Libertarianism and the Christian: An Uneasy Relationship? – A Response to Bereans at the Gate

Dr. Marc Clauson, professor of History and Political Science at Cedarville University, wrote a blog post for Bereans at the Gate back in September that I have been long overdue in rebutting. In his article he used the case of Belle Knox, the famous Duke porn star, to ponder the question of whether Divine Command Theory provides any insight into what civil law we ought to derive from the Bible. This is the rebuttal I have been promising Dr. Clauson for some time now. I wrote this in the second person, because I was addressing it to him, originally with the intention of posting it on his blog as a comment, but when I realized it was almost 6,000 words, I figured I didn’t want to take up so much real estate, and I also figured it would be good for the edification of all. I urge you to read his article before trying to digest this.

I should also mention that Dr. Clauson is an Elder in my church for whom I have great respect, so please do not read any hostility or divisiveness of any kind into this. I also recognize that I’m punching above my weight class here. Oh well…

Dr. Clauson,

I disagree with your position, primarily because I don’t think you quite understand Libertarianism. You characterize Libertarianism is being about maximizing personal freedom at all costs. You don’t seem to interact with the fundamental nature of government. You appeal to Divine Command Theory to give us limits that must be placed on freedom, but you don’t sufficiently defend why government must be the vehicle used to do this. In the end I agree that there are limits to our freedom, but the question before us needs to be, does government have the legitimate, Biblical role of enforcing those limits? I see several flaws in your argument.

Libertarianism is about nothing more than applying the moral principle of non-aggression to government.

First, you seem to start with a flawed understanding of what Libertarianism is. It seems you think Libertarianism is Libertinism, the belief that there is nothing morally impermissible. In your view, and in the view of many critics, Libertarianism is all about maximizing personal freedom at all costs. While maximum personal freedom may be a great secondary benefit, it is not the core concern of Libertarianism! Granted that there are Libertines in the Libertarian camp, the Libertarian positions is not defined by them. The Libertarian position is bound up in one act: applying the non-aggression principle to government, which is to say opposing the Double Standard in which government claims to grant itself permission to commit acts that would be criminal if done by anyone else. I don’t mean an example like saying “don’t execute the guy who murdered your wife, because he deserves a trial.” I’m thinking about things like, “You may not take a gun to your neighbor’s house and take his money, but if the government does it and calls it taxation, that’s OK” or “If you think that smoking a plant is bad for your neighbor’s health, so you abduct him and lock him in a cage, you are guilty of kidnapping, but if the government does it, it’s OK.” This sort of double standard is what we oppose. The government acts in a myriad of ways to do that which would be criminal for anyone else and holds itself to be above the law. Yet we assert that it is not above the law, certainly not God’s law, as we will get into.

To say Libertarianism is all about freedom at all costs is to misunderstand entirely what we’re all about. We grant that one of the side effects of this is that people will have more personal freedom, but that is not the substance of our position. Freedom from what? Freedom to what? We stand for “negative rights”, that is to say freedom from coercion, force and aggression, not necessarily for any positive rights (or entitlements).

In other words, we actually don’t stand for freedom. We stand for restraint, believe it or not! We simply limit the scope of our restraint to one issue: the use of force, violence, and coercion in society. From there we progress to recognizing that the State is the most violent, coercive, and forceful entity in our solar system, so we oppose it strongly.

To say that there is no room in Libertarianism to promote other restraints is just wrong. The only way these other restraints would be incompatible with Libertarianism is if the one promoting them seeks to use violence as his means of restraint. This brings us right back to the key question at hand. Before we answer whether Divine Command Theory gives us a command for government to enforce Biblical morality, we must answer the question of whether the Scriptures give us permission to use violence in enforcement of Biblical morality. The answer I propose is no.

Government is, by nature, force.

