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

Advertisements

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.

Spoil The Child? No really, the Bible DOES Command Spanking. Here’s What it says

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

Introduction

I am probably going to get myself in a heap of trouble with this one, so I have to start with a disclaimer: I mean none of this personally. There that ought to about cover it.

So I thought I would take a break from my typical rants about homosexuality and taxation and the police state and what-not and talk about something completely different: The Larch.

No really, I want to discuss spanking. This is a topic of considerable import to me because I have young children, so I must of course have an answer to the question of spanking. Well, depending on who you are, it may or may not surprise you to know that I spank my children. I hope child protective services isn’t reading this… ahem…. No, but really we do spank our children and this is because of the instruction we have received from the Word of God through our elders and the ministry of Paul and Tedd Tripp. See, I’m a good little Reformed person aren’t I?

So why write about this? I usually use this platform for controversial topics – at least those topics that are controversial for those I tend to rub shoulders with, and this would not seem to be one of them. Well believe it or not, this is one of those issues in which it came to me that I need to be ware of a potential loophole in my thinking. I mean. I’m a Libertarian. I quote the non-aggression principle right and left. And spanking would seem to be a form of coercive aggression wouldn’t it? Have I missed something? If the Bible commands spanking and spanking is a violation of the non-aggression principle, then perhaps the NAP is not all it’s cracked up to be! Or does the NAP truly prohibit spanking in God’s economy, and have I been wrongly dividing the truth? In short, how can I be a staunch Libertarian AND spank. It would seem that something has to give. And if by some miracle the Libertarian Revolution does actually happen, how can I stand and defend the practice of spanking to the atheists who don’t hold to the authority of Scripture and believe spanking to be an outright violation of the NAP, which would decidedly make it criminal? So there is quite a lot at stake here, not the least of which are the souls of my children and the glory of God. These are not things I take lightly, and so I have given them much thought and have wanted to write about them for some time.

Then the other day, I came across this article which is an exert from the book Jesus the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting by L.R. Nost. In this exert, she attempts to make an exegetical argument against the Biblical teaching of spanking. So having felt a bit of momentum from reading this article, and in the interest of providing a Biblically sound response for my friend who posted this on Facebook, I feel led to finally get myself in gear and write these things down.

I am going to do this in three parts. Today, I am going to interact specifically with Nost’s article and deal with what the text of Scripture actually says, particularly in the texts that she uses. Part Two will be a synthesis of my own study of the Word, the teaching of my Elders, and what I have learned from the Tripps to answer a very important question: What is the goal of parenting, which will have drastic implications for what methods we use and how we use them. Then in Part Three, I will deal with the Non-Aggression Principle and see if I can reconcile it with the teaching of Scripture. Rest assured, if I cannot, the NAP is what goes!

So for starters, go read her article so the things she says are fresh in your mind as you consider my response.

Continue reading Spoil The Child? No really, the Bible DOES Command Spanking. Here’s What it says

Clay Jars, Vines and the Cultural Collision

So apparently, David Haseltine of Jars of Clay has come out as supportive of same-sex marriage via Twitter. Here’s a few soundbites:

Queue the controversy! Michael Brown posted a lengthy response to his comments at Charisma News. My reaction on Facebook was:

Sigh, as usual, we can’t seem to realize that there are two different issues at play here. What homosexuals do or call their relationships have no substantive effect on us. Us not attacking them for their behavior would not be to condone it. Why is this even a debate?

Oh yeah, because of that thing called government that possesses a monopoly on coercive aggression and has declared that we may not use the word “marriage’ without their express consent sought before hand. This issue isn’t really about marriage or homosexuality. It’s about the first amendment. The proper Biblical position is to oppose government licensing and definition of any marriage, returning that role to the church where it belongs, and to commit to only perform Biblical weddings.

