American History sons-liberty

Published on February 29th, 2012 | by Bojidar Marinov


Libertarianism: A Presuppositional Approach

In my libertarian activities in Bulgaria I often had to confront questions by secular libertarians about the connection between Christianity and libertarianism. My reply was that one can not be a libertarian without the true source of liberty. And the true source of liberty is Jesus Christ. Therefore I can not be a libertarian without Christ. I wrote about it in an earlier article, “Can I be a Libertarian Without Christ?

I also showed in other articles that there is no true libertarianism without Christianity. Secular libertarianism can not defend private property (“Classical Liberalism Has No Place to Stand”; “The Only Possible Defense of Private Property”). It can not present a consistent intellectual defense of liberty (“No Other Single Principle but God and His Image in Man”). It has to borrow all its presuppositions from Christianity to be able to stay coherent and consistent (“Is There a Non-Christian Way to Fly a Plane?”). Not that I am an original thinker who came to this conclusions on my own; I learned from men greater than me. R.J. Rushdoony has shown in many of his books and articles that secular humanism and paganism, when developed to social theory, can not produce anything but statism; it can not produce ideas of individual liberty, rights, property, or limited government, the essence of libertarianism. Gary North has shown in his economic commentaries, as well as in his Political Polytheism, that in the political realm the conflict between God and Satan is translated in a conflict between Moses and Pharaoh: the decentralized, libertarian social order based on individual self-government vs. the centralized, statist order based on central planning and government control. And indeed, these two theonomic writers have based their social theory on the Law of God in the Bible; and the Law of God clearly speaks against centralization of power, and places the burden of social government on the individual, the family, the church, and only lastly, and in a limited way, on the civil government. And even then, the civil government is limited to local decentralized units, the cities.

The history of the Christian civilization also shows that Christians in the past have understood the Biblical political mandate for political decentralization and individual liberty. It was Bishop Ambrose who first told an Emperor that he has no right to enter a private person’s home, a statement that was nothing less than revolutionary for the world at the time. Europe – unlike the non-Christian civilizations in history – never united politically. Quite the opposite, it developed to perfection the ideal of the republic: the complete decentralization of power, even to the point of judicial and legislative independence of the smallest social units like universities and villages. And of course, it was the abandonment of the Christian political ideals that led back to the centralization of political power and the loss of individual liberties in Europe. The history of the American Republic is another great example of Christian political ideals applied in practice: political decentralization, individual liberty, private property, self-government at every level, extremely limited central government.

Libertarianism as a political philosophy, with its ideals of limited government, individual liberty, private property, free markets, self-government, was a product of the European Christian civilization. And it was not a mere coincidence, nor chance. Libertarianism was the logical outcome of the development of the Christian social theory.

Given all that, I have never thought that I would ever meet Christians – theonomic Christians at that, or at least claiming to be theonomic – who would reject the idea that a Christian is by default libertarian. Now, of course, I have met non-theonomic Christians who have statist views – but that’s because they reject the Law of God as valid today, and therefore need to go to the state for their source of law and social order. If God is not the source of law, then it is going to be the state, that is logical.

But theonomic Christians, anti-libertarian? And yet, I met a few of them, speaking against libertarianism with arguments not based on Biblical presuppositions, nor on systematic Biblical theology. At the end, of course, eventually, the argument comes to trying to achieve godly goals – which is the “theonomic” part of the argument – through statist means, that is, more government control, centralized government, and less individual liberty. Somehow the Biblical ideal of self-government and decentralization has been replaced by “godly” statism. Moses has been replaced by a Pharaoh who is supposed to stop abortion and punish sodomy.

The main argument, of course, against libertarianism, starts like this:

“Many libertarians believe…”

That is, because there are people out there who call themselves “libertarians” but hold to some anti-Christian views, therefore Christians should reject libertarianism. In other words, our acceptance of a concept should be based on reactions to what other people are doing, not on whether the concept is in agreement with the Biblical presuppositions.

Seldom do the critics stop to think that such argument applied across the board should lead us to abandon almost every concept, practice, or area of dominion out there. Let’s see:

Many scientists believe that science is incompatible with Christianity. Therefore Christians should reject science as a concept.

Many pagan religions teach patriarchy; it was the center of the social life in pagan Greece and Rome; and in fact, it is central to one of the worst rivals of Christianity, Islam. Therefore Christians should abandon the concept of patriarchy.

Many politicians and political theorists believe that religion should not mix with politics. Therefore Christians should stay out of politics.

Many businessmen believe the moral rules of the Bible to not apply to business. Therefore business can not be a Christian undertaking.

The majority of movie makers in the world are anti-Christian. Therefore Christians should not be involved in making movies.

Many lawyers in the US are self-consciously anti-Christian and believe that legal theory should be divorced from any Christian influence. Therefore there can not be such a thing as a “Christian attorney.”

And so on.

Even worse, such attitude can make Christians be easily manipulated by their cultural enemies. What if enough secular humanists start gathering together on Sunday morning for a mock worship and call their gatherings “church services”? Many secularists have church on Sunday morning. Do we abandon the very concept of a church service because of that? Or, many sodomites call their perverted cohabitation with a person of the same sex “marriage.” Do we abandon the institution of marriage then?