This brings me to my second point which is critical for our analysis. After we settle whether the use of violence is acceptable in the enforcement of Biblical morality on people, we must ask another question: what is the essential nature of government? Very infrequently do I see Christian critics of Libertarianism interact with this question. The answer is one of our core observational claims. Libertarians observe that government is an institution that uses force or the threat of force to accomplish its will. The sword is the only tool available to government. If it stopped using force, it would have to use voluntary means to accomplish its ends, which would make it a business or a charity.

This observation is critical. Because having an understanding of that, we realize that whatever the government tries to do, however noble its intentions, it always does so by adding violence to the situation. So we must ask ourselves, do the ends justify the means? We want to restrain porn stars from committing adultery and seducing others to commit adultery in their minds, but what means are justly at our disposal? Is violence one of them? May we justly use force, or the threat of force, to coerce people into obedience?

This is very important, becaues I often hear people talk about law in this abstract philosophical sense like it is some billboard just passively informing people of what is right and wrong. This is not the case. The law is a writ of permission for police to carry out violence against people who disobey it.

So with any moral issue, we must ask ourselves first whether violence is justified in its restraint before we ask whether we should use government, because the use of government is the use of violence.

There are peaceful means by which we may stand for what is right without using force.

You fail to make a compelling argument that government must be used to restrain people’s freedom in order to apply Biblical morality. We are at cross purposes here, because I intend to prove that it may not. But you seem to imply, without directly arguing this point, that it must. It seems to flow from the thought that we ought to apply the Word of God to every area of our lives, and since government is the vehicle by which freedom is restrained, we must use government to restrain freedom in the way the Word of God would have us to restrain it.

This is where I have to fundamentally disagree. I do not agree that government is the vehicle by which freedom is restrained. I believe government has been given a very specific, limited role by God, and that it is government, and not people, that needs to be restrained.

But before I really get into that, let’s briefly consider whether government must be used to restrain freedom according to Biblical morality. The answer is no. There are plenty of other means by which we may exhort men to obey the Lord. But if you’re looking for a means by which we may use the initiation or threat of force to coerce men into obeying God’s law, then yes government is your only vehicle.

Is Government Force a Biblically Permissible Means to Apply God’s Moral Law?

But that leaves us at the question of whether government may operate in such a way, and from a conversation we had recently, I think there may be another underlying objection there, let’s consider the question of whether denouncing the State’s authority to enforce Biblical morality calls into question the legitimate authority of other institutions such as the family and the church, institutions in which God has set up some to have moral authority over others.

The key question to consider is how will this authority be applied, and the sphere does it fall under? It’s critical, at this point, to bring up the idea of stewardship, because this is foundational.

Where does authority come from? It comes from God, but how? To what degree? Over what? By what mechanism? It comes through Stewardship, which operates in civil society under the guise of Ownership. Ownership is the right of disposal over the thing owned. I built a coffee table. I have the right to say how that coffee table ought to be used and what others may or may not do with that coffee table, because it’s mine. I have authority over it and over anyone who would use it to the degree that they are using it.

Now ultimately everything is owned by God, including our very selves, and he has the authority to set the use rights over everything, ourselves first. We are his property, and he therefore requires us to follow his rules in the use of ourselves.

He has created various institutions of stewardship in which his authority is given to a steward over his property. We see this from the very beginning in Genesis 1 in the dominion mandate. We see in the first few chapters of Genesis that the two primary institutions are the family and the individual. This is taken from the fact that Adam was ultimately held responsible as a federal head for Eve’s sin (family), but Eve also was personally held responsible for her sin (the individual). The individual is a steward over his own self and over the property he justly acquires into his own sphere of stewardship. These are the reasons behind the laws given in Moses.

The authority to use force comes from this stewardship. I am the steward of myself (my own body) for God. I have the authority to tell others they may or may not use it in some certain way. If they try to use it in a way I have not authorized, I have the authority to defend myself with force. To say I do not is to imply they have greater stewardship (ownership) over my than I do. This makes no sense.

