Sunday, July 3, 2011

Christianity and the Free Society Don't Mix?

What does Christianity have to do with a free society? Some say the answer is obvious: nothing. They may reason that the benefits of a free society are so apparent that any rational being would adopt such a society without the need to appeal to any sort of divine being. Others argue that Christianity is diametrically opposed to liberty.

While it is true that many non-believers embrace and promote the free society and many libertarians despise Christ. It does not follow, however, that Christianity and liberty have nothing to do with one another. I was asked to lecture on Christianity and Liberty by Grove City College's Student for Liberty. You can read a copy of my lecture by clicking here. It is a combination of a similar address I gave on campus about ten years ago and material from my recent article published in The Areopagus Journal on a Scriptural view of private property.

My thesis is as follows:
What I argue is not that liberty is a nice idea or is a notion that may be compatible with Christianity. Instead, a close study of God’s Word reveals that social institutions that promote liberty are positively mandated. However, a caveat is here necessary. I do not claim that liberty is man’s highest or chief end. We know that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. No, liberty is not our highest end, but, with Lord Acton, I would agree that liberty is our highest political end. This is so for at least two important reasons: 1) Liberty is also necessary for us to fulfill our mandate to have dominion over creation; and 2) Explicit commands in Scripture point us toward institutions that cultivate liberty.

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