Libertarian Christian, or Christian libertarian?

If you were to believe the Wikipedia entry on libertarian Christianity, you might think that there is a significant difference between those who say they are “Christian libertarians” and others who say they are “libertarian Christians.” Quoting the entry: “Libertarian Christians claim to be distinct from secular libertarians and Christian libertarians.” Now, there are indeed different ways of thinking about the synthesis of libertarianism and Christian theology, and some of them are explained in these entries. Most important of these differences is the theology of theonomic reconstructionism, which I reject for a variety of reasons. I’ll address this in a future article. But for now, I want to make a simple, but foundational point about what is important in our lives.

Stating my position up front: I do not believe there needs to be a significant distinction between Christian libertarians or libertarian Christians. Let me explain…

Christians first, libertarians second

No matter which “label” you choose, you must have the fundamental understanding that you are a Christian before all. Colossians 3:1-3 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Now, this verse does not mean that all things in this life must be purged from your whole being.  You’d have to exclude all science, commerce, living in general… ack. Clearly that’s nonsense, and impossible. It’s not a question of exclusion, but of priority and authority.

If I have mistakenly put libertarianism, or anything else for that matter, before Jesus as Lord, then I need to repent and get it straightened out.

Does the word order really matter?

So, if you’re supposed to be a Christian first and a libertarian second, shouldn’t this website be named “ChristianLibertarian.com”? Good question. Besides the fact that some company is squatting on that domain name and asking for over $2500 for it, I don’t think it really matters. In fact, I might be able to argue for the opposite order as well.

Grammatically, “Christian” in the phrase “Christian libertarian” is an adjective, so the phrase is describing what type of libertarian you are. On the other hand, saying that you are a “libertarian” Christian is describing something about who you are as a Christian. Thinking about in this way might force the question: is my Christianity going to be an adjective or a noun?

On the other hand, don’t I want it to be both? Is there really a hierarchy between adjectives and nouns?

We don’t often think about these things like this, and I believe that’s half the point. Regardless of the word order, Christ should be the Lord of our lives. The discovery of liberty, to us, results in a new understanding of how the world works. It results in an understanding that the State stands in opposition to God, and thus we cannot any longer stay silent about its evil.

In short, what is important isn’t the order of words, but the order of our lives. Call it what you will, Christian libertarian or libertarian Christian – Jesus Christ is Lord.

Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded LibertarianChristians.com and the Libertarian Christian Institute, and currently serves as its President and Editor-in-Chief. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He currently is a Postdoctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Well said. I’ve long believed that the more freedom one experiences in Christ, the less one experiences the need to coerce and compel other people. Freedom is so much more than just ‘lack of coercion by other people’ and the psychology and spirituality of being free FROM in addition to being free TO makes all the difference.

    Keep up the great posts Norman!

  • Well said. I’ve long believed that the more freedom one experiences in Christ, the less one experiences the need to coerce and compel other people. Freedom is so much more than just ‘lack of coercion by other people’ and the psychology and spirituality of being free FROM in addition to being free TO makes all the difference.

    Keep up the great posts Norman!

  • Norman

    That is an excellent point, Rod, one that should not be overlooked. I hope to address that very topic in the future! :-)

  • Christiana Horn

    Amen, Amen, and Amen!

  • Christiana Horn

    Amen, Amen, and Amen!

  • Theologically, I agree with you. Christ comes first, and I am a Christian before I am a libertarianism. The Word interprets the world, but not the other way around.

    For that reason, I take the view that while my libertarianism should not in any way modify or affect my Christianity, my Christianity should affect and modify everything about me – including my libertarianism.

    In terms of grammar, the adjective modifies the noun, rather than vice versa. For that reason I describe myself as a Christian libertarian, but not as a libertarian Christian.

  • Theologically, I agree with you. Christ comes first, and I am a Christian before I am a libertarianism. The Word interprets the world, but not the other way around.

    For that reason, I take the view that while my libertarianism should not in any way modify or affect my Christianity, my Christianity should affect and modify everything about me – including my libertarianism.

    In terms of grammar, the adjective modifies the noun, rather than vice versa. For that reason I describe myself as a Christian libertarian, but not as a libertarian Christian.

  • Well said. I am glad that you pointed out that theonomic reconstructionism is not at all automatically synonymous with the Christian libertarian.