Since the fall there have been two other institutions that were made for the purpose of dealing with the fact that man is sinful. One is government. The other is the church. These two institutions have different purposes and different spheres of stewardship, both of which are for the purpose of serving God.

The role of government, in particular, is founded in its institution in Genesis 9:6 which describes not so much a State, but rather a role in society that could possibly be filled by a market of competing providers. This service is the use of force to bring harm to the one who harms another in equal measure to the harm done. This principle is fleshed out in the Mosaic Law and applied in the sections of Exodus that are obviously Civil in nature to things like theft, rape, and other such crimes that involve intentional or negligent behavior that causes harm to another. This is the Biblical definition of crime.

Government’s one job is to act as a servant to God and the victim of a crime by carrying out vengeance on the one who harmed the victim.

The church, however, is concerned with requiring its members to adhere to the greater scope of God’s moral law. It has the authority to require this of its members because it is an institution created by God and the elders are set as stewards over the flock. Members are subject to the elders by covenant – that is to say by voluntary arrangement, and in this covenant they agree to abide by the elder’s authority to the extent that it is consistent with the Word of God. This is not a coercive, but a voluntary arrangement. No force, or threat of force is needed in this relationship. There is legitimate authority, even in the Libertarian philosophy, for the church to command members concerning God’s law. Homosexuality may be denounced as sin. Members who practice homosexuality may be counseled and disciplined according to God’s principles laid out in Matthew 18, which may result in them being barred from the premises.

If, for the sake of argument, a homosexual has been put out of the church according to Matthew 18, and then he tries to come in. Does the church have any authority to use force? Yes! They own the church. It is their property. They may bar him from attendance. If he is not welcome and yet insists on coming anyway, he may be viewed as an intruder like a home invader, and may be repelled forcefully. This becomes a matter of self defense.

So I do not understand why some believe there is a need for some mechanism whereby Christians may stop a student of Duke University from appearing in porn films. I do not agree to the claim that if we grant the Libertarian polity we would have no voice to decry her behavior. This is simply not so. We have many peaceful, non-violent means to spread the Gospel and stand for God’s law. Why must we use the threat of force to spread the gospel? There is no writ in Scripture that we ought, and in fact it invalidates the very principle of Romans 12:18 to live at peace with all men.

So now that we have a proper understanding of what Libertarian political philosophy is: the belief that government is not above God’s law and that it may not use force or the threat of force for any means other than to bring vengeance on those who use force, we must consider the question of whether such a philosophy is Biblical – a very critical question, indeed!

Exegesis of Romans 12-13

I have to start with the obvious: Romans 13. It really bothers me that Romans 13 is so often quoted out of context. Taken by itself Romans 13 almost seems to teach a very reverent view of the State, but I do not think this was Paul’s intent.

Here is Romans 12:9-13:14. The chapter break is unfortunate because this forms a single, complete train of thought.

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The theme of this passage is love, peace and holiness. Paul starts off by talking about loving and serving each other and ends up by commanding us to respect and love everyone and to purify ourselves in honor of the Lord, and sandwiched in the middle is this blurb about government. The hinge point of this entire passage, I believe, is 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” So I believe the tone of this blurb about government is more along the lines of “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile” than anything else, and it is subservient to the ideas of love, peace, and holiness.

So what do I make of this teaching about government? I believe that our interpretation of the civil magistrate’s job in Romans 13 should be informed by 1) the larger context of the institution of criminal justice from Genesis 9:6 and 2) the context of this passage itself. To simply say that this creates an institution in which the State has the authority to use force against violators of the moral law is exegetically unsound.

Now we could argue about whether we have a duty to obey from this passage, but that is a distraction here. That is not really the topic of our discussion. Such teaching would apply to tyrannical governments as well as good ones, since no distinction is made, and says nothing of any criterion we might use in determining whether a government is tyrannical. Yes, Paul indeed tells us to submit to government as a way of recognizing God’s sovereignty and living at peace with those around us (including the magistrate), but far too often the exegetical analysis ends there. There is much that can be drawn from this passage by which we may evaluate whether a government is tyrannical, but too often the only further truth gleaned from this is a theology that God has instituted the civil authorities to punish evil doers.