And then, the other argument against libertarianism is a version of the first one: “The definition of libertarianism doesn’t include anything that points to Biblical presuppositions.”

A definition by whom? Usually it turns out it is the definition by Wikipedia, or by the Libertarian Party, or some other non-Christian source. Of course. The definition of “science” given by Wikipedia or by Richard Dawkins doesn’t include anything that points to Biblical presuppositions. We should expect that atheists will twist all the definitions of every good thing out there to erase any Biblical presuppositions from them. But does that make science “anti-Christian” in itself? Do we oppose science as a concept just because of Richard Dawkins and Wikipedia?

But no matter what Richard Dawkins or Wikipedia say about science, are there any non-Christian presuppositions that can lead to the emergence of science as we know it? That’s the question we should ask. That’s the question that a Christian who uses a presuppositional approach should ask about every concept, practice, or idea.

And therefore, our Biblical presuppositional approach to libertarianism must start with the very presuppositions for libertarianism, and the origin of those presuppositions.

Libertarianism, of course, is first and foremost not a religion; it is a political and social philosophy. It is primarily concerned with how the society must be ordered, and how the political order – the civil government – should be established and organized. As a political philosophy, libertarianism in all its forms and nuances promotes the following three principles: freedom from coercion, individual liberty, and the defense of private property. (One may notice that these three correspond to the three basic rights considered by the Founding Fathers to be given by the Creator: Life, Liberty, and Property.) Given the fact that in all societies from the beginning of time the main danger to these three principles of social and political organization has been the political order, or the state, libertarianism has a very specific negative principle in its foundation: limited government, that is, political order that has very limited functions in a society, and also decentralized government, that is, a system of checks and balances, and also of competition between the levels and the institutions within the political order itself. It is important to note that the principle of limited and decentralized government is not conditioned by what kind of government it is, good or bad. Centralized tyrannical government which rules well by good legislation is just as undesirable and immoral for a libertarian as a centralized tyrannical government which rules tyrannically by bad laws. Libertarianism looks to the individual and his self-control as the foundation for the social order.

What are the presuppositions for these principles of libertarianism as outlined above? Do they come from the Bible? Or do they come from any pagan religion or secularist philosophy out there? Or are they shared as presuppositions between the Bible and the pagan religions – which, of course, will mean that there is no antithesis between the Bible and the pagan religions?

A careful analysis of these principles of libertarianism will show us that none of them can be found anywhere in any pagan religion or secular ideology. First of all, of course, there is no pagan religion that looks at the individual as an entity of itself which has a transcendent right to life, liberty, or property. Pagan religions are by default humanistic, that is, unlike the Biblical faith, they do not create human worshipers of a transcendent God. The pagan deities are looked at as serving humans in their human pursuits. “Worship” is not true worship in the Biblical sense, serving a transcendent, absolute God. It is only a means to manipulate and “bind” a deity to do the bidding of a human being. And this bidding is usually set against a universe of other human beings whose will and person must be subdued. Pagans call to their gods when they need to win a battle, plunder a city, prosper economically at the expense of others, or manipulate others to do their bidding. The ultimate example of it is the voodoo practice or manipulating another person against their personality and will through a doll which represents the victim. The gods are not there to provide liberty for another person; nor are they there to enforce an objective, transcendent moral order which favors no person.

Pagan religions, therefore, are always religions of power. The morally high ground is the ground which allows for oppression, manipulation, and immoral appropriation of another person’s property or of the fruits of their labor. If they are not religions of power, they are religions of escapism, of completely erasing the individuality of the worshiper himself, and therefore of surrendering all rights or claims to life, liberty, or property. It is only natural that the end result of all pagan religions is not liberty nor anything close to as libertarian society but an empire: a world of rulers and ruled, a society whose moral order is completely subservient to the ruler or the ruling class.

Secular humanism is not any better than that. It’s ideals do not look at the individual as an entity which deserves to have its own fulfillment or ideals. As the Humanist Manifesto III puts it, “Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.” An individual is not “fulfilled” if he serves his own ideals. Neither is he “fulfilled” if he serves divine ideals. The individuals has existence and fulfillment only insofar as he serves the collective humanity, the total entity of humans. Of course, the final end of all secular humanism is a society where an elite class controls the individuals and sets the goals and the ideals for all. Life, liberty, and property can have any meaning only in the context of the collective existence and the goals of the ruling class. There is no place for libertarianism in secular humanism.

Only in the Biblical worldview can libertarianism’s ideals and principles find presuppositional support and vindication. Only the Bible explicitly establishes the right of the individual to be secure in his life, liberty and property. Only the Bible explicitly subject the political order to the same requirements as the individual. Only the Bible mandates the decentralization of the society into different levels and institutions of government. As R.J. Rushdoony pointed out, the Biblical social order doesn’t limit “government” to civil government only; it establishes the equal ultimacy of the different governments in the society – self, family, church, state. A Biblical social order is therefore a libertarian social order: where the civil government is only minimal, just as the libertarians want it. Rushdoony actually used quite strong words about the libertarian nature of the Biblical social order when he said that “theocracy is the closest thing to radical libertarianism that can be had.” The attempts of some to claim that Rushdoony did not mean it, or that he only used “libertarian” to describe his view of the Biblical social order in a conditional way, not really meaning it, are not supported by the evidence in his books. Not only did he mean that the Bible mandates a libertarian social order, he also called himself a “Christian libertarian.” And there was a good reason for that: R.J. Rushdoony knew very well that libertarianism can not come out of any pagan doctrine or religion; it is Christian by origin and by default. Just like science can only be based on Biblical presuppositions, libertarianism can only be based on Biblical presuppositions to be true libertarianism. If there are atheist scientists, who reject the Bible, they still need to borrow Christian presuppositions to do science, as Van Til pointed out; in the same way, even if there are atheist libertarians, they still need to borrow Christian presuppositions to defend their libertarianism. Without Christian presuppositions there can be no talk about life, liberty, or property. Without Christian presuppositions, there is only one society that can be had: statism.

