Libertarianism and the Power of the Gospel

Christians throughout the centuries have always communicated the good news of the Kingdom of God in the vernacular of their surrounding culture. They have engaged those around them by making use of their culture’s shared experiences so that the gospel is heard in a way they will understand. To be effective means to infiltrate and influence society so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Those who communicate the gospel effectively are agents of change in the world. One of the challenges for Christians is to avoid letting a culture’s influence dilute the message of the Kingdom of God so as to become ineffective or irrelevant.

The constantly evolving nature of cultures and the inescapable reality of a global pluralist society have become major challenges to the Church in the West, and to Protestantism in particular. The past century has witnessed an unprecedented rate in the change of cultural motifs and the increasing accessibility to these diverse cultures from the foreigner. In centuries past only the wealthy could explore the far regions of the world. Today even the poor can spend a few hours on the Internet to glimpse a foreign cultural experience.

To meet the challenges of a changing global community, a new generation of Christians are diverging from the standard political, social, and theological views they inherited. Although this movement involves the global Christian Church, my experience has been largely within the evangelical community, a relatively recent phenomenon within Christianity’s twenty-century lifespan. Cultural shifts are always a mixed bag, but it is prudent to notice the promise such shifts provide as well as the challenges.

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The Bible Tells Me So

ForTheBibleTellsMeSoI will never forget my Bible college professor’s comment a month before I graduated: “Don’t forget: reading the Bible can really ruin your theology.” He intended to remind me that our theology is subservient to the Bible, not the other way around.

Christians have been doing theology ever since there have been Christians. Some traditions have well-established theological “houses” that are untouchable, such that even mild efforts to “freshen the paint” or “reorder the furniture” are met with resistance and disdain from loyal adherents. Other traditions make efforts to freshen their home a bit every generation or so. Individual Christians often talk about being on a journey where God is doing the remodeling of their heart, so old beliefs are replaced with new ones with more solid material.

I grew up in a tradition where defending the Bible was a major element to reading it. To be sure, personal devotional time and reflection upon the meaning of Scripture for my life was highly encouraged. But there were few sermons in my church where the reliability and authority of the Bible were not mentioned. It was not enough to read and study the Bible for ourselves. We had to be sure we knew how to defend it against antagonistic scholars, science teachers, or our unbelieving friends. Sunday school classes taught us how “real science” conforms to a literalist reading of the Bible or how archeologists are godless scholars undermining God’s Word.

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