Now I don’t disagree with that theology (saving an insistence that this does not require a State to claim a monopoly on the title and role), but some definitions are critical! I agree with the general principle that the civil authority exists to punish wrongdoers, but more must be said. What is this wrongdoing that the civil authority avenges? I say it is only the civil law – that is to say those matters which involve harm done to victims. Divine Command Theory would insist that it is the Civil Law plus the Principles of the Moral Law. Are we left to a battle of presuppositions here, or is there anything that can help us settle this dispute? I believe there is: the passage itself!

Verse 4 is critical. The magistrate is God’s servant, but for what? He is God’s servant for our good by being an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. What is this wrongdoing that the magistrate carries out wrath on? Well whatever the specific application, it would seem that each case would involve some wrong that has someone who needs to be avenged – a victim.

This term “vengeance” is crucial because it hearkens back to Romans 12, in which Paul is teaching us to live at peace with others, even when we are harmed by them. “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” Contextually, the idea of vengeance is with respect to people who are wronged, not to God being wronged by private immoral behavior, but to specific people who are harmed by sinful behavior.

So the civil magistrate’s job, according to Romans 13, is the same as that of Genesis 9:6. He exists to inflict the harm done to another on the one who did that harm.

A note about Taxation and a Plug for Anarchy

What are we to make of Paul’s command to pay taxes? This is a bit of a digression back into the realm of “do we have to obey” but it is an important crossover, because it also raises the question of whether it is morally permissible for the government to tax. Yes we should pay our taxes, but is it right for them to levee them?

I believe Paul’s statement about taxes should be interpreted in the same way that Christ said “turn the other cheek”. Or better yet, take Hebrews 10:34 “For you … joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Such a passage does not give moral license to those who do the plundering, but teaches Christians to adopt a certain attitude toward it. Jesus’ teaching to turn the other cheek does not teach that slapping is morally permissible. It teaches a certain attitude toward being wronged. This attitude is consistent with the Romans 12 attitude of not avenging ourselves.

So what Paul says about taxes in Romans 13:7 need not be interpreted as moral permission to tax. Rather, in line with the “turn the other cheek” attitude, he seems to me to be saying something along the lines of, “Look at paying taxes this way: at least you are supporting the work of criminal justice, which is a divinely blessed operation.” This leaves plenty of room for us to still insist that taxation is theft, and is therefore a violation of the magistrate’s foundational purpose. Neither does it bar us from proposing alternative means of funding his operation. And when we begin to do so we start by merely observing that any good or service is most effectively and ethically provided by a free market. This leads us to propose that justice should be provided by a market of competing law firms, insurance agencies, or security companies which would all be funded voluntarily, and not by a State monopoly which can only fund itself by force.

I know the objection would be that such a market would not guarantee that law would be upheld, and that there might be some companies that enforce Sharia law while others don’t enforce any law. Two observations are important. First is that this is already how the world works even with monopolies. Dayton does not have the same city ordinances as Cincinnati. Ohio does not have the same laws as California. The USA does not have the same laws as France. And yet, I hear none of the people who make this objection arguing for a one-world government! The only difference is that the market I propose would not have these differences confined to regional monopolies that would require someone to move in order to escape, but would be submitted to voluntarily by those who willingly subscribe to them, and if they change their allegiance, they may simply unsubscribe. The second is that the need for a victim will restrain the market to dealing only with those matters that actually involve conflict between two people. What punishment or settlement is reached will ultimately be up to the two parties, but whatever happens, the victim will receive restitution that is amenable to him.

