Friday, January 15

Libertarian Christians

The Two American Conservatisms
Libertarian Christians

The Two American Conservatisms

by Austin Rogers “We cannot allow our country to be deprived of the Judeo-Christian values that make it so great.” That is the statement printed on the front of the envelope of a mailer I received recently. It came from an organization called Pray In Jesus’ Name Ministries, and it fits perfectly with the trend of cultural identity increasingly shaping American Christians’ politics I’ve written about previously. “Dear Christian Patriot,” the enclosed letter begins. In the middle of the page, in big, bold letters, is written, “In God We Trust.” I know you’re not afraid to say that out loud.Neither is my good friend, Dr. Ben Carson [to whom the opening quotation is attributed]. After all, you and I both know that God has blessed this nation and blesses those who trust in Him...
On Injustice (Answering Doug Wilson, Part 2)
Libertarian Christians

On Injustice (Answering Doug Wilson, Part 2)

by Dr. Norman Horn I am very pleased to post this week a series of articles authored by our good friends Joseph Knowles, Terry Gant, and Jeff Wright in response to theologian Doug Wilson’s recent article against libertarianism. While I had intended to write something myself, these three gentlemen have gone above and beyond the call of duty and written a tremendous detailed rebuttal. It’s so large, in fact, that I felt it needed to be posted over multiple days to be absorbed more completely. So, here is Part 2… (If you haven’t yet, start by reading Part 1.) What about responding to injustice in the world? For purposes of answering this question, we assume that Wilson means whether one may use violence to right such an injustice. The short answer is “n...
Can Pro-life Christians Vote for a Pro-choice Candidate?
Libertarian Christians

Can Pro-life Christians Vote for a Pro-choice Candidate?

by Kerry Baldwin Can pro-life Christians vote in good faith for a pro-choice candidate? Richard Mouw of Fuller Theological Seminary, along with other prominent evangelicals seem to think so since, in their view, socialist policies are (allegedly) pro-human. They raise similar concerns I raised in How the Pro-life Movement is Aborting a Pro-life Era. I’ve argued the conservative movement has lost its way. They’re divided through infighting, over-spiritualizing the issue, and fail to understand the economic aspect, among other things. In my view, libertarianism is more advantageous in ending the practice of abortion. But some conservatives believe it’s a Christian’s duty to only vote for candidates whose stated belief is that abortion is mu...
On Individualism (Answering Doug Wilson, Part 1)
Libertarian Christians

On Individualism (Answering Doug Wilson, Part 1)

by Dr. Norman Horn I am very pleased to post this week a series of articles authored by our good friends Joseph Knowles, Terry Gant, and Jeff Wright in response to theologian Doug Wilson’s recent article against libertarianism. While I had intended to write something myself, these three gentlemen have gone above and beyond the call of duty and written a tremendous detailed rebuttal. It’s so large, in fact, that I felt it needed to be posted over multiple days to be absorbed more completely. So, here is Part 1… Laying some groundwork Many discussions benefit from a bit of preliminary groundwork, and we find that this topic is no exception to that general rule. Failure to define terms often leads to a good deal of talking past one another rather than getting down to the r...
God’s Kingdom and the World’s Kingdoms are Separate
Libertarian Christians

God’s Kingdom and the World’s Kingdoms are Separate

by Dr. Norman Horn This article continues a series of weekly posts originally authored by David Lipscomb, an important figure in the Churches of Christ in the 1800s. Learn more about Lipscomb’s background here and here, and see other references to him on LCI here. The series is titled “The Church of Christ and World-Powers”, and it was also originally published as a series of 18 articles in The Gospel Advocate in 1866. (To read from the beginning of the series, start here.) This seventh entry of the series is the longest thus far (so stick with me!), and in it Lipscomb continues his argument that the Kingdom of God and the state (human governments) are markedly different. He brings forward more evidence from the gospels that Jesus considers hi...
Can a Christian Join the Military?
Libertarian Christians

Can a Christian Join the Military?

by Steve Wilder This guest post is by Steve Wilder. Steve is an electrical engineer and homeschooling father of four. There are three views Christians hold about war: (1) Some believe Jesus taught us to reject violence and enmity in all forms, so engaging in war is unacceptable. (2) Some accept the Just War Theory as doctrine, not just a theory, and believe fighting in wars are morally acceptable as long as the tenets of the theory are fulfilled. (3) Some believe “it is wrong to kill except in war”. The first view is considered acceptable by the heads of all Christian churches. The second view is considered acceptable, but is often questioned by church leaders. The third is universally considered unacceptable. This article assumes one believes that Just War Theory is a ...
Biblical Origins of Human Government
Libertarian Christians

Biblical Origins of Human Government

by Dr. Norman Horn This article continues a series of weekly posts originally authored by David Lipscomb, an important figure in the Churches of Christ in the 1800s. Learn more about Lipscomb’s background here and here, and see other references to him on LCI here. The series is titled “The Church of Christ and World-Powers”, and it was also originally published as a series of 18 articles in The Gospel Advocate in 1866. (To read from the beginning of the series, start here.) Lipscomb continues here building a biblical case against “human governments”, which we at LCI would term “the state.” Many of my own observations about the origin of the state are inspired by Lipscomb’s explanation of Babel and Babylon. Lipscomb makes a particularly interes...
Jesus’ Temptations and World-Powers
Libertarian Christians

Jesus’ Temptations and World-Powers

by Dr. Norman Horn This article continues a series of weekly posts originally authored by David Lipscomb, an important figure in the Churches of Christ in the 1800s. Learn more about Lipscomb’s background here and here, and see other references to him on LCI here. The series is titled “The Church of Christ and World-Powers”, and it was also originally published as a series of 18 articles in The Gospel Advocate in 1866. (To read from the beginning of the series, start here.) In this entry, Lipscomb turns to the temptations of Jesus as recorded in Matthew and Luke to reiterate that the “kingdoms of this world” belong to Satan. The crucial argument here, often unappreciated by most Christians, is that though Satan may be the “father of lies” the ...
The Misunderstood Milton Friedman: Profit Maximization Or Shareholder Preference?
Libertarian Christians

The Misunderstood Milton Friedman: Profit Maximization Or Shareholder Preference?

by Austin Rogers “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” —Matthew 20:15 Do businesses exist to serve shareholders? Or do they exist to serve the interests of all stakeholders, including communities and the environment? Milton Friedman’s doctrine of shareholder primacy has been much maligned, mischaracterized, and misunderstood over the past several decades. Unfortunately, Friedman himself may be partially to blame for this because of his emphasis on profit-seeking rather than fulfilling the desires and goals of shareholders. In his seminal New York Times essay, Friedman argues that “the social responsibility of business is to increase profits.” For decades, this way of thinking swayed many economists and capital owners alike into believing t...
National Debt And The Cost of Low Integrity
Libertarian Christians

National Debt And The Cost of Low Integrity

by Austin Rogers “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” — Matthew 7:5 I grew up going to numerous youth group events, Christian summer camps, weekly chapels at my Christian high school, and of course church services once a week (or more). A common theme of so many evangelical speakers in my youth was the importance of integrity. It is the concept that you do what you do and behave the way you behave because it is who you are. It is your character. It is how you would act whether your peers see you or not. “Behind closed doors” was a phrase I heard often. If you act differently behind closed doors, when your Christian peers (or family, pastor, etc.) can’t see you, you lack in...