Archive for theology
One of the most historically popular (and interesting, in my opinion) articles on LCC has been my New Testament Theology of the State (in two parts, see part 2 here). The two-part article addresses some difficult passages from the gospels as well as Romans 13, and they tend to get significant attention since the interpretation presented is rather different from the mainstream and yet help the passages make better sense within the grander biblical context.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from the very active Instituto Ludwig von Mises Brazil asking if I would like to see these articles translated into Portuguese. I responded with an emphatic “Yes!” and they are now publicly available. So, if you have some Portuguese-speaking friends or relatives, perhaps they will find these to be interesting reads…
From what I have heard from my Brazilian contacts, the articles are already sparking some significant conversation on their website and social media pages – with over 2000 likes and well over 4000 page views in barely 2 days! If anything, this shows that people all across the world are eager for Christian libertarian ideas.
Looking for a great read to give that libertarian in your life this Christmas? Want to delve deep into something interesting over your Christmas vacation? Every year, I make it a point to highlight the best (in my opinion) recent and classic books about Christianity or libertarianism, and some books that address both at the same time. This year’s list really focuses on theology even more than liberty, but I can guarantee you will find great some great books for just about anyone here. And of course, you can find much more in LCC’s many other book lists, or in our little bookstore. Let the reading commence!
1. If You Are the Son of God by Jacques Ellul – If I were to recommend that you read one book this Christmas season, make it Ellul. This little 100-page book is immensely challenging on multiple levels. It will, of course, make you think deeply about your own theology (even if you disagree with some of it), but it will also reveal the corrupting influence of power within the world around us. I am personally giving this book to multiple friends and family this Christmas. Check out my review here.
2. For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty, edited by Anne Bradley and Art Lindsey – The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics has released this edited volume as a response to the terrible policies promoted by some Christians that supposedly help the poor. Using sound economics and good theology, they make it clear that it is capitalism and voluntary charity, not government and force, that lifts the plight of the poor and promotes human flourishing. You will definitely see a review of this book on LCC in early 2015. Read More→
“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.
During debate, red herring statements are designed to distract hearers from better made arguments. Although irrelevant, red herrings appear so nearly germane to a topic that they are frequently accepted as evidence by all but the most discerning listener.
When discussing the death penalty, two “conservative” red herrings are frequently offered. If asked whether the death penalty should remain a sentencing option, individuals often assert that some crimes deserve the harshest penalty imaginable. Additionally, there are criminals who cannot be rehabilitated – prison will not instigate the behavior change for which it is designed. These statements can be accepted as true.
Furthermore, Christians acknowledge that God – the Creator of life – includes provisions for the death penalty in his revealed word. The Pentateuch commands the death penalty for murder (Numbers 35: 16), adultery (Leviticus 20: 10), blasphemy (Leviticus 24: 14) and numerous other crimes. Again, this assertion can be accepted as true.
Although these statements are factual, they remain red herrings. The capital punishment debate asks whether the state should be permitted to intentionally end life as a means of punishment. Responses which affirm that some crimes deserve death, that some criminals cannot be rehabilitated, and that the death penalty is included in the Bible appear compelling, but they evade the question. Read More→