Such a market for conflict resolution would fill the Romans 13 role of civil magistrate far better than the State does because the companies involved would have to spend their time satisfying their clients: the victims who hire them because they need to be avenged, rather than going after things that they don’t have any Biblical business dealing with (like drugs, or terrorism, or speeders, or those dastardly children who operate lemonade stands without licenses). If they don’t do a good job, or if they waste their money in expensive territorial conflicts (war), they will go bankrupt because they don’t have a populace they can conscript and from whom they can expropriate resources by force. And any company that tries to do this will find themselves falling by the wayside of every other company who has tried to use bad business practices to get ahead. They would have to create a monopoly. But monopolies are only possible with government, which is only possible when people believe a monopoly on force is necessary, which it is not.

So we have in Romans 12-13 a way of evaluating whether a civil magistrate is tyrannical or not. If he does anything other than avenge those who have been wronged, then he is a terror to good conduct, and therefore a tyrant.

A note about Matthew 5

I must say something briefly about Matthew 5. I know you’re not a Bahnsenite in that you don’t hold to the “abiding validity of the law in exhaustive detail,” but rather hold to a Divine Command Theory. Now, I’m not quite sure what the substantial difference is between Divine Command Theory and General Equity Theory is, but they both seem to follow the same general line of reasoning here: God commanded X to Israel through Moses, which was applied with the Sword, therefore the sword the Civil Magistrate bears in Romans 13 should be born in enforcement of the same principles, even if they are not quite formally the same (i.e. lessening the punishments by not executing homosexuals).

I’ve already dealt exegetically with Romans 13, but what of Matthew 5? In what way has the Law been fulfilled? What is the relationship between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? My interpretation of the Law is based on Baptist Covenant Theology (though it may not be perfectly so… I waffle between the 1689 view and the New Covenant Theology view… mostly because the differences seem very nuanced to me. I’m certain that there isn’t a substantial difference on this particular point, though) In my view, the Mosaic Covenant, and indeed all of the Old Testament covenants, were shadows of the New Covenant which was established by Christ. They existed to point us to the New Covenant which was, in a sense, “The Covenant to end all Covenants”. All of the old Covenants should be interpreted in light of their relationship to the New. If we are to make application from the Mosaic Law for today, we must first understand how the Mosaic Covenant connects to the New Covenant.

In the Mosaic Covenant there was a unique blend of those two post-fall institutions, the Church and the State. This was done for redemptive historical and eschatological purposes, and not as a blueprint for all law everywhere. It was a shadow primarily of the eternal kingdom which Christ inaugurated, but has not yet consummated. In the Mosaic Covenant, God’s presence dwelt in their midst, and they were to be a people of perfect holiness for the sake of his honor and because that is the standard for being able to dwell in God’s presence.  God himself was there as their king (1 Samuel 8:7). Thus, when we observe that the Moral Law was coded into Civil Form, we must remember that this is an exegetical shadow of the eternal kingdom where, in the New Covenant and the age yet to come, the Law will be written on our hearts and we will all know the Lord (Jeremiah 31).

Now I’m familiar with your argument that since God is perfectly just, his law would be perfectly just, and therefore if he were to command a law, it would have to be just, and therefore a just law for anyone to command at any time. But this makes a flawed assumption that we have the same authority as God! We do not have the same authority as God. Just because something is just for God it does not follow that it is just for us! Take the example of the conquest of Canaan. Are we to say that we have just permission to invade nations when we want to move into their territory because God told Israel to invade Canaan? Certainly not. God was exercising a level of authority he reserves for himself and does not give to men.

We need to remember the concept of Stewardship. Who has the authority to pronounce judgment on a nation and to conscribe it to being conquered by an invading army? God alone! Why? Because God owns the nation and its people. He has the right of disposal over them. So he alone can command the conquest of Canaan, and the invasion of Israel and Judah by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. He alone can command the conquest of Assyria by Babylon and Babylon by the Medes. This does not give us writ to go make war when we please, no matter how much we try to justify it.

