“Most of the Bible is a history told by people living in lands occupied by conquering superpowers. It is a book written from the underside of power. It’s an oppression narrative. The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires, from the Egyptian Empire to the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire to the Assyrian Empire to the Roman Empire. This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Without careful study and reflection, and humility, it may even be possible to miss central themes of the Scriptures.”
Whether or not you like Rob Bell – I think he can be a mixed bag at times – you have to appreciate the insight of this quote regarding empire in Scripture. We frequently discount from our 21st century Western perspective just how dire things often are for the people of Scripture, and just how much they had to depend on God for providence and protection. We can thank God for how blessed we really are with the amazing operations of free market capitalism (NOT government!) and reflect upon how the Bible continues to speak to the oppressed today. Thanks for the tip, Bonnie and Rob!
LCC author Doug Douma is now an admin on the Gordon H. Clark Foundation website. Dr. Clark (1902-1985) was a prominent Calvinist philosopher as well as a supporter of libertarian political theory. Doug’s goals for the site include transcribing and posting unpublished articles from Dr. Clark’s personal papers. Although Dr. Clark wrote primarily in the area of epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge) he also wrote on topics of political science.
Of likely interest to LCC readers is the most recently posted unpublished article of Dr. Clark’s entitled Perspective on Natural Law.
Speaking of the advantage of a Christian basis for natural rights, Dr. Clark writes: “The idea of natural rights is not the kind of concept which has legs of its own to stand on; as a deduction from religious premises it makes sense, otherwise not.” Whether or not one agrees with Clark’s conclusion, one must agree that it is challenging and interesting to consider. Dr. Clark continues:
“The Natural Law concept is more than a tool for lawyers. It is an indispensable concept for the proponent of liberty and limited government and, as liberty comes to seem more precious and popular disillusionment with political panaceas become more acute, we may expect to see increasing reliance on the Natural Law philosophy as an indispensable means for achieving a sounder society, one more in harmony with the eternal verities and the accumulated wisdom of the race.”
Doug is also currently engaged in researching and writing Dr. Clark’s biography. Doug also recently spoke about Gordon Clark at the first annual Christians For Liberty Conference, and we will be posting his talk here as soon as it is available. We can all be very proud of Doug’s fervor for original research in theology and liberty, and LCC will continue to provide updates regarding his progress periodically.
Texas House Representative David Simpson delivered the following speech on October 8, 2014 at a Students For Liberty Event in Houston. This text was originally published at the SFL website. Rep. Simpson also recently was a keynote speaker for the first Christians for Liberty Conference. You can visit David’s website here.
We are here today to celebrate the next generation of pro-liberty leaders. In so doing I want to link pro-liberty leaders with America’s greatness.
America’s greatness is often depicted in its natural resources and so we sing: “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!” But America’s greatness lies not merely in the blessings of its rich resources of oil and gas, and farmland, but most of all within its people!
A people bound together by an idea, but even more than that, a conviction and recognition that individuals are endowed with certain inalienable rights—rights that cannot be severed from our being without doing violence to their humanity.
LCC reader Will asks via email:
Is there a difference between Christian Libertarians and Libertarian Christians? I am more inclined to state my theology first and my philosophy second, but LCC puts the L first. Wikipedia has separate entries for both, so what’s the key distinction?
I think that telling people at my church that I am a "libertarian Christian" seems like I put my politics above scripture…So that’s why I put the "Christian" first…
Will, I have published a short blog post on this topic a few years back:
In short, one could argue the point both ways. I could say that CHRISTIAN should be the NOUN in the phrase because it’s more important than the adjective, therefore it should be “libertarian Christian.” Alternatively, I could say that I need to "put my Christianity first" and, thus, the label should be “Christian libertarian.”
No matter which way I choose to label, I am a Christian who believes that libertarianism is the most consistent expression of Christian political thought. Ordering of the words is secondary to what I truly believe. That is why you will see us talk of “libertarian Christians” and “Christian libertarians” here at LCC. We see them as one and the same, and we are not looking to set up who is “right” and who is “wrong” in that particular label scheme.
However, our opinion regarding “libertarian Christianity” and “Christian libertarianism” is a bit different – but we will save that for another post. Stay tuned later this week for more.