  • Well said. I am glad that you pointed out that theonomic reconstructionism is not at all automatically synonymous with the Christian libertarian.

  • Norman

    Thanks, Nellis! I hope to talk more about that in the future…

  • MS

    Hi,

    I came across your site when I was doing a search for books about Christianity and Libertarianism.

    I’ve found some good ideas for some books to read from your post. But I also came across your post about Christian Libertarianism and Libertarian Christians.

    I’ve looked at the wikipedia article and it mentions proponents of theonomy as being Libertartian. But from what I can understand of theonomy it doesn’t sound Libertarian at all. Am I missing something here?

    Christians who want to legistlate their personal moral beliefs about private behavior sounds rather similar to environmentalists who are trying to legislate their moral beliefs. Both entail larger and more instrusive government that uses the law to coerce moral behavior.

  • MS

    Hi,

    I came across your site when I was doing a search for books about Christianity and Libertarianism.

    I’ve found some good ideas for some books to read from your post. But I also came across your post about Christian Libertarianism and Libertarian Christians.

    I’ve looked at the wikipedia article and it mentions proponents of theonomy as being Libertartian. But from what I can understand of theonomy it doesn’t sound Libertarian at all. Am I missing something here?

    Christians who want to legistlate their personal moral beliefs about private behavior sounds rather similar to environmentalists who are trying to legislate their moral beliefs. Both entail larger and more instrusive government that uses the law to coerce moral behavior.

  • Norman

    MS: thanks for your comment! I hope you’ll find some good titles in the various posts on this site to help you out. Feel free to look at the book reviews category, or the “Top 10 Books for Christian Libertarians.” You’ll find plenty of interesting things on the “Top Posts” page.

    Regarding the other half of your comment… I think those that propose enforcing theonomic reconstructionism upon others is definitely NOT libertarian in the least. However, if they are proposing voluntary adherence to that system while leaving others alone who live out different non-aggressive behavior as they choose, then that would indeed be libertarian. That’s the beauty of a truly free and voluntary society, you can choose to be a part of a particular community, such as one that agrees to theonomy, or you can choose something else.

    So I would say you are quite right in your assessment! :-)

    I hope you’ll stick around for a while and become a part of this web community, MS. Sounds like you’ll fit right in! :-D

  • For me personally, it is Christian Libertarian. I think the order is important. I believe that Christian Libertarian implies that the person is first a Christian, and a Libertarian second. I believe in that it implies ones where ones faith is first and foremost when it comes to most everything, including politics. My faith is in first and foremost, that God will give the C4L, and the Liberty Movement victory. But failing that I know that whatever transpires He is still on the throne and knows better than I do. Secondly, Libertarian implies to me that one is fighting for a set of principles that find root in Christianity, among other things, and that we are fighting for what the classical liberals of old fought for. So yes, I do believe the order is important. And I am a Christian, who believes that Freedom and all it encompasses is a gift from God.

    God above all others, Liberty and Freedom while my heart still beats.

    JDB

  • For me personally, it is Christian Libertarian. I think the order is important. I believe that Christian Libertarian implies that the person is first a Christian, and a Libertarian second. I believe in that it implies ones where ones faith is first and foremost when it comes to most everything, including politics. My faith is in first and foremost, that God will give the C4L, and the Liberty Movement victory. But failing that I know that whatever transpires He is still on the throne and knows better than I do. Secondly, Libertarian implies to me that one is fighting for a set of principles that find root in Christianity, among other things, and that we are fighting for what the classical liberals of old fought for. So yes, I do believe the order is important. And I am a Christian, who believes that Freedom and all it encompasses is a gift from God.

    God above all others, Liberty and Freedom while my heart still beats.

    JDB

  • Baz

    Nope, on a grammatic level Norm is correct. The actual subject of the sentence “I am a libertarian christian” is “I”. This is important because the sentence is defining me (I) in some way. The phrase “libertarian christian” or “christian libertarian” serves as the direct object which, in a sentence with a “to be” verb, indicates my identity (my form of being). This being the case, the second word in the phrase serves as the actual object of the subject while the first word in the phrase modifies the direct object. Therefor I am a libertarian christian and not a christian libertarian precisely beacause my christianity is my more basic identity while my libertarianism is secondary.
    The fact that the adjective modifies the noun is not to say that my libertarianism modifies my christianity in sense other than the grammatic.Rather, “libertarian” describes the kind of christian I am just as “short” or “male” would. It is the same as saying “my primary identity is as a christian. Oh and being a christian I also happen to be libertarian.”
    While I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal I do think we should be careful not to insist on bad grammar because we correctly understand that our faith is an esential while out politics are a good.”Christian libertarian” might feel better but it communicates the opposit of what you want to mean.