Interestingly, Charisma’s article has prompted Haseltine himself to try to clarify himself, so it appears that there’s more to this story, though I haven’t read all of the particulars of it, because I’m not actually here to discuss Haseltine. I mention him because he’s a hot topic, and because he marks the next advance in an ongoing trend in which the enemy is sinking his teeth into the church’s stance on Biblical Authority. It comes in the wake of Al Mohler’s book rebutting Matthew Vines’ assertions that the Bible does not actually teach that Homosexuality is a sin, and it is this issue that I actually want to interact with.

If you’ve read much of my blog, you may know where I’m going, but please stay tuned anyway. This is one of those issues where I feel stuck in the middle, but not really. I don’t side with either Mohler or Vines. I have to confess that I’ve not read Mohler’s book yet, nor have I even had a chance to read through this quasi debate between them, but I’m familiar enough with Mohler that I can guess his position. (by the way if it seems like I pick on Mohler, I can’t give an explanation. I don’t particularly dislike him on a lot of things, but several of his statements lately, such as…., have required comment. Actually, I haven’t commented on that one, have I? Oh well…. Add it to the To Write list….)

I actually watched Vines’ video a while back and wanted to post a rebuttal, but never got around to it, and now that Mohler has come out with his own, I figure the time is right to put it out there. I think this needs to be written and this is the time to do it, because there is a third side to this debate; one that is hardly ever argued; one that is actually Biblical.

In the interest of full disclosure, and for the purpose of context, here is Vines’ lecture in full. Be warned. This is an hour long. You might want to pop some pop corn first, and definitely have your Bible handy. I would also encourage you to get and read Mohler’s book at some point, or at least read through the debate I posted above.

Continue reading Clay Jars, Vines and the Cultural Collision

Property Rights on a Tropical Island

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

Welcome back to my ongoing series in which I interact with the ideas put forth by Adam McIntosh in his article series at The Kuyperian Commentary. In Part 1, I discussed the large degree of agreement there is between us. In Part 2, I interacted with his critique of the Non-Aggression Principle. In Part 3, I discussed the task of separating the Biblical Laws into civil and non-civil categories. I realize this last article was quite a bit rambly, clocking in at 4,000 words! I will need to write more on this subjecxt as I hone my arguments and approach. So if you were a bit confused or unsatisfied, stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Today, however, I want to interact with his Tropical Island analogy.

Continue reading Property Rights on a Tropical Island

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

A Christian Defense of the Non-Aggression Principle

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

This is the second installment in my series responding to the series by Adam McIntosh posted at The Kuyperian Commentary. This article specifically deals with the second part of his analysis, “A Christian Critique of the Non-Aggression Principle.”

My first installment focused on the massive amount of agreement I have with McIntosh. However, I must now turn my attention to the points of disagreement. I have three.

First, I believe he is too quick to dismiss the Non-Aggression Principle. Having exposed Rothbard’s philosophy as being unsurely founded on Natural Law, he seems to set the Non-Aggression Principle aside and disregard it’s legitimacy and the importance of its application.

Second, I disagree with the very brief glimpse he gave into his rubric for extracting Biblical instructions for determining what sins should be considered criminal, and what sins should not. This is the crux of my disagreement with Theonomists, Minarchist or Statist, and I must clarify. If you read my series on a Biblical Theology of Civil Government and Human Authority, you will know that I left this as an open end. I intend to close it in this series.

Finally, I believe he suffers from a faulty understanding of property rights, as demonstrated by his contrived island example. I intend to provide a thorough analysis of his island analogy and demonstrate how property right solves every single one of the proposed problems he raises.

And if you can make it through all of that, I intend to round the series out by going back to the issue of public vs private law enforcement, and explain my idea for how we might solve the problem of funding the criminal justice system without stealing from citizens and without going full on anarchy.

I really do hope you stick around.

In this article, I intend to rebut his dismissal of the Non-Aggression Principle. You may have noticed that I gave a very brief synopsis of his critique in the first installment. I kept it so brief because Part 1 was running rather long, and I didn’t want to drag it out any further. So perhaps it would be good to start this rebuttal with a recap of his argument.

Continue reading A Christian Defense of the Non-Aggression Principle