Gary North’s original title for his economic commentary on Exodus 1-19 was aptly called, Moses and Pharaoh. Indeed, the political battle between a centralized, statist order and a libertarian, decentralized order was not a side issue in the spiritual war. It was the very embodiment of the antithesis between the Law of God and the laws of men. God did not set out to create a theonomic society in Egypt, under Pharaoh and his centralized authority. There was no offer to Pharaoh to institute or enforce the Law of God. The thought didn’t even cross God’s mind, and God never ever envisioned a centralized order which will be theonomic. (In fact, later, in 1 Samuel 8, when the Israelites wanted a king “like the other nations,” God told Samuel that that was because they rejected God as their King.) The very foundation of a theonomic society, the Law of God, started with a clear declaration: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” A theonomic society could not be built under a centralized order; a political liberation was needed before such a society could be built. Conversely, like we saw in 1 Samuel 8, when a people start losing their faith in God, their first desire is not for more freedom but for less; they want a king to control them and rule them, and to enforce the law over them. A rejection of the libertarian social and political order can come only from a rejection of the Christian faith.

Libertarianism, therefore, is simply the political philosophy of the Bible. Men must be free from other men, and secure in their life, liberty, and property, for God’s Kingdom to be able to advance on the earth. Conversely, the alternative to libertarianism is statism, and statism is the political philosophy of paganism and secular humanism. Christians who reject libertarianism are by default statists – they do not understand, or they self-consciously reject liberty as a Biblical value for the social order.

Indeed, those professing Christians who speak against libertarianism usually defend a statist view, expecting a centralized government to take over the civil functions of the local governments, or even of the self-government of the individuals. “The Federal government,” said one of them, “must defend life, and therefore it must pass laws against abortion”; forgetting, apparently, that the defense of life in the Bible was given to the local governments (the cities), not to a centralized royal power. Not to speak about the fact that a government that protects life also takes life away. Can such power be given to a monopolist government which has no competitors? What about the cities of refuge in the Law? How would such check and balance to a judicial power work in a centralized political order? Another claims that the Federal government must enforce laws against prostitution and drug abuse; but in the Law of God these two are sins but not civil crimes. Fornication (as distinct from adultery where the innocent partner takes the adulterer to court, or from a father of a daughter who takes a rapist to court) and consumption of drugs are left to the self-control of the individuals, not to the civil government to control. Others just don’t see what the big difference is between centralized government and local governments, as long as they “enforce the Law of God.” The size of the government or the political system is believed to be morally neutral by some and not subject to the Biblical Law. (“There is nothing in the Bible against centralized government.”) Others yet believe that liberty and political decentralization must come later, after the “important things,” like sodomy and abortion, are first dealt with according to the Biblical Law, even if it takes centralized action in Washington DC to achieve it. Some even say that it is dangerous to claim that the individual must be free from government control because freedom from government control is the same as freedom from God. And others yet find the talk about taxation, the Federal Reserve, regulations, unions, etc., unnecessary and unimportant for a Christian.

All these Christians have basically surrendered to a statist view of society, whether they admit it or not, or whether the are aware of it or not. If a Christian’s political goal is not a theocratic order which is the “closest thing to radical libertarianism that can be had,” then his political goal is statism of some kind. If a Christian, in his political efforts and participation, does not aim at limiting the civil government to the size prescribed by the Biblical Law, then he is not seriously trying to establish the rule and the prerogatives of the other institutions in the society whose place the state has taken: the family and the church. Even worse than that, if a Christian does not work to destroy the centralized political power in the society and decentralize society, he is not working to expand the rule of God as the only centralized Ruler in a society. The Kingdom of God can expand only where there is maximum political and social liberty for the individual, simply because the Kingdom of God is primarily based on self-government, not on political dictate.

Such views make just as much sense as the claims that Christians should not withdraw their children from the public schools but to try to convert the public schools. One can not achieve godly goals through evil means. Godly goals can not be achieved by statist means, as Mark Rushdoony said when commenting on the libertarianism of his father. And R.J. Rushdoony said that for a Christian to be a statist is to “involve a serious contradiction.” And he also called it a “practical denial of Christ.” Indeed, in the final account, no matter how much these Christians expect a central government to enforce the Law of God, it never will. Central governments are by default a consequence of an anti-Biblical ideology; they never enforce Biblical laws; because if they did, the first thing a central government should do is to dismantle itself. The expectation that a centralized government will enforce Biblical laws is schizophrenic.

