Articles Liberty Defined

Published on April 12th, 2012 | by Dr. Joel McDurmon

115

Theonomy’s “Radical Libertarianism”

Opinions have been exchanged over the relationship between Christianity and libertarianism. Some of these have had reference to the heritage of theonomy (or Christian Reconstruction) and the use of the term “libertarianism.” One writer criticizes “professing theonomists” who support the modern Liberty movement with appeal to R.J. Rushdoony’s works:

if Rushdoony ever used the term “libertarian” to describe himself, these professing theonomists commit the fallacy of equivocation. For if Rushdoony considered himself a libertarian, he certainly did not mean it in the sense Ron Paul does. Thus while Ron Paul and Rushdoony may have in common the word libertarianism, they surely do not have in common its meaning; they might as well use two different words.

While I would certainly acknowledge a particular foundational theological difference between the two overall philosophies,(1) the practical political platform of both is strikingly similar. They had much more than the mere word in common.

And we know that whatever is held in common here is ultimately borrowed theonomic capital.

More importantly, in most cases, it is this practical aspect—lower taxes, honest money, balanced budgets, minimal government, end to empire, etc.—to which both sides refer with the label “libertarian,” and thus the charge of equivocation does not hold up. For in the scope of political structure and law, the two in fact do have the same meaning.

This is clear from Rushdoony’s writings. Rushdoony (RJR) strongly compared his view of civil government (“theocracy”) to libertarianism—and not just libertarianism, but “the closest thing to radical libertarianism that can be had.” He wrote,

Few things are more commonly misunderstood than the nature and meaning of theocracy. It is commonly assumed to be a dictatorial rule by self-appointed men who claim to rule for God. In reality, theocracy in Biblical law is the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.(2)

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Let that sink in: “the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.”

This was not from some occasional article or passing thought. It was from a Chalcedon Foundation Position Paper, titled “The Meaning of Theocracy.” If this is not a definitive statement, nothing is.

In other words, just to be clear: in terms at least of political platform, Rushdoony’s theonomic theocracy was “the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had.”

It is important to note here that RJR was not redefining “libertarian.” He was not defining “libertarian” in terms of his theocratic views, but just the opposite. He was defining theonomy in terms of the commonly understood libertarianism of his day—which would have been theoretically secular and humanistic at its foundation (though some Christians embraced it).

In other words, RJR he could praise this secular “radical libertarianism” for its political theory without personally accepting its theological foundations. The point was that anything which reduces the power of the state to its biblical proportions is an improvement toward a biblical society, and thus is to some degree welcome:

What we today fail to see, and must recapture, is the fact that the basic government is the self-government of covenant man; then the family is the central governing institution in Scripture. . . . Civil government must be one form of government among many, and a minor one.(3)

Indeed, “The state in Scripture is a minimal institution, and so too is the church as an institution. The rule of God’s law is essentially through the lives of men as they apply their faith, and as they create tithe agencies to govern various areas and needs. Where faith wanes, then theocracy wanes.(4)

Perhaps without irony, Rushdoony’s “minimal institution” finds a counterpart in the Libertarian Party’s own tagline: “Minimum government, Maximum freedom.” This is, of course, not to endorse the Libertarian Party, but only to show the basic goal in regard to political power is nearly identical.

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None of this is to say RJR did not qualify his own view, or to ignore his critiques of the philosophical foundations of humanism. But it does mean that as far as the goal of minimizing statist power and political centralization—the two philosophies can work together to promote the common benefit of minimal government.

There is more that must be said in regard to this, and I will write about it in the near future, but for now, it is important to clear the air on this matter.

So let it be clear, Rushdoony did not necessarily, in all contexts, have a different definition of “libertarianism” from the political platform per se.

Nor did he find it necessary constantly to distant himself from secular or “humanistic” libertarians as if by working with them his own message would be compromised.

This latter point is important as the same critic from above has made it a point: he implies it is unacceptable even to recognize secular libertarians in a book, or to give “such libertarians as Rothbard, F. A. Hayek, and Ludwig Von Mises” public approbation.

But RJR was unabashed in his approbation for these very guys,(5) and many more. Consider the Introduction to his Roots of Inflation:

One of the encouraging facts of our time is the rise of many able economists who are calling attention to the economic fallacies of our time. These are men of the Austrian school in the main. My debt to them is great. . . . The writings of many men, such as Von Mises, Röpke, Hazlitt, Greaves, Reisman, and many, many more have taught me much.(6)

The same Intro acknowledges Gary North and other Christians, but also adds a hat tip to secular libertarian think tank, “The Foundation for Economic Education” (FEE). RJR actually did some of his early writing for FEE.

If there were ever a time to be concerned over equivocation, it would have using a libertarian publication to advance such a libertarian message, especially if you meant something different by “libertarian” than they did.

Rush apparently had no qualms about their relationship, or about using secular libertarians or libertarian organizations to advance his message.

