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Missionary for Free Markets

Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.


(Author’s note: This essay is a slightly revised version of an article that appeared in the October 2007 issue of FEE’s magazine, the Freeman.)

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” 
—William Arthur Ward

After a long and productive life, a man of great faith passes on and is welcomed into heaven. He is greeted with an invitation. “What would you most like to do?” he is asked.

“I always enjoyed giving speeches about what it was like to live through the Johnstown Flood,” he responds. “I’d love to tell everyone up here all about it.”

“That’s fine,” the man is advised. “But remember that Noah will be in the audience.”

With that story, Rev. James Seeley of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Grove City, Pennsylvania, began his remarks at services on June 26, 2007, for one of the most colorful and revered economists in the free-market firmament, Hans F. Sennholz.

Well-known to readers of this magazine as one of its more prolific authors for 50 years and a former president of the Foundation for Economic Education for five years, Dr. Sennholz had departed this world three days before.

Dr. Sennholz, Rev. Seeley explained, was one of the first members of his new congregation that he came to know when he began pastoring at Holy Trinity nearly two decades earlier. During one of his first sermons, the young minister dared venture into economic matters, though for only a few moments. Afterward, a distinguished-looking gentleman with a thick German accent admonished him: “Young man, the next time you talk about economics,…

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