So, to summarize, libertarianism, in its presuppositions, can be only Christian and nothing else. Granted, there are many who call themselves libertarians but reject Christianity; but just like secular scientists, they are forced to borrow Christian presuppositions to be true libertarians. A Christian must be a libertarian in his political and social philosophy if he wants to be faithful to the Bible. Those professing Christians who reject libertarianism, have adopted a statist worldview, whether they admit it or not, or whether they are aware of it or not. The end of such view is more tyranny, more oppression, and more wickedness. The kingdom of God can only grow in a decentralized society where self-government is the main and first form of government. And that is libertarianism, in its pure and true form.

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About the Author

A Reformed missionary to his native Bulgaria for over 10 years, Bojidar preaches and teaches doctrines of the Reformation and a comprehensive Biblical worldview. Having founded Bulgarian Reformation Ministries in 2001, he and his team have translated over 30,000 pages of Christian literature about the application of the Law of God in every area of man’s life and society, and published those translations online for free. He has been active in the formation of the Libertarian movement in Bulgaria, a co-founder of the Bulgarian Society for Individual Liberty and its first chairman. If you would like Bojidar to speak to your church, homeschool group or other organization, contact him through his website:

41 Responses to Libertarianism: A Presuppositional Approach

  1. Murphree says:

    Ok Bo, just to clarify: Libertarianism will not work unless everyone is Christian? If so, then we should politically pursue to the ideal as close as possible but know that true libertarianism will not work as long as there are unbelievers?

    • Murphree says:

      Also, is true libertarianism anarchism?

      • I am not sure how you made the connection between the two. Rushdoony says that “theocracy is the closest thing to radical libertarianism that can be had.” Would you interpret this as “theocracy is the closest thing to radical anarchism that can be had”?

    • No, such conclusion does not follow from what I wrote. My article was not about whether libertarianism will work or not, it was about the presuppositional origin of libertarianism. Since libertarianism is by its nature Christian (and whatever is not Christian is only twisted, not true libertarianism), libertarianism will always work. Just like science: As long as science is based on true presuppositions, it will always work, even if not every scientist is a Christian, and even if they try to twist it to fit atheist agenda. Same with the Law of God: a nation doesn’t have to be a Christian nation to prosper, if only it self-consciously obeys the Law of God, no matter what the motives for that obedience are.

      The only difference is that in the long term, a pagan nation, even if it obeys the Law of God in one generation, won’t have the long-term commitment unless there is spiritual regeneration. The same with libertarianism: Contrary to the claims of those professing Christians who are statist and anti-libertarian, libertarianism always works, even if it is practiced by non-Christians. The only difference is that long-term, non-Christians will always tend to favor statism over libertarianism, simply because statism is exactly what the heart of the unregenerate man wants. A regenerate heart always wants to see self-government to be the most important level of government in a culture, and self-government is the heart of libertarianism. That’s why Rushdoony said that espousing statism is a “practical denial of Christ.”

      • Murphree says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        When you refer to the Law of God are you talking about the decalogue with or without the many rules and regulations or that which Paul mentioned is in every man’s heart?

        It just that the Mosaic ordinances forbade homosexuality along with other violations (in the same venue as murder) with a centralized Law of the land with local enforcement(?) that secular libertarianism would let be.

        I’m reading Gary North’s book slowly and I haven’t got to Rushdoony yet. I working on it. I really enjoy your posts and article they are very helpful.

  2. aCultureWarrior says:


    Yet another post is “awaiting moderator approval”.

    Sorry we can’t have a conversation here.

  3. aCultureWarrior says:

    I attempted to answer your lastest post Arrow, by showing the words of the FF’s, but evidently the people at AV aren’t interested in the truth.

    • Arrow says:

      You can’t answer my last post with the words of the founding fathers. Our argument is over what you claimed Ron Paul believes, and they did not know Ron Paul.

    • Arrow says:

      Your post is there, I don’t know why you thought it wasn’t.

      I am breaking my promise by once again responding to your inability to think logically…and I promise that if you don’t get it this time I will not respond again.

      You are arguing whether sodomy should be a state crime. I might agree with you. I don’t know if Ron Paul agrees with you or not.

      THE POINT IS that YOU CLAIMED that Ron Paul sees nothing wrong with homosexual marriage.

      NO ARGUMENT over whether homosexual marriage should be legal has any relevance to that point.


      If you cannot agree with the above sentence, you are incapable of logical argument.

  4. aCultureWarrior says:

    Arrow writes:

    “Using your logic, one would have to conclude that if one does not think that the state should outlaw the Jehova’s Witnesses, he thinks it is just fine to be a Jehovah’s Witness.”

    For some reason I’ve never compared a Christian denomination with an act of sodomy. But then I don’t have a “Paulbot” mindset either Arrow.

    • Arrow says:

      Culture Warrior,

      You can call names pretty well, but can’t comprehend simple logic. I was not making a comparison between denominations and sexual behavior. Apparently analogies are a bit over your head.

      Read the following VERY CAREFULLY, slowly, and twice, and hopefully you will be able to understand it:

      My point was that just because someone does not think that something should be a civil crime (that means “illegal”) does not mean that they think it is morally acceptable (that means “ok”).

      Get it?

  5. aCultureWarrior says:

    Obviously Bo doesn’t remember me as aSeattleConservative from the old AV blog, the one that lil Jimmy D ran into the ground because he allowed his Libertarian friends to run it.