Further, Rush footnoted their works as authorities on particular subjects: it appears he took part of his critique of meritocracy from Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty, as his footnote reveals.(7) He sourced that very Ludwig von Mises (Human Action) and Hayek again (this time Capitalism and the Historians) in order to support a claim about leftist revisionism.(8) Elsewhere, he cited Von Mises’ view of “a harmony of interests” within a free-market economy.(9)

Sometimes he went beyond mere footnote. On one notable occasion, RJR wrote, “One of the more important books of this century was Albert Jay Nock’s Our Enemy, The State (Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, 1935ff.).”

Nock was a one-time Episcopal minister who had left the clergy and, it appears, the faith altogether. He spent his later years as something of a recluse bordering on misanthropy.

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And it is not that RJR did not know these things: he acknowledged their differences. He went on to say of Nock:

Without agreeing with Nock in all things, it is necessary to agree with him that the modern state is man’s new church and saving institution. The state, however, is an anti-social institution, determined to suppress and destroy all the historic and religiously grounded powers of society. With F.D. Roosevelt and The New Deal, the goal of the statists became openly “the complete extinction of social power through absorption by the State.”(10)

Apparently, Rush had no problem with applauding the libertarian principles of people who did not fully share his Christian view of libertarianism—even if they were secular, agnostic libertarians.

Indeed, he thought Nock had written one of the most important books in the whole last century. Indeed, RJR said “it is necessary to agree with him.”

Sometimes, it is necessary to agree even with secular libertarians.

Not only did RJR footnote and uphold these guys himself, he published other people who did, too. He published Gary North’s articles in the appendices to his Institutes. In these appendices, North footnotes Mises three times(11) and later refers to F. A. Hayek’s “masterful book” The Road to Serfdom.(12) There was no outcry from Rushdoony as publisher.

Like I said, there is much more to say on this issue. In fact, it will be vital for me in the near future to make some important delineations. But for now, it is important to understand that the charge of equivocation against us theonomists who point to congruities between the political platforms of Rushdoony and representatives of the Liberty movement is absolutely unfounded.

There is no reason, then, for the sake of the advance of liberty, that we should distance ourselves from the vital contributions of the libertarian-minded in this regard.

This leaves open the question of to what extent a theonomist could support particular libertarians in office—which also raises important questions in turn. For example, if the choice for a president, or a nominee, were between a libertarian-ish Evangelical—who was not purely theonomic in his philosophical foundations—and any form of statist, wouldn’t this still technically be a “lesser of two evils” vote? Is there any difference in these types of cases at all? Are the differences in degree only, or also in principle? I hope to get to these questions before, say, late August.

In the meantime I think the liberty movement is vitally important in the sense that it is raising awareness, and more importantly, asking very candid and tough questions that have not been asked for centuries. This fervor and honesty must continue for future decades if real change is to come. And ultimately, the movement must grow foundationally Christian or it will fail.

The question now is about how best to proceed in the work of advancing liberty.

For the goals of the liberty movement, it will not be sufficient to achieve the presidency. It may, in fact, not even be necessary; but it certainly will not be sufficient. Liberty is not achieved through the mechanisms of tyranny—that is, the very offices of the central State that bred the tyranny to begin with.

Even if we, through the presidency, successfully stripped away all the tyranny that has grown up since 1789, what good would it do to takes us back to the top of the same slippery slope we’ve already gone down? It would be at best a holding action. A greater foundational change is needed.

Rush is clear that this must be done by spread of the Gospel and Christian self-government, not by top-down political implementation:

The essential government comes from the self-government of the Christian man. The U.S. was best governed when it was least governed, not because less control from the state was the essential ingredient but because Christian self-government was central in the eras of good government. Without strong, self-governing Christians taking back self-government under Christ in health, welfare, education, and more, we cannot return by politics to less statism.(13)

What this type of statement does is alert us to the main political enemy: statism.

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In light of this, the modern liberty movement has Christian enemies on two fronts: those who are statists, and those who are too pure to acknowledge a “libertarian” who is not theonomic enough.

The truth is that there are very few if any of the latter. Most are some form of statist when it comes down to it, and statism is by far the greater enemy than too much liberty.

And while RJR rightly believed we could not roll back statism by mere politics alone, it is a much greater shame that so many Christians ignore or dismiss the liberty movement for largely bogus reasons while trying to achieve aspects of a biblical society (life, marriage) through the unbiblical means of the central state.

RJR would applaud the modern Liberty movement, even if he would critique its theological foundations. But as for the statists, RJR called their attempts “the practical denial of Christ.”(14)

Choose this day whom you will serve.Endnotes:

  1. and it is ultimately vital, and I would side with Rushdoony()
  2. Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 63.()
  3. Roots, 64.()
  4. Systematic Theology: In Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 2:1141.()
  5. With the exception of Rothbard.()
  6. Ross House Books, 1982, i.()
  7. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (The Craig Press, 1973), 643n.()
  8. Intellectual Schizophrenia (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1961 [reprinted 2002]), 15.()
  9. Roots of Inflation, 85.()
  10. Roots of Reconstruction (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1991), 65.()
  11. pp. 