history.

April 17: Buswell on Economic Liberty
Posted by Wayne Sparkman
Some years ago, while compiling the series of articles on presuppositionalism which appeared in THE BIBLE TODAY, I noticed the following article in the April 1949 issue which might have some contemporary interest. This particular article is a transcript of a radio message, the third in a series of five messages on the general theme “The Biblical Basis of Liberty.” These messages were delivered over the ABC Network in the spring of 1949, under the auspices of the American Council of Christian Churches.

What the Bible Teaches About Economic Liberty


THE Biblical doctrine of economic liberty begins in the book of Genesis in the Garden of Eden before any sin had entered into the good world which God had made. Moses tells us, “And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it,” Genesis 2:15. Here we have the elements of harmonious economic activity. It is in the spirit of the Scripture for us to expand the sentence in its setting, to include the tilling of the soil and the entire range of the cultivation of natural resources, as a normal activity for man.

The next step in the economic doctrine of the Bible is found in the third chapter of Genesis after man’s fall, after sin had entered into the world, after man had corrupted the holy character which God had given him. As a part of the disciplinary punishment for sin we read that God said, “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” Genesis 3:17-19.

Reflecting upon the symbolism which Moses here gives, it appears that one of the best disciplines God has given to a sinful race is the economic necessity of earning a livelihood. We need not look far to see many illustrations of the fact that hard work, the necessity of providing food, shelter, education and development for our children, is a stabilizing, integrating factor in human life.

The economic implications of the Mosaic law are too vast to examine in detail in a brief message of this kind. Suffice it to say that the principles of thrift, industry, provision for one’s family, and care of the unfortunate are all implied, or expressly taught. Much attention has been focused upon the law of the year of jubilee. Some have falsely supposed that a sort of communistic economic principle was implied. But nothing could be further from the facts. The import of the law of the year of jubilee was to keep the agricultural lands distributed among the families of the nation. Monopoly of natural resources was prevented. Fair opportunity for all was the end in view.

The prevention of monopoly of natural resources is a constant theme in the Bible from the time of Moses through to the end of the New Testament. Isaiah says, for example, “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no room . . .” Isaiah 5:8. The clear implications of Isaiah’s teaching are in accordance with the principle of modern reform legislation keeping the natural resources of the land available for all.

The central text of the New Testament in the realm of economic doctrine is, I believe, Ephesians 4:28, in which St. Paul places before the church the Christian ideal of economic activity, namely, “Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Here we have liberty, thrift, industry, saving, private property, and care for the weak and unfortunate all clearly implied as economic principles.

Some have taken their chief text for New Testament economic doctrine from the experiment in communism recorded in the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. It is true that under the spiritual impulse of Pentecost, the Christian community in Jerusalem practiced economic communism. All who have carefully read the record have observed, however, that the community of goods was purely voluntary. The record makes it perfectly clear that there was no compulsion, and one who did not wish to contribute his property to the common fund was equally in good standing with one who did so contribute.

Beyond the immediate record, however, there are other facts in the New Testament which have not been so commonly understood. When Saul of Tarsus was converted and became the Apostle Paul, and when he began the establishment of churches throughout the great cities of the Roman world, with his keenness and wisdom, he instituted an economic principle diametrically opposed to the community of goods which the Jerusalem group had been practicing. In his earliest epistles, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, he teaches individual thrift and industry, private property and individual responsibility, and he said most emphatically “that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thess. 3:10. A moment’s reflection will show that Paul had seen the weakness of the Jerusalem practice.

When there was a famine in both Antioch and Jerusalem, Antioch, where Paul was in charge, had to feed Jerusalem where the communistic experiment had been going on. Thus the New Testament demonstrates the communistic experiment to have been a failure.