    I schooled you on Christian Libertarianism and how fraudulent it is because it doesn’t acknowledge the civil magistrate as a legimate institution behind the governance of men.

    Regarding my typo: When you don’t have anything of substance to refute a post with, look for typographical errors.

    • Arrow says:

      I have never met a Christian Libertarian who does not believe that the civil magistrate is a legitimate institution. And I’ve met pretty many of them. I know that there are a few people who believe this but they are so few as to be insignificant.

      Perhaps you could give an example of someone who either writes posts or comments on this website who thinks this.

      • aCultureWarrior says:

        I’d love to:

        “My point was that just because someone does not think that something should be a civil crime (that means “illegal”) does not mean that they think it is morally acceptable (that means “ok”).”

        There is no “neutrality” when it comes to sexual deviancy, either the law promotes it, or it attempts to defeat it. If you think that “consensual adults” can keep their perversion behind closed doors, boy Arrow, you need to get out more.

      • Arrow says:

        Culture Warrior, by commenting:

        “There is no “neutrality” when it comes to sexual deviancy, either the law promotes it, or it attempts to defeat it. If you think that “consensual adults” can keep their perversion behind closed doors, boy Arrow, you need to get out more.”

        you once again demonstrate that you do not comprehend simple logic. Remember, the thing we are debating is your claim that Ron Paul “thinks homosexual marriage is ok”. I’m going to try to explain this one more time; if you cannot understand my explanation, I cannot continue a discussion because a discussion of this type requires logic. Here goes:

        1. Ron Paul does not think that the federal government should rule on marriage. This is a matter of simple constitutionality; the Constitution definitely reserves this to the states and the people.

        2. IF Ron Paul thinks that state and local governments should not rule on it, and that therefore homosexuals could be “married”, I would probably disagree with him (although government defining marriage is a complicated issue) BUT IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE THINKS HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE IS OK.



        CAN YOU GET THAT?????????????????????


        GOT IT???

        We can disagree with what Ron Paul thinks about civil government legislating on marriage, but it DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE THINKS HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE IS OK.

        There are others beside him who think that allowing the government to define marriage is dangerous, because marriage is ALREADY defined by God, and all a government could possibly add to it is error. For that reason, some think that government should not have the power to define marriage, but THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY THINK HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE IS OK.

        GOT IT?

      • aCultureWarrior says:


        If Ron Paul is going to use “States Rights” as an excuse for redefining marriage, then he should look at how the Founding Fathers (the one’s that wrote the Constitution) viewed homosexuality:

        “Whosoever shall be guilty of Rape, Polygamy, or Sodomy with man or woman shall be punished, if a man, by castration, if a woman, by cutting thro’ the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half inch diameter at the least.”
        Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Proportioning Crimes and Punishments

        Or how about this one?:

        “It can be safely said that the attitude of the Founders on the subject of homosexuality was precisely that given by William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws–the basis of legal jurisprudence in America and heartily endorsed by numbers of significant Founders. In addressing sodomy (homosexuality), he found the subject so reprehensible that he was ashamed even to discuss it. Nonetheless, he noted:

        ‘What has been here observed . . . [the fact that the punishment fit the crime] ought to be the more clear in proportion as the crime is the more detestable, may be applied to another offence of a still deeper malignity; the infamous crime against nature committed either with man or beast. A crime which ought to be strictly and impartially proved and then as strictly and impartially punished. . . . I will not act so disagreeable part to my readers as well as myself as to dwell any longer upon a subject the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature [sodomy].

        Oh and Bo, the law is “coercion”; “…But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

    • Arrow says:

      You “schooled” Bo? I’ve read both your stuff and Bo’s…?…well, maybe I’d just have to take your word for it.

  6. Gazinya says:

    John Adams said ‘this Constitution is only for a moral and religious people. It will not work for any other.’ I read Mr. Marinovs’ article slowly and out loud. I thoroughly enjoyed and agreed with this argument. What may have been missed by some is one of the bases for Christian Libertarianism and that is the useful term ‘self-control’. Self-control, to me, is being able to decide which is good and which is evil. Being human the default setting for humans, as stated in the article, is evil.

    I believe there are two worldviews. The first view was given us in the first sentence of the Bible and was reaffirmed by Jesus. “In the beginning God created….”. Jesus said, “First seek the kingdom and rightousness of God and He will give you all these other things.” The second world view was given us by Satan in that he said, “You shall not surly die but be like God, knowing good and evil.” Man chose evil. So I need to be taught what is, in the mind of God, good, rightous and what was evil. Thus invoking a self-dicipline that I submit to my Heavenly Father.

    Jesus also said, “To love one another as you love yourself and to do unto others as you would have done unto you is the SUM of the law and prophets.” It is in self-control and self-dicipline that I am able to exercise that philosophy. I may wish to stop those that are doing things I find abusive but it is not mandated that I force them to submit to my worldview. It is obvious that the second worldview is the, temporarily, winning view so the pressure to avoid ‘be in the world and not of the world’ is increasing sharply. The idea that ‘In God We Trust’ has been reduced to ‘jingoism’ so has the idea of Christian Libertarism.

