September 19, 2013

If Dead Theologians Were on Money

I don't know what is wrong with me, but I spent my drive home last night thinking about who would be on which bills if we had dead theologians on currency rather than presidents. The really sad part is that I had it all figured out by the time I got homewith justifications.
The rule is that they have to be dead for at least 100 years and they have to have lived after the completion of the New Testament. Here it is:

The One Dollar Bill: Augustine
Both Protestants and Catholics agree that Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430) was the most important theologian in Church history. To honor his foundational  role, Augustine gets the $1.

The Five Dollar Bill: Calvin
John Calvin (1509-1564) gets the 5. This should be obvious.

The Ten Dollar Bill: Luther
Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) deserves an important bill. He gets the 10 in homage to his love/hate relationship with the Law. He would probably find that paradoxical and so he would be okay with it.

The Twenty Dollar Bill: Edwards
The twenty is one of the most commonly used bills, so it needed to be someone sweet. Therefore we have to go with Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). Plus, as a matter of historical fact, Jonathan Edwards' grandson Aaron Burr Jr. shot and killed Alexander Hamilton, so it would be tacky to put Edwards on the $10. Too soon.

The Fifty Dollar Bill: Wesley
I was going to put Charles Hodge (1797-1878) on the $50 to honor the fact that Hodge was the first American theologian to serve as a professor of theology for fifty years. However, I realized that I should throw a bone to the Arminians. Therefore, John Wesley (1703-1791) gets to be on the $50. This is also fitting since Arminians think that salvation is a 50/50 deal. (Boom!)

The One Hundred Dollar Bill: Lewis
We are breaking the rule for C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) because, hey, everyone loves C.S. Lewis. He gets to be on the $100. This way we can call it a C-note. Lewis technically wasn't a theologian, but neither was Benjamin Franklin a president.

The Five Hundred Dollar Bill: Aquinas
The preeminent and rotund scholastic theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) gets to be on the $500. I had him on the $100 but he got bumped so I could make that C-note joke.

The One Thousand Dollar Bill: Anselm
Anselm, Bishop of Canterbury (1033-1109) is responsible for the phrase Credo, ut intelligam which will appear on all theological currency. It is fitting that Anselm gets to be on the $1,000 because he was born around the year 1,000. Also, since the $1,000 is the largest bill that will be produced, it is "that than which no greater can be conceived." (You have to be familiar with the Proslogion to realize that is funny.)

Coins are yet to be decided, but we're going to go all patristic for these. They will all be Church Fathers, prior to Augustine. As a sneak peak, I can tell you that Athanasius will be on the Quarter. He is that important, and it is a nice homage to the Council of Nicea, convened in 325.

I thought about putting Benny Hinn on the penny since his theology isn't worth 2 cents.

Sadly, there are many other great theologians who will be left out:: Ulrich Zwingli, John Owen, Francis Turretin, Charles Spurgeon, and many others. Fortunately, we still have the possibility of issuing a two dollar bill, so keep your hopes up. There will also be a commemorative Zero Dollar Bill with the portrait of Francis of Assisi.

There you have it. And of course, these bills give new meaning to the term "religious denominations."

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  1. Please have a commemorative Kuyper Dollar Coin

  2. Karl Barth should get the $2 bill, with his dialectic theology and all.

  3. This is all kinds of amazing. I think I love you.

  4. When those coins come out there had better be a grudging-yet-with-the-pretense-of-being-magnanimous nod to some key but forgotten by history FEMALE theologian in there. (Extra points if she's not white.)

  5. No, ahem, three dollar bill?


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