Archive for christian libertarian
At the Christian libertarian FAQ page, J. asks:
Are there any notable 20th century Christian libertarian scholars or philosophers? After John Locke, every major libertarian thinker from Hayek, to Von Mises, to Rand, to Nozick, to Friedman, and onward seems to have been atheist or agnostic. Are there any exceptions?
Often Christian scholars are less visible than their secular counterparts because they do not hold high positions in government or at large public universities but rather are church leaders, missionaries, or professors at Christian colleges. Their views as Christians may overshadow their libertarianism since politics is only one part of a Christian worldview.
Many Christians hold to some variety of limited government and could be considered libertarians in that sense. However, as Christians are less commonly supportive of abortion, for example, their libertarianism is at variance with that of, say, Murray Rothbard.
Some of the more prominent 20th Century Christians who hold to political beliefs which could be described as libertarian include:
- Edmund Opitz – Congregationalist Minister, Senior Staff Member at FEE
- Hans Sennholz – Economist in the Austrian School, Professor at Grove City College
- Gordon H. Clark – Christian Philosopher, Professor
- J. Gresham Machen – Theologian, Professor, Orthodox Presbyterian Church
- Ron Paul – Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Presidential Candidate
- John Howard Yoder – Mennonite Theologian, Christian Pacifist
Others deserving a mention include John W. Robbins and Rousas John Rushdoony, although Rushdoony was a proponent of theonomic reconstructionism rather than libertarianism per se.
Furthermore, there are a number of Christians associated with think tanks such as the Mises Institute, Cato Institute, and Independent Institute, including Jeffrey Tucker, Tom Woods, Robert P. Murphy, Lew Rockwell, Gary North, William Grigg, Ryan McMaken, David Theroux, and Doug Bandow. Others that should be mentioned include Chuck Baldwin, Steven Yates, Laurence Vance, and our own Norman Horn.
Check out the rest of the Christian Libertarian FAQ here.
From a member of the Christian libertarian facebook group:
I’m not sure who created this group, but I want to commend them for it and the members that make it what it is. This group has been very educational for me compared to other libertarian groups and it has really helped me understand how I am libertarian and christian at the same time. I read one comment on here that really stood out to me. It said, "I am libertarian because I am a christian." Love it! Keep it up!
Well, as the creator of the group, this sort of comment really warms my heart. The discussion that takes place is incredibly important and formative for all involved. We argue, we debate, we live and learn. If you’re not part of it, you really ought to be. Join today!
I am trying to better understand the intellectual foundations behind the similarities of both libertarianism and christianity, however I came across a Wikipedia entry that suggests a difference between “Christian libertarianism” and “Libertarian Christianity.” Is there any essential and significant difference between both terms?
Great question! The Wikipedia entry you mention suggests that “libertarian Christianity” comes from a specific blend of systematic and biblical theology. They suppose they are distinct from “Christian libertarians” because of their “Bible-based legal philosophy using biblical hermeneutics that are different from those used by Christian libertarians.” (That’s a Wikipedia quote.) To me, this sounds more or less like theonomic reconstructionism, a view I respect but with which I very much disagree for a variety of reasons.
In contrast, “Christian libertarianism describes the synthesis of Christian beliefs concerning human nature and dignity with libertarian political philosophy.” (Also a Wikipedia quote.) Christian libertarianism looks for the congruence of libertarian political thought and Christian theology because of a firm belief in the harmony of natural law with sound theological principles. I have written a few essays that take this approach, including an article for the Washington Post.
This is fundamentally why you will never hear me describe what I believe as “libertarian Christianity.” As it is, the terms comes a bit too front-loaded for me. However, I have no problem calling myself a libertarian Christian OR Christian libertarian. In fact, I’ve written a bit more on that topic in this blog post.
D. writes to LCC:
As Christians and Libertarians, how do we deal with Colossians 3:22?
“Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not be way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.”
I’m having a hard time with this.
Here’s an answer for you, D.
Paul says elsewhere that it is good if you can obtain your freedom. See 1 Corinthians 7:21-23; “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.” In one epistle, Paul even gently rebukes a slave owner – Philemon – admonishing him to free the slave Onesiumus.
The reason Paul wrote to the Colossians in this way was to advise prudence. With the newfound freedom a Christian in bondage has found, he might make a rash decision to buck his presumptive “owner” and put himself in a terrible position for his health and witness.
Also, this is actually an encouraging message to someone in slavery. Perhaps after hearing the gospel of Christ and the freedom it brings, the slave may think that there is no way he could possibly be included in this salvation – for he is in physical bondage. Paul’s meta-message is that all are included in the gospel.
Remember what Paul says in Galatians 3 to all Christians everywhere: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
No matter where we are, whether in physical bondage of slavery or oppressed in a dictatorship, the body of Christ – the Church universal – prevails forever.
(Additionally, you might be interested in the LCC blog post on Slavery in the Old Testament.)