  • Baz

    Nope, on a grammatic level Norm is correct. The actual subject of the sentence “I am a libertarian christian” is “I”. This is important because the sentence is defining me (I) in some way. The phrase “libertarian christian” or “christian libertarian” serves as the direct object which, in a sentence with a “to be” verb, indicates my identity (my form of being). This being the case, the second word in the phrase serves as the actual object of the subject while the first word in the phrase modifies the direct object. Therefor I am a libertarian christian and not a christian libertarian precisely beacause my christianity is my more basic identity while my libertarianism is secondary.
    The fact that the adjective modifies the noun is not to say that my libertarianism modifies my christianity in sense other than the grammatic.Rather, “libertarian” describes the kind of christian I am just as “short” or “male” would. It is the same as saying “my primary identity is as a christian. Oh and being a christian I also happen to be libertarian.”
    While I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal I do think we should be careful not to insist on bad grammar because we correctly understand that our faith is an esential while out politics are a good.”Christian libertarian” might feel better but it communicates the opposit of what you want to mean.

  • indigomyth

    From what I have read of Christian Libertarianism, and theonomic reconstructionism, it seems very un-Libertarian. Theonomic Reconstructionism is a view that the state has the right to punish victimless crimes, on the basis that they are condemned in the Bible. So such things as blasphemy and idolatry are to be punished, as, of course, are homosexuality and drug use. In that respect theonomic reconstructionism is inherently authoritarian.

    This is an example of what theonomic reconstructionists want:
    http://www.reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/polytheism.htm

    It seem that Christian Libertarians are only concerned for the liberty of Christians, and fully support the repression of those that wish to live differently. Libertarian Christians, on the other hand, have a live and let attitude, I think.

  • indigomyth

    From what I have read of Christian Libertarianism, and theonomic reconstructionism, it seems very un-Libertarian. Theonomic Reconstructionism is a view that the state has the right to punish victimless crimes, on the basis that they are condemned in the Bible. So such things as blasphemy and idolatry are to be punished, as, of course, are homosexuality and drug use. In that respect theonomic reconstructionism is inherently authoritarian.

    This is an example of what theonomic reconstructionists want:
    http://www.reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/polytheism.htm

    It seem that Christian Libertarians are only concerned for the liberty of Christians, and fully support the repression of those that wish to live differently. Libertarian Christians, on the other hand, have a live and let attitude, I think.

  • Norman

    Thanks for your comment, IndigoMyth. From one point of view I think you’re absolutely right — theonomic reconstructionism has some very unlibertarian points. On the other hand, if they are willing to enforce those points only upon those who voluntarily adhere to their particular law system (in other words, people can join *and* leave voluntarily) then it could still potentially be libertarian. So long as they are not setting up a State in the Rothbardian sense (monopoly of force, not voluntary, no right of exit without property forfeiture) then I think it could still be acceptably libertarian even if I do not agree with their law structure.

  • indigomyth

    //On the other hand, if they are willing to enforce those points only upon those who voluntarily adhere to their particular law system (in other words, people can join *and* leave voluntarily) then it could still potentially be libertarian.//

    Indeed. But that is not what theonomic reconstructionism wants. Another example to illustrate:

    http://www.chalcedon.edu/ministry.php

    Of particular note

    //It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion. We must live by His Word, not our own. //

    and, on other of the site

    //Because we believe that the Bible should apply to all of life, including the state; and because we believe that the Christian state should enforce Biblical civil law; and finally, because we believe that the responsibility of Christians is to exercise dominion in the earth for God’s glory//

    Of course, they do say the law should not be enforced on an unbelieving society. Presumably if 51% of the population wishes to remove the freedom of 49&, then that is acceptable.