In the same way, who has the authority to enforce the moral law as though it were civil law? God alone! Because God alone is our owner, and it is our stewardship of ourselves for him as our master that brings us under this rule, having been created by him. He alone has the authority to make such judgments, because he alone sees into man’s heart and what is hidden in secret. He does not give this authority to men.

It is only when God himself dwells in the midst of his people that there is any authority for the moral law to be enforced. Israel was one shadow of this. We see yet another shadow today in the Church. The church is where the presence of God dwells, not in the Temple as before, but in the hearts of his people. But he is not dwelling there as king right now – not in the same sense as in Israel, and not in the same sense as in the coming kingdom. He is dwelling the master who has gone away, leaving his servants behind as stewards (Matthew 25). Thus it will not be until the Eternal Kingdom that the spheres of church and state will again be united under Christ who alone has the authority to make these judgments.

For a mere man to claim such authority is the height of blasphemy! He is claiming God’s authority. He attempts to ascend to God’s seat as the owner of other men! God himself will judge such a man! And any group of men calling themselves the State who claim that authority become idols and antichrists – ever more so as they pervert justice by making their own law by fiat.

So what happened when Christ came? He was rejected by Israel as their king (though this was part of his plan) and instead inaugurated the coming heavenly kingdom which he said was “not of this world” (John 18:36). He then went away, leaving his church behind as stewards until such a time as he returns to bring all into completion. When he did this, he necessarily changed the formal application of the law. Are the principles the same? Certainly! Should we obey the Mosaic Law? In principle, yes! But does it apply to civil government? Absolutely not!

In the New Covenant, the Mosaic Law was neither abolished, nor did it continue in the same form. Christ took control of the three divisions of law and re-distributed them to new stewards. The Ceremonial Laws were completed in the work of the cross, and stewardship of faith in Christ was given to each individual believer who is now a priest (Hebrews 8, 1 Peter 2:9), and you could also say to the church in the sacraments. The Principles of the Moral Laws are now presided over by Christ himself and are applied to his disciples through the church by the preaching of the word and discipline (Matthew 18, 1 Corinthians 5), and the civil laws have been given to the governing authorities, but their scope has reverted to the arrangement under Genesis 9:6. (Romans 12-13).

When it comes to the applicability of the Moral Law, Matthew 5 must always be countered by 1 Corinthians 5, particularly verses 9 through 13 which are about the scope of church discipline.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Conclusion

So we see that ultimately doesn’t matter when people use their freedom to commit private sins that don’t harm another – not at least as it pertains to civil law. If they are not committing sin against directly another person, there is no need for the governing authority to carry out vengeance against them. By God’s command, the Church and the State are separated into different spheres of stewardship authority. The sword was given to government and not to the church, and it was given to government for a specific job with restraints and commands that government not be a terror to good conduct.

This does not prevent us from telling Miss Knox that she ought not commit adultery, nor ought she videotape it and distribute it for others to commit adultery in their hearts with her. But this does bar us from taking any action that involves force or the threat of force to try to stop her. Such is not within the civil magistrate’s sphere of stewardship. And our theory of government must take into consideration the fact that the sword is the only tool at the government’s disposal. Therefore, it is not right that we would use law to restrain these types of sins.

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4 thoughts on “Libertarianism and the Christian: An Uneasy Relationship? – A Response to Bereans at the Gate

  1. Wow, I can’t give this article response enough applause!

    //It is only when God himself dwells in the midst of his people that there is any authority for the moral law to be enforced.//

    //For a mere man to claim such authority is the height of blasphemy! He is claiming God’s authority. He attempts to ascend to God’s seat as the owner of other men! God himself will judge such a man! And any group of men calling themselves the State who claim that authority become idols and antichrists – ever more so as they pervert justice by making their own law by fiat.//

    So refreshing to see a person step back and let God be God! I’ll definitely be keeping up with this blog!

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