    I don’t see Paul or the other Repub candidates using any of these arguments to seperate themselves from each other or The Obama. There is a fear in this country to use ‘Biblical……’ anything or ‘Law of God’ to frame any discussion except in quite conversation. Our churchs have given, as the individual and the family their God given authority to express Christian Libertarianism to the secular humanists or the paganistic religions and have accepted the ‘you shall not surly die’ worldview.

    • Arrow says:

      Actually. Ron Paul, in one of the debates, cited Jesus’ “golden rule”, and was booed for it by an audience of…presumably…conservative Christians.

      • aCultureWarrior says:

        Ah yes Arrow, that great Christian Libertarian Ron Paul who voted to allow homosexuals into the military, and see’s nothing wrong with homosexual so-called “marriage”.

        Christian Libertarianism is a fraudulent movement, as they want to leave the civil magistrate out of the moral law making equation.

      • Arrow says:

        Culture Warrior, if we are going to win the culture war we have to know what we are talking about.

        1. Ron Paul never said he sees nothing wrong with homosexual marriage, to my knowledge, and I follow pretty closely. Do you know of something that I missed?

        2. I am not comfortable with all of RP’s ideas about homosexuality; it is one of the few areas that I find some disagreement with him. Having said that, the issue is deeper than you may think, for instance the question of whether marriage is an issue that the state has any right to rule on whatsoever…or should it be left to the church entirely? I’m not going to debate that here because it is not the topic of this article.

        3. You have stated your opinion of Christian libertarianism but have not provided any compelling ideas.

      • aCultureWarrior says:

        1. Paul said he believes that states should have the right to legalize gay marriage, marijuana, and prostitution if they choose to do so.
        2. If we pervert what God has planned for man and woman as seen in the Book of Genesis, the foundation for mankind is lost.
        3. I’ve gone over this topic ad nauseum with Bo before.

        • I’ve gone over this topic ad nauseum with Bo before.

          It must have been with another Bo, not me. I don’t recall “going over this topic ad nauseam” with anyone with your level of argument. Yes, you only state your personal opinions, very poorly supported by facts and logic, if at all, and I usually avoid “going over topics” with anyone that only thinks in terms of his personal opinions and never listens to facts and logic.

          So, please, do not use my name to justify your own preferred subjective opinions. You are free to write anything your brain produces (as long as it is not obscenities) but it is very certain you have not written a single sensible argument so far that I would find compelling to “go over ad nauseam.”

          Oh, and it is “ad nauseAm.”

      • E Harris says:

        Bo: “You are free to write anything your brain produces…”

        Yea. How else could I have written so much on this website? lol

        Thanks Bo!

      • Arrow says:

        Culture Warrior, I said:

        “1. Ron Paul never said he sees nothing wrong with homosexual marriage, to my knowledge, and I follow pretty closely. Do you know of something that I missed?”

        To which you replied:

        “Paul said he believes that states should have the right to legalize gay marriage, marijuana, and prostitution if they choose to do so.”

        Using your logic, one would have to conclude that if one does not think that the state should outlaw the Jehova’s Witnesses, he thinks it is just fine to be a Jehovah’s Witness.

        Can you see that? The idea is that just because one thinks that the government should not make something illegal, it does not mean that they think it’s ok.

        There is a good argument that the government should have no involvement in marriage whatsoever. Regardless of where you stand on that, it is not good to conclude that someone thinks homosexual marriage is “ok” based on their position on this issue.

    • Cindy Mulvey says:

      Every man has a religion, so to speak, they might not call it one, I know I for one do not practice life I still Live I use to be a Christian, but, I would refuse to call it a religion.

  7. aCultureWarrior says:

    “Conversely, the alternative to libertarianism is statism, and statism is the political philosophy of paganism and secular humanism. Christians who reject libertarianism are by default statists – they do not understand, or they self-consciously reject liberty as a Biblical value for the social order.”

    Of course a “statist” would be someone like Dr. Archie P. Jones who believes that the civil magistrate does have a role in the governance of men (along with the family and church), as seen in Romans 13:4, right Bo?

  8. It was Bishop Ambrose who first told an Emperor that he has no right to enter a private person’s home, a statement that was nothing less than revolutionary for the world at the time.

    Can anyone give me a citation for this. If you can, I definitely want to be able to reference this in the future.

  9. Brother of the King says:

    “Libertarianism, of course, is first and foremost not a religion; it is a political and social philosophy.”

    This is a contradiction in terms. Any philosophy is necessarily a worldview, and thus, a religion.

    “Conversely, the alternative to libertarianism is statism, and statism is the political philosophy of paganism and secular humanism. Christians who reject libertarianism are by default statists – they do not understand, or they self-consciously reject liberty as a Biblical value for the social order.”

    This goes completely in the face of the idea of the one and the many, as stated by Rushdoony. Reject the “one-ist” for the “many-ist”. Rushdoony specifically told us that any doctrine that propounds only collectivism and rejects individualism or rejects collectivism and propounds individualism, is necessarily a pagan doctrine. Libertarianism is completely an individualist worldview. Each man as his own god, who owns himself, is the sole person who has power over himself. If you infringe upon another god’s, sorry, I mean, another person’s rights you’ve broken into the divine nature of individual (which libertarians usually refer to as sovereignty). Government should only have the power to protect “liberty”, it should not be “legislating morality” or “forcing its own definitions on people.” This is a complete rejection of theonomy. And if it doesn’t sound like paganism, I don’t know what doesn’t.