    Oh, and

    //A guiding principle of Chalcedon, in fact, is its devotion to maximum individual freedom under God’s law. //

    Notice “under God’s law”, one of those qualifying phrases for freedom like “true” freedom, “right” freedom, “holy” freedom.

    Theonomic Reconstructionism is inherently all embracing of all society, Christian and non-Christian alike. It therefore fails for the qualifier of libertarian.

    Like Islamist fascism, who want to impose Sharia law on all society, these Christians wish to do the same. Of course, should a Muslim wish to abide by Sharia law in their own lives, that is their right. However, the whole point of those that push Sharia law is that they want to force it on un-believers. The same with these Christians.

    It is a simple qualifier for Libertarianism that they must favour Free Speech, and they do not. They want to make illegal things like blasphemy, even upon those that are not Christian.

  • indigomyth

    //On the other hand, if they are willing to enforce those points only upon those who voluntarily adhere to their particular law system (in other words, people can join *and* leave voluntarily) then it could still potentially be libertarian.//

    Indeed. But that is not what theonomic reconstructionism wants. Another example to illustrate:

    http://www.chalcedon.edu/ministry.php

    Of particular note

    //It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion. We must live by His Word, not our own. //

    and, on other of the site

    //Because we believe that the Bible should apply to all of life, including the state; and because we believe that the Christian state should enforce Biblical civil law; and finally, because we believe that the responsibility of Christians is to exercise dominion in the earth for God’s glory//

    Of course, they do say the law should not be enforced on an unbelieving society. Presumably if 51% of the population wishes to remove the freedom of 49&, then that is acceptable.

    Oh, and

    //A guiding principle of Chalcedon, in fact, is its devotion to maximum individual freedom under God’s law. //

    Notice “under God’s law”, one of those qualifying phrases for freedom like “true” freedom, “right” freedom, “holy” freedom.

    Theonomic Reconstructionism is inherently all embracing of all society, Christian and non-Christian alike. It therefore fails for the qualifier of libertarian.

    Like Islamist fascism, who want to impose Sharia law on all society, these Christians wish to do the same. Of course, should a Muslim wish to abide by Sharia law in their own lives, that is their right. However, the whole point of those that push Sharia law is that they want to force it on un-believers. The same with these Christians.

    It is a simple qualifier for Libertarianism that they must favour Free Speech, and they do not. They want to make illegal things like blasphemy, even upon those that are not Christian.

  • Sage

    right, so basically its the old argument between Roger Williams and Cotton Mather, nothing new…besides Williams won the argument. Go read The Bloody Tenet of Persecution by Roger Williams.

  • Sage

    right, so basically its the old argument between Roger Williams and Cotton Mather, nothing new…besides Williams won the argument. Go read The Bloody Tenet of Persecution by Roger Williams.

  • Sage

    The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience

  • Sage

    The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience

  • Sage

    well sorry, but since i cant delete I have to correct myself with several friggin messages. it was John Cotton not Cotton Mather, but one cotton is as good as the next!

  • Sage

    well sorry, but since i cant delete I have to correct myself with several friggin messages. it was John Cotton not Cotton Mather, but one cotton is as good as the next!

  • These are merely labels. So one might think: What’s in a name? Given that the Bible gives great weight to names, it’s probably not prudent to be flip about which one chooses. Combining Norman’s good argument from Scripture with Baz’s good argument from grammar, C.l. is clearly better than l.C. Even so, generosity in mind and spirit would hardly allow us to offscour someone who prefers C.l., or even to presume much about their theology or political inclinations.

    After reading the two wiki pages, it appears that the l.C. page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Christianity) is not merely making an issue out of mere labels. It also appears that the l.C. page is trying to do more than merely distinguish both l.C. & C.l. from the now largely discredited theonomic reconstructionism (http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_4_Memo_on_Contracts_R.htm). The links and comments given above by Indigomyth make it clear why both l.C. & C.l. would be prudent to treat theonomy as a dud. I think the l.C. page is trying to point at solving a really serious problem (beyond treating theonomy as a dud), a problem made exponentially more serious by the circumstances that the visible Church is now facing.