At the end of Paul’s life, we find his same doctrine of economic liberty clearly taught in his latest writings. With reference to the care of widows in particular, but with application to all dependents, Paul taught “But if any provide not: for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8)

Not only in the clear and direct teachings of the Scripture, but also in the prophetic portions, looking far on into the future and forecasting the conditions under the reign of the Messiah, the visible kingdom of God on earth, individual liberty and responsibility is the ideal. Both Isaiah and Micah, his contemporary, predict that when the Messiah of Israel rules over all the earth, and when all harmful pests and pestilences, noxious weeds and poisonous reptiles, are done away, when the “desert shall blossom as the rose” and when an “handful of corn” in the tops of the mountains shall bring forth fruit “like Lebanon,” in that day of economic peace and blessedness, “They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; [not the public vine and fig tree] and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” Micah 4:4

It is thus the ideal of the Scripture from beginning to end that economic liberty and economic responsibility shall prevail.

This does not mean that Bible believing Christians must necessarily oppose all social economic enterprise. We have no argument as to whether the government of society in general shall, or shall not, own and operate the public utilities. We do not claim Scripture sanction for detailed economic policies of State for all believers under all circumstances. What we claim is that the Bible teaches that the economic world at all times should be so organized that individual responsibility and enterprise will be free to engage in productive activities with honest hope of economic reward.

Some will say, “This theme seems remote from the gospel. It does not sound like Bible teaching.” Let me emphasize the fact that Bible teaching is practical teaching, and that there is much instruction in the Bible for the daily conduct of our lives; finally, and most important, let me point out that economic liberty taught in the Bible, economic liberty coupled with individual responsibility, is quite in harmony with, and is a necessary implication of, the gospel of God’s grace, offered freely to all mankind. Just as the “earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof,” and just as he has “given it to the children of men,” (Psalm 24:1 and 115:16), so the grace of God for salvation, for everlasting life, is free and boundless, and offered to all mankind “without money and without price.” As free as the air we breathe, as free as the rain which God sends upon us all, so free for all who will receive it is God’s saving grace.
Dr. Buswell’s conclusion provides us with a fitting Words to Live By:
Christ has come into the world to reveal the love of God for the race of mankind which has corrupted itself and gone the way of sin and confusion. If we obey God’s economic law, economic peace and harmony will prevail; if we accept God’s spiritual plan, we shall discover that “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13. See Joel 2:32) Some years ago, while compiling the series of articles on presuppositionalism which appeared in THE BIBLE TODAY, I noticed the following article in the April 1949 issue which might have some contem…

First United Presbyterian Church, Clinton IA

First United Presbyterian Church, Clinton IA's cover photo

[04/10/20]   Mike and I just recorded the Easter Service while each at home in different states. He will put together the video which I will have up on our church website for Easter morning. A link will be provided here. See you then!

Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Easter Past Sung by us.

The Strife is O'er

Easter 2016 sung by all of us

Joshua 1:9 reads Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged

I really like this perspective!

We are extended our closing due to Covid-19 until April 30th

According to Adam Hamilton book unafraid fear meana “Face your fears with faith.
Examine your assumptions in light of the facts.

Attack your anxieties with action.

Release your cares to God.” (p. 27)

Session voted today to suspend worship, meetings, small groups, and office hours "until further notice." They will continue to monitor the situation and update as needed. In the mean time worship and news are being shared by other means and prayers continue.

[03/25/20]   One of our parishoners just shared with me that she was reminded to read Psalm 91. I think we would all benefit. Here it is from the New Living Translation.

Psalm 91
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Just a quick video from Tech and Buildings and grounds.

Book Study - Unafraid

In these restricted times, we are learning how to be church in new ways. We are checking on each other by phone or text, doing business by email, mailing the message and news as well as posting it online. I have also begun two formats of online Bible Study. You can click on my name to find the Colossians study I am doing on Facebook. You can go to my blogsite ( to participate in a study of Adam Hamilton's book, "Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times." Anyone is welcome to participate. Let's encourage each other in the midst of what feels like chaos. God will see us through. Be sure you have read the initial post "Start Here" before beginning this study with us. Also, note that there are Opening and Closing Prayers available to use in each section. Look for that post...

