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

What Is The Goal Of Parenting? Discipleship.

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Introduction to Part 2

In my previous article, I began a Review of the practice of spanking from my seemingly unique perspective. I am a Reformed Baptist. I am a Libertarian. As a Reformed Baptist, I believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that spanking is a necessity in parenting. As a Libertarian, I believe the Scriptures clearly teach that coercive aggression is a sin. I therefore find myself in the crux of a difficult dilemma. These two truths that I hold seem to be in direct conflict. So I have been seeking for a satisfactory resolution to this dissonance. Since these things have been in my mind, and since I recently came across the article I critiqued in Part 1, I have embarked on this series to discuss my thoughts on the matter.

Part 1 covered the ground of most primary importance: What does the Word of God actually say about spanking? It took the form of a rebuttal to an article which attempted to reinterpret the Biblical teaching on the subject. I interacted with the arguments and believe that I have shown definitively that the Word clearly teaches spanking.

In today’s installment, I seek to answer the generically foundational question: “What is the goal of parenting”? This will influence our choice of methods and naturally lead us to “When do we spank?” and further to “How do we spank?” which will bring to light some critical misunderstandings about Biblical spanking which will begin to set the stage for Part 3.

In Part 3, I plan to bring this all together and attempt to resolve this apparent tension between the Non-Aggression Principle and this seemingly coercively aggressive abuse.

What Is the Goal of Parenting?

There are many ways to summarize it. Ephesians 6 says to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” One of my Elders likes to define it as “raising a godly seed”. But what does that actually mean? Let’s look a little more closely at what the Word teaches.

Continue reading What Is The Goal Of Parenting? Discipleship.

Dividing Moral Law from Civil Law

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

This is the third installment of my counter series to Adam McIntosh, a man I have been picking on for a couple weeks now. If you are unfamiliar with his work, please visit The Kuyperian Commentary.

This article focuses on the second of my three critiques of McIntosh, which is that he provides a rubric for dividing between civil and moral laws that I believe to be incorrect. McIntosh says

God distinguishes between sins and crimes. If a command is given without an attached punishment, then it does not constitute as a civil law. It’s a moral law that you should obey but not a law that civil rulers are to regulate.

I plan to interact with this in today’s installment and to show where I think he is wrong, and to suggest a better rubric for dividing between criminality and private morality. In fact as we do, we may find out that McIntosh doesn’t really disagree with me, but we’ll have to see.

Unfortunately for you, the reader, I have to take a slightly windy path to get there. I do apologize. Please stick with me. There’s a gold star in it for you if you do.

Continue reading Dividing Moral Law from Civil Law

The Mosaic Law Should Not Be Applied to A Civil Government

Objection 1: God’s Law provides the moral basis for right and wrong. Without it, we would have no way of knowing what government should outlaw and what it shouldn’t.

Objection 2: Matthew 15:17-20 tells us that Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it and that the Law would not pass away until all was fulfilled.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:17-20)

Objection 3: Romans 13 tells us that government exists to punish those who do evil and reward those who do good.

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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 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, 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. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. (Rom 13:1-6)

On the contrary, Jesus said (John 18:36), “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

I answer that God’s Law is for God’s Kingdom. Continue reading The Mosaic Law Should Not Be Applied to A Civil Government

On Whether Homosexual Parents are Harmful to their Children

Disclaimer

You’re not going to like what I have to say. Please read with an open mind and a grain of salt. I do not mean to offend anyone with this or to cause division or controversy. I simply want to speak the truth. If you have questions or concerns, I would be more than happy to discuss them with you.

Introduction

The assertion is often made by defenders of the traditional family to the effect of “studies have shown that kids who are raised by homosexual parents are at a disadvantage when compared to kids raised by their mother and father.” They use this as an argument against gay marriage and gay adoption in a sort of “for the children” argument.

I always cringe when I hear this because it is a deplorable appeal to authority and an attempt to simply manufacture credibility. So I wanted to find out whether these claims actually had any basis in reality. It aggravates me to see the world successfully asserting that Conservatives on the right ignore facts and live in this made up fantasy world. It aggravates me so much because I find it to be true! I think Christians should have the highest regard for truth at all costs, if for no other reason than because we have supreme confidence in God’s Word. Or do we!?

When did we stop embracing the truth and start fearing it? Where is our faith in God that we are so afraid that some truth of science might contradict what he says? Our view of God and his Word is far too low!

So when it comes to these studies, I’m left with the following questions: What studies? When were they done? What was their methodology? What was their sampling method? Their sample size? Their margin of error? We need more information if we’re going to determine whether there is any worth in what has been said.

Continue reading On Whether Homosexual Parents are Harmful to their Children

CS Lewis on Marriage

Just stumbled upon a quote from CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity which I completely forgot about. He’s speaking of divorce here, but his thoughts are very applicable to Gay Marriage as well. I dare say they sum up my thoughts on the subject quite well.

Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is quite the different question—how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.

My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christian and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

Found: http://www.tillhecomes.org/cs-lewis-on-gay-marriage/

That author closes with this thought:

…in some countries Muslims are trying to enforce their Sharia law upon everybody in that country, just as here in the United States some Christians are trying to enforce some of our laws on all the people in our country. If anything has been learned from history, we know that it is bad for everybody when any religion picks up the sword of government and tries to enforce religious laws on anybody.

Very well said.

Spiritual Warfare and Libertarianism

I’m trucking right along in my quest to argue for the Biblical support of Libertarianism. This is a tricky task. I said in my introductory post that I often find myself starting and being unable to accomplish the task. Many of you would want to quickly jump in and say, “Well that’s because you can’t!” Unfortunately, you’re wrong. It’s not because I can’t. It’s because it’s a complex issue and I can’t just simply slap a quick couple of chapter and verses on it as proof texts. There are no verses in the Bible in which we were told to vote Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian or otherwise. The Bible is not a political manifesto or text book. This is for two reasons.

The most proximate reason is that the political system of our day didn’t exist back in that day. But that’s a tricky thing to say. It almost implies that the Bible can be outdated and irrelevant for our time. I don’t believe that to be the case. Nevertheless, it is true that some of the cultural language and such of the Bible need to be carefully understood and translated to our modern context in order to understand how its truths apply to us today.

But the more important reason that the Bible does not speak directly to politics is because that is not the purpose for which it was written. The Bible is not concerned with politics or civil government. Yes it speaks to it in part because, while God’s people are not citizens of this world, we still exist in it and will come in contact with civil government so we must know how to interact with civil government. This is where Romans 13 comes in. I plan to discuss Romans 13 in a later post.

Whatever the reasons, we find ourselves in a situation in which the Bible doesn’t spell out explicitly for us what political philosophy we should espouse. Therefore we are left to our own convictions based on which political philosophy most closely matches what the Scriptures teach in terms of how we should honor Christ. In my judgment, it has less to do with what is objectively right and wrong, and has more to do with what our relationship to the world should be. My previous post was an attempt to lay out why I believe that Legislating Morality is not Christ honoring. But I still need to articulate why I believe positively that Libertarianism is at least the most Christ honoring of the political systems that exist within our culture.

So I will continue to try to explain these things. Continue reading Spiritual Warfare and Libertarianism