    We all know the visible Church in America is split into a gillion factions. This country, including the visible Church, is now being threatened with a breed of totalitarianism that would make the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist varieties look harmless. (Anyone who doesn’t believe this should start waking up by watching “Fall of the Republic” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU) and ”Endgame” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-CrNlilZho).) If the visible Church doesn’t start working together, like, this afternoon, the bankster elites will probably fulfill Jefferson’s prophecy within 10 years: “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, … their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” So the biggest problem facing socially conscious Christians in this generation is this: How do we get all these factions working together to defend the visible Church against these criminals who have already taken so much and are threatening to take everything? Of course, force is not an option in developing this coalition, but only persuasion. This may sound like Humpty-Dumpty. But the founders of this country were able to put it together. So can we if we understand what they understood.

    The visible Church is split up over myriad theological issues. But only one of them is crucial to forming a viable coalition: the “continuity-discontinuity problem”. (What from the Old Testament continues into the New, and what doesn’t?) This is because, according to the line of reasoning suggested by the l.C. wiki page, a viable (meaning biblical and rational) solution to the continuity-discontinuity problem is simultaneously a prescription for the division of labor between Church and State. Even if the visible Church stays divided over all other issues, if it were to discover a unified voice over the division of labor between Church and State, the banksters would be defeated before the end of the next day. Norman hints at this solution by distinguishing between a society whose members voluntarily submit to laws, relative to people who are outside that society. The l.C. wiki page points to a website (http://bjp-tiaj.net) that attempts to solve the continuity-discontinuity problem. In agreement with Norman, that website makes a distinction between a “jural society” (http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_0_Glossaries/#JuralSociety) and an “ecclesiastical society” (http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_0_Glossaries/#EcclesiastSociety). This distinction is crucial to that website’s solution to the continuity-discontinuity problem. This is because it defines a jural society as a society dedicated to enforcing laws against what traditional libertarianism calls “the initiation of force, fraud, or theft”. It defines an ecclesiastical society as a society dedicated to enforcing laws with which people voluntarily and contractually encumber themselves. This distinction is crucial to solving the Church-State problem. Because the founders’ generation was probably the most biblically literate generation in history, this solution to the continuity-discontinuity problem was probably inuitively obvious to them.

  • These are merely labels. So one might think: What’s in a name? Given that the Bible gives great weight to names, it’s probably not prudent to be flip about which one chooses. Combining Norman’s good argument from Scripture with Baz’s good argument from grammar, C.l. is clearly better than l.C. Even so, generosity in mind and spirit would hardly allow us to offscour someone who prefers C.l., or even to presume much about their theology or political inclinations.

    After reading the two wiki pages, it appears that the l.C. page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Christianity) is not merely making an issue out of mere labels. It also appears that the l.C. page is trying to do more than merely distinguish both l.C. & C.l. from the now largely discredited theonomic reconstructionism (http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_4_Memo_on_Contracts_R.htm). The links and comments given above by Indigomyth make it clear why both l.C. & C.l. would be prudent to treat theonomy as a dud. I think the l.C. page is trying to point at solving a really serious problem (beyond treating theonomy as a dud), a problem made exponentially more serious by the circumstances that the visible Church is now facing.

    We all know the visible Church in America is split into a gillion factions. This country, including the visible Church, is now being threatened with a breed of totalitarianism that would make the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist varieties look harmless. (Anyone who doesn’t believe this should start waking up by watching “Fall of the Republic” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU) and ”Endgame” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-CrNlilZho).) If the visible Church doesn’t start working together, like, this afternoon, the bankster elites will probably fulfill Jefferson’s prophecy within 10 years: “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, … their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” So the biggest problem facing socially conscious Christians in this generation is this: How do we get all these factions working together to defend the visible Church against these criminals who have already taken so much and are threatening to take everything? Of course, force is not an option in developing this coalition, but only persuasion. This may sound like Humpty-Dumpty. But the founders of this country were able to put it together. So can we if we understand what they understood.