In response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), First United Presbyterian Church of Clinton, IA will be suspending worship, small groups, and meetings for the next two weeks. The office will also be closed. Worship messages and news items will be emailed and posted on our website throughout this time, and mailed to those who do not use the internet. Because we have a vulnerable congregation in terms of age and health issues, we want our church family to be safe. We pray for the many whose lives are affected by this pandemic. Please be safe and stay healthy.

[03/14/20]   In response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), First United Presbyterian Church of Clinton, IA will be suspending worship, small groups, and meetings for the next two weeks. The office will also be closed. Worship messages and news items will be emailed and posted on our website throughout this time, and mailed to those who do not use the internet. Because we have a vulnerable congregation in terms of age and health issues, we want our church family to be safe. We pray for the many whose lives are affected by this pandemic. Please be safe and stay healthy.

What exactly does Jesus mean by the eye of the needle

Come hear Peter's monologue tonight @ 7pm at the First Congressional Church 700 N Bluff Blvd Clinton Iowa

First United Presbyterian Church, Clinton IA

First United Presbyterian Church, Clinton IA's cover photo

The season of Lent is a time to let go of something with the practice of fasting and to draw closer to Christ through spiritual disciplines.

You may wish to fast from solid foods certain hours one or two days a week (ie. liquids only until noon or until 3 pm). Or you may wish to fast from certain foods for the 40 days (ie. chocolate or coffee or red meat) But another way to fast is to refrain from other things (ie. no TV certain days, a break from the internet, not eating out, walking rather than driving one day a week, putting your phone away certain hours, purging your closet to give away what you don’t need). What would it be healthy yet a sacrifice for you to give up or limit this season?

As a spiritual discipline, may I suggest joining us at the midweek services? Participating in these is my chosen discipline this Lent. Other options might include joining a Bible study, coming to the Adult Class, making a special offering, dedicating a lily, performing acts of kindness, giving time to a local charity, prayer practices, reading a devotional book or an inspirational study book. What will you do this Lenten Season to grow your faith?

We are invited to worship with First Congregational Church (on the hill at 700 N Bluff Blvd) on Wednesday evenings during Lent. The resource for the Mid-Week Services is "The Voices of Lent" by Jeri Thumate, through Christian Publishers. This is the brief summary offered by the publisher: "The beautiful simplicity of biblical monologues is combined with a wreath of thorns bearing candles which are solemnly extinguished one by one to count down to Christ's crucifixion. Several characters - Simon Peter, The Disciple; Dora, the Woman at the Well; Marah, the Woman Who Washed Jesus' Feet; Nicodemus, the Pharisee; and Judith, the Servant Girl at Caiaphas' House - share brief point-of-view reflections about their encounters with Jesus, then extinguish one candle on the wreath."

While Pastors Tammy and Kolleen lead worship in their chapel tonight Ash Wednesday and 6 pm and at 7 pm each Wednesday, March 4 to April 1, a different lay reader will present the monologue each week some readers from each participating congregation.

Have you ever been lost and not sure which way is up? Join us at First United Presbyterian Church in Clinton and see what Jesus says about the lost

[01/17/20]   Due to the incoming storm and illness of the preacher, worship is canceled on Jan. 19. Please stay in and stay healthy.

The Wednesday night Bible study has just finished reading the book written by Maxwell King
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers. Mr Rodgers was a Presbyterian pastor and a leader in shaping children's TV programs. Mr. Rogers was so much more than a TV personality or even a pastor he had so many others talents. Please make time to see this movie or if you want come to the church library and check out the book. Tom Hanks plays Mr. Rodgers this should be an amazing movie to see. Your assistant administratior Karla Trude

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Videos (show all)

Jesus Christ is Risen Today
The Strife is O'er



400 5th Ave S
Clinton, IA

General information

Worship at 9:30 am (Announcements begin at 9:20). Fellowship refreshments follow worship. Sunday School for children and adults from 11:15 - 12 noon through the school year.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:30 - 13:30
Tuesday 09:30 - 13:30
Wednesday 09:30 - 13:30
Thursday 09:30 - 13:30
Sunday 09:00 - 12:00
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