    It also presents a form of dualism which mirrors the dualistic ideas of Two-Kingdom Theology. Basically, you’re either one or other, either statist or individualist. And if you reject one, you’re necessarily pro- the other.

    And no, liberty is not the fundamental Biblical value of social order, the Law of God is. Liberty is only a blessing that comes from adherence to the Law of God, both as a society and as individuals. To claim that it is the fundamental value of a Christian society is to make it god.

    “The very foundation of a theonomic society, the Law of God, started with a clear declaration: ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’”

    Okay, so here is a question: if political freedom is the foundation for a Christian society, then why didn’t Jesus first rescue Israel from the tyrannical rule of the Roman empire, like the Pharisees wished, before preaching the Kingdom of God? Also, let’s look at the early church: was their message a message about liberty? Did they rail against the tyrannical government in Rome and plead for liberty? No. Instead, they proclaimed a higher King, Jesus, to whom everybody, including the emperor, must bow down.

    Let’s look at Peter: when the Pharisees told him and the disciples to stop preaching the Kingdom, did Peter curse them as a tyrannical central government? No, he just said “We’ll obey God rather than men.” Nothing about liberty. Nothing about destroying tyrannical government. Only about obeying God.
    “Pagan religions, therefore, are always religions of power.”

    This is completely false. Look at the French revolutionaries. What was their worldview: man is god. Not collective man, but individual man. Thus, absolute liberty is a necessary must for their worldview. And what did absolute liberty bring them? Destruction and death. This is the end for all worshippers of the idol of individual man and his accomplice, the idol of liberty.

    Lastly, libertarianism is no different from socialism when it comes to presuppositions: both believe that man is ultimately perfectible and is not deprived. The fight between them is about which man, individual or collective? Libertarianism says individual man, socialism says collective man. Libertarianism, like socialism, believes that if you put man in the right environment, you’ll fix him up. In the case of socialism, it’s a perfect utopian society where everything is shared between everybody. In the case of libertarianism it’s the free market with absolutely no government regulations. Both are anti-Biblical, and that is why Christians today need to reject both socialism and libertarianism.

    • Aaron Siver says:

      Those are some very good comments, very much at the heart of what I was fumbling about attempting to express. Thanks.

      • Brother of the King says:

        I could have added a lot more, but my post was getting long.

        Here are a few more comments:

        This article claims to be a presuppositional approach to libertarianism, however, it is far from it. Let’s go back to Van Til, the father of presuppositionalism. One of the arguments he makes in his writings is that any anti-Biblical thought is necessarily a form of dualism. Well, this article presents exactly a dualistic view of political thought, that either you’re a statist or a libertarian and nothing else. That’s dualism to the core. So, no, if anything it is not a presuppositional approach to libertarianism.

        Libertarianism, because of its dualistic nature of looking at things, has parallels in Two-Kingdom Theology, another form of dualism. Two-Kingdom Theology, with its emphasis on the “free will” of man to choose between God and sin, parallels the libertarian striving for political freedom. In Two-Kingdom Theology, the secular or anti-Christian kingdom is usually considered to have the state as its king. This also parallels the libertarian disgust for government. Libertarianism (at least, minarchist libertarianism) looks upon government as a sort of necessary evil, and in the same way, Two-Kingdom believers hold that participation in the secular kingdom is necessary evil, because we are in this world. I could draw quite a few more parallels between the two.

    • The Reformed Citizen says:

      “This is a contradiction in terms. Any philosophy is necessarily a worldview, and thus, a religion.”

      There is much in your response that is incorrect but I wanted to point out this error especially. A philosophy is not necessarily a worldview or a religion. A worldview can contain various branches of philosophy and therefore one branch does not make up an entire worldview. For example, a Christian of the reformed tradition will adhere to a specific epistemology. I think it is a far stretch to say their philosophical positions on knowledge are therefore a religion in themselves.

      The same is said about a political philosophy. The political philosophy of libertarianism is a part of a world view but it does not make up the entirety of a worldview. The core tenet of libertarianism is how to deal with the use of force. Even within the political philosophy of libertarianism there are various branches so one must be careful when critiquing libertarianism as a whole.

    • Lee says:

      “This is completely false. Look at the French revolutionaries. What was their worldview: man is god. Not collective man, but individual man. Thus, absolute liberty is a necessary must for their worldview. And what did absolute liberty bring them? Destruction and death. ”

      I am afraid this is all I have to comment on…

      Correct me if I am wrong (For I very well may be), but wasn’t the Napoleonic era just after the Revolution? If so, that death you speak of may have actually come from a man who made grand assertions about his ability to provide for the individual man. In believing those assertions, the French individual submitted his liberty to a militaristic ruler, and then died following that ruler into Russia.

      • Brother of the King says:

        By the death and destruction of the French Revolution, I was referring to the guillotining of the French nobility. which did not occur during Napoleon’s time, but before him.

  10. Aaron Siver says:

    I’ve also been enjoying some fine Rushdoony audio material lately, so it was a delight to see his name come up in your post. :-)

  11. Aaron Siver says:

    Thanks, Bo.