    The visible Church is split up over myriad theological issues. But only one of them is crucial to forming a viable coalition: the “continuity-discontinuity problem”. (What from the Old Testament continues into the New, and what doesn’t?) This is because, according to the line of reasoning suggested by the l.C. wiki page, a viable (meaning biblical and rational) solution to the continuity-discontinuity problem is simultaneously a prescription for the division of labor between Church and State. Even if the visible Church stays divided over all other issues, if it were to discover a unified voice over the division of labor between Church and State, the banksters would be defeated before the end of the next day. Norman hints at this solution by distinguishing between a society whose members voluntarily submit to laws, relative to people who are outside that society. The l.C. wiki page points to a website (http://bjp-tiaj.net) that attempts to solve the continuity-discontinuity problem. In agreement with Norman, that website makes a distinction between a “jural society” (http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_0_Glossaries/#JuralSociety) and an “ecclesiastical society” (http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_0_Glossaries/#EcclesiastSociety). This distinction is crucial to that website’s solution to the continuity-discontinuity problem. This is because it defines a jural society as a society dedicated to enforcing laws against what traditional libertarianism calls “the initiation of force, fraud, or theft”. It defines an ecclesiastical society as a society dedicated to enforcing laws with which people voluntarily and contractually encumber themselves. This distinction is crucial to solving the Church-State problem. Because the founders’ generation was probably the most biblically literate generation in history, this solution to the continuity-discontinuity problem was probably inuitively obvious to them.

  • Retro Satana

    Here’s the problem with “Christian” libertarianism. If we want to believe in the non-aggression axiom, non-interventionist foreign policy or individual freedom because we believe it’s Biblical and the most Christian form of government, then by what standard are we picking and choosing which biblical values we enforce? Indeed, even “christian” libertarians don’t believe in full-freedom. We are against abortion and abandonment, unlike Rothbard. We also cannot be anarchists – like Rockwell – since it’s clear in Scripture that God has instituted civil government. So, you base your libertarian views on the Bible, but then turn around and criticize theonomists who base their views on the Bible. How can you be against legal abortion – from a biblical standpoint – but not against legal intoxication? You may try to say, “Well, intoxication is a victimless crime.” But why should crimes with ‘victims’ be punished? The Christian must ultimately appeal to Scripture somehow. The secular world would argue that abortion is also a victimless crime, and once again the Christian has to appeal to Scripture. There is no neutrality. It’s time for us to realize that all civil law is legislating morality. That’s a good thing – depending on whose morality you are legislating.

    If you are going to accept one civil law from Scripture and seek it’s civil enforcement, on what basis do you reject another? The burden of proof is on the libertarian to show how/where some OT civil laws still apply and others do not.

    I almost fell into the anarcho-libertarian trap until I quickly discovered the brilliant theonomic thinkers. I will add that a major misunderstanding among non-theonomists is not knowing how the OT civil laws actually worked. For example: Just because homosexuality was outlawed didn’t mean soldiers were knocking down doors. Private property laws were still enforced. People could indulge in homosexuality in private and get away with it, just like people privately smoke weed even though it’s outlawed in the States. However, when displayed publicly or found out (with proper evidence) is when punishment is necessary. The two forms of OT punishment were death and restitution, there was no such thing as a prison system. If the men were married, committing adultery against their wives, then the wives have the control to either demand death or restitution. This is just since all crimes and sins are primarily against God, humans are God’s representatives, therefore the OT case laws are all about victim’s rights. So, it’s not as if all homosexuals were just stoned no questions asked. The option was always left up to the victim of the crime. The pagan prison system instead punishes the victim (making them pay for the criminals food, entertainment, education and shelter with tax dollars). And the criminal never has the opportunity to better himself. I would suggest “Victim’s Rights” by Gary North for an excellent explanation of how the OT case laws would be applied today.

    A proper theonomic civil government would provide the most free, protected, private-property-affirming, free market, godly society we’ve ever seen. An “extreme libertarianism” as Rushdoony said – with modifications.

  • Retro Satana

    Here’s the problem with “Christian” libertarianism. If we want to believe in the non-aggression axiom, non-interventionist foreign policy or individual freedom because we believe it’s Biblical and the most Christian form of government, then by what standard are we picking and choosing which biblical values we enforce? Indeed, even “christian” libertarians don’t believe in full-freedom. We are against abortion and abandonment, unlike Rothbard. We also cannot be anarchists – like Rockwell – since it’s clear in Scripture that God has instituted civil government. So, you base your libertarian views on the Bible, but then turn around and criticize theonomists who base their views on the Bible. How can you be against legal abortion – from a biblical standpoint – but not against legal intoxication? You may try to say, “Well, intoxication is a victimless crime.” But why should crimes with ‘victims’ be punished? The Christian must ultimately appeal to Scripture somehow. The secular world would argue that abortion is also a victimless crime, and once again the Christian has to appeal to Scripture. There is no neutrality. It’s time for us to realize that all civil law is legislating morality. That’s a good thing – depending on whose morality you are legislating.

    If you are going to accept one civil law from Scripture and seek it’s civil enforcement, on what basis do you reject another? The burden of proof is on the libertarian to show how/where some OT civil laws still apply and others do not.

    I almost fell into the anarcho-libertarian trap until I quickly discovered the brilliant theonomic thinkers. I will add that a major misunderstanding among non-theonomists is not knowing how the OT civil laws actually worked. For example: Just because homosexuality was outlawed didn’t mean soldiers were knocking down doors. Private property laws were still enforced. People could indulge in homosexuality in private and get away with it, just like people privately smoke weed even though it’s outlawed in the States. However, when displayed publicly or found out (with proper evidence) is when punishment is necessary. The two forms of OT punishment were death and restitution, there was no such thing as a prison system. If the men were married, committing adultery against their wives, then the wives have the control to either demand death or restitution. This is just since all crimes and sins are primarily against God, humans are God’s representatives, therefore the OT case laws are all about victim’s rights. So, it’s not as if all homosexuals were just stoned no questions asked. The option was always left up to the victim of the crime. The pagan prison system instead punishes the victim (making them pay for the criminals food, entertainment, education and shelter with tax dollars). And the criminal never has the opportunity to better himself. I would suggest “Victim’s Rights” by Gary North for an excellent explanation of how the OT case laws would be applied today.

    A proper theonomic civil government would provide the most free, protected, private-property-affirming, free market, godly society we’ve ever seen. An “extreme libertarianism” as Rushdoony said – with modifications.

  • Retro Satana, you bring up some good points. But both Rushdoony and North have serious problems in their approaches to biblical hermeneutics. The dichotomy between anarcho-capitalism ala Rothbard and theonomic libertarianism ala North is surmountable by way of hermeneutics that properly parse Scripture. To get a reliable prescription of human law out of Scripture, it’s necessary to treat the Bible as a covenant, and it’s necessary to understand that covenants define jurisdictions. Proper treatment of jurisdictions is missing in both anarcho-capitalism and theonomic reconstructionism. For an introduction to such hermeneutics, see http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/0_IBUHL/. For a critique of theonomic reconstructionism from a reformed theologian’s perspective, see http://www.the-highway.com/recon_Duncan.html. For a critique of anarcho-capitalism from the perspective of jurisdiction-based hermeneutics, see http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_4_Memo_on_Contracts_R.htm.

  • Retro Satana, you bring up some good points. But both Rushdoony and North have serious problems in their approaches to biblical hermeneutics. The dichotomy between anarcho-capitalism ala Rothbard and theonomic libertarianism ala North is surmountable by way of hermeneutics that properly parse Scripture. To get a reliable prescription of human law out of Scripture, it’s necessary to treat the Bible as a covenant, and it’s necessary to understand that covenants define jurisdictions. Proper treatment of jurisdictions is missing in both anarcho-capitalism and theonomic reconstructionism. For an introduction to such hermeneutics, see http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/0_IBUHL/. For a critique of theonomic reconstructionism from a reformed theologian’s perspective, see http://www.the-highway.com/recon_Duncan.html. For a critique of anarcho-capitalism from the perspective of jurisdiction-based hermeneutics, see http://www.bjp-tiaj.net/1_Helps/1_4_Memo_on_Contracts_R.htm.

  • “But why should crimes with ‘victims’ be punished?” WTF?? Are you asking seriously?

  • “But why should crimes with ‘victims’ be punished?” WTF?? Are you asking seriously?

  •  Sorry, I misjudged, seeing “satan” in your ID gave me the wrong impression!

  • Simple, but profound. Thanks for bringing up the importance of making the distinction and what is really essential.

  • Pingback: The Christian Libertarian FAQ is having some issues | LibertarianChristians.com()

  • Pingback: Is there a difference between “libertarian Christianity” and “Christian libertarianism”? | LibertarianChristians.com()

  • Pingback: What’s in a name? A question of LCC’s labeling. | LibertarianChristians.com()