Here is the first installment of Q&A Week, where we are exploring reader questions submitted to the Christian Libertarian FAQ. Cylons70 (awesome name, btw) has been wondering about churches that hold Christian libertarian positions…

I currently go to a non-denominational church (which is actually a denomination in itself).  I was wondering if there is any church that specifically supports libertarian Christian beliefs?

As far as I know, there is no particular denomination that has Christian libertarian positions explicit in their doctrinal statement. However, the common thread of non-violence and anti-statism has been discussed in numerous theological traditions, from Baptists, to Lutherans, all the way to Churches of Christ (the tradition I grew up in). I would actually say that arguably the Churches of Christ and Anabaptist denominations have some of the strongest histories of libertarian leanings. For example, historically the Churches of Christ have held remarkably excellent anti-war positions, especially around the Civil War. Tolbert Fanning, David Lipscomb, and Alexander Campbell were major leaders in the Stone-Campbell Restorationist movements during that time and made great contributions to the anti-war movement. You can even see some of their writings in Tom Wood’s book, We Who Dared to Say No to War.

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Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded 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.
  • Casey Pennington

    The group me and Tiffany worship with is traditionally tied to the Church of Christ movement, so obviously the Stone-Campbell movement. We have a very individual perspective on the work of the church.

    Its kind of a ‘libertarian’ view in my opinion, though based on a strict interpretation of the responsibilities of the members of the local church. 

    For instance, all works are organized organically outside the ‘treasury’. the only purpose of the treasury is for needy saints and an ‘as needed’ basis. Yet other works, things that groups may divide over are relegated to a spontaneous order of individual christians working together. 

    I have marveled at the ‘hidden history’ of Campbell’s anti-war themes and in general his very praxeological views on things. 

  • Joe Boudreau

    Anabaptists FTW. The more stringent sects are basically ancaps or ancoms. 

  • Jurgen_knight

    not a denomination but I want to visit Woodland Hills church of Minnesota after listening to the paster Greg Boyd online

  • Jeff Herron

    Have to at least mention Chuck Baldwin’s congregation, now in MT. Not strictly libertarian, but someone who understands the importance of talking about liberty – political and otherwise – from the pulpit.

  • scp

    I’m not a member any more, but I grew up in the Church of the Brethren (Anabaptist).  As strict pacifists, their roots were definitely libertarian, more like anarchist.  They properly recognized government coercion as a form of violence.

    Unfortunately, it appears to me that for the most part they’ve abandoned their pacifist roots.  Now, it seems that violence is fine and dandy as long as it takes the form of (non-military) government coercion.  When I occasionally visit my childhood church, I am shocked by some of the pro-violence (i.e. pro-government) propaganda they hand out under the guise of helping the disenfranchised.

  • Wow, definitely some great comments already. Thanks for all the feedback, everyone!

  • Yeah, Greg Boyd is great on a number of levels, one of them being his strong anti-war position. He’s serious about peace, and that’s fantastic to see.

  • COC, FTW! Yeah, the “hidden history” of the Church of Christ really needs to be brought forward. Enough of this rubbish of “we are a church with no tradition” crap! It’s not something to be shy about. Admit the mistakes, herald the good, and learn from all of it. I’m on a mission to bring back Lipscomb!

  • David Lipscomb can’t be mentioned without bringing up a monumental work of his titled CIVIL Government: Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny – and the – Christian’s Relation to it.  The book is profound and having grown up in the CofC ourselves we realized how far the CofC has drifted over the years. 

  • You’re absolutely right, that is a FANTASTIC book and I really hope that we can get it republished for a popular audience soon!

  • Brandon

    Hi- I’m currently searching for a church after accepting Christ into my life a few years ago. I’m looking for a church that leans libertarian. I’m a gay man and looking for a church with more socially liberal views. Episcopal church is one of interest but I’m afraid they may be too liberal in other areas. The other thing I’m looking for is a church with more traditional worship vs the more non denominational style. I do enjoy the sacraments, etc. Any ideas?