    So, where do Christian Libertarianism and Secular Libertarianism diverge at level of specific policy positions? Not that I disagree with anything that has been said above, but would I be correct to say that the Christian strain of libertarianism puts a great deal of liberty in the economic and political realms but has a bit more reservation in the social realm? It seems to me that the secularist’s libertarian ethical principle is one of total liberty in behavior so long as it does not infringe upon or interfere with the total liberty of another person. There is no way we can support that in principle when applied to a whole host of behaviors—sexual deviancy of every sort stands out most in my mind as a prime example. Not that I’m necessarily advocating state laws against every last moral offense (whether now or in years to come when the culture is able to bear them), but can theonomic Christians even be considered libertarian in this sphere of life? Wouldn’t a Christian Libertarian have to be a social conservative to be biblically consistent? Perhaps that gets to the difference in ethical principles. If the secular brand is run on self-actualization, then it seems to me that the Christian brand is run on God’s Law. It seems almost a matter of coincidence that there is any overlap in economic and political policies between Christian Theonomics and Secular Libertarianism. Am I understanding this rightly? Applied specifically to the current Republican primary process, this is my central qualm with Ron Paul (which is not to overlook his many advantages as a candidate). I do appreciate his desire to push lots of issues down to the state level where they belong but not so each state can enact wickedness in a proper constitutional manner. Strengthened states’ rights is just the beginning, correct? States have to be reformed to govern justly too, right?


    • Matthew says:

      Hey Mr. Siver,

      Don’t you think that the political and economic realms are moral/social too? I’m not sure how to adjust one realm without it changing something in the other realms. Seems to me that theonomic Christians give everyone a lot of liberty, even say, homosexuals (yes I know, a hot button issue). Unless an act is public and seen by at least two (willing to act) witnesses, then there isn’t much concern. God’s Law is pretty brief (e.g. can be fit on two pages in small print). If we look at Secular, Islamic, Catholic, or even Jewish law systems, all of the sudden we are dealing with a huge amount of man-made law. Some people make it seem that if we lived under God’s Law, heads would roll every day. I bet that people would simply adjust their behaviors based on the incentives and disincentives offered by God’s Law. I doubt everyone would, say, stop fornicating, but perhaps they would be more private about the matter; but, some probably would stop fornicating, especially over many generations.

      BTW: Does anyone here know what Ron Paul would do if states were allowing murder of adults to go unpunished?



      • Aaron Siver says:

        Hi Matthew,

        I don’t mean to say (and I hope I didn’t say, since I tried carefully not to) that the economic and political realms are not moral realms; I deeply believe they are very morally important realm. God is appalled by unjust weights and measures and by partiality in civil judgments as he is by drunkenness, theft, murder, and adultery in the land. I’m saying that secular libertarianism is based on the idea of an absolute right to autonomy, which is utterly unbiblical, whereas the Scriptures teach a very different concept of liberty than that. The two happen to agree a lot when it comes to economics and from time to time when it comes to politics yet very infrequently when it comes to sociology. Christianity recognizes a concept of self-government along with the malady of sinful corruption. My reading of theonomy is that it’s quite antithetical to absolute autonomy in the realm of the individual’s social behaviors. That doesn’t mean the state needs to be (or should be) legislating everything, but there are laws from God governing that realm. Secular libertarians don’t recognize or agree with that because they don’t acknowledge idolatry and fallen nature of man.

        I wouldn’t say that God’s Law fits on a couple of pages. God’s law is far bigger than just the 10 commandments. In the broadest sense of the term (torah: instruction), the entire Bible is God’s Law (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The whole Bible is good instructional material for all of life.

        As to what Ron Paul would or wound not do as President if the states were allowing murder of adults to go unpunished, that goes to highlight the difficulty of just kicking an issue down to the states. On the one hand, all laws against murder are state laws; it’s the states’ responsibility. Yet the U.S. Constitution guarantees protection of all citizens against loss of life, liberty, and property without due process. On would think that it should be just as simple with abortion. If the child is human and descended from two U.S. citizens, then it’s a U.S. citizen entitled to the protection of the federal government as stated. The trouble comes when we get into grey areas outside the original intent of “life, liberty, and property” where states have clear jurisdiction to make laws that the federal government has no power over (10th amendment).


    • Semper Reformanda says:

      Would one possible solution be that the federal government is strictly libertarian, while leaving the legislation of social issues up to the state and local governments? I don’t know – just thinking aloud here.

      • Caleb says:

        Every level of civil government must adhere to biblical law. For example, if the Supreme Court has prerogative to hear appeals from state courts and lower federal courts, it needs to base its decisions on biblical law. If it bases its decisions on libertarian law, it would overturn many attempts by a state or lower court to rule according to biblical law (e.g., when the state or lower court violates the libertarian principle of “live and let live as long as no one is defrauded or coerced”). The Constitution must not and cannot absolve any level of government from acknowledging Christ as highest political authority or ruling according to biblical law. That does not mean that all matters should be adjudicated at the highest level from the get-go; we learn from the example of Moses that a local and decentralized approach is more practical, but the appeals process is also biblical. No level of civil government can abandon the standard of biblical law (sometimes this is expressed as “common law,” which is defined as the application of the “general equity” or “universal principles” of biblical law to specific historical situations). The issue is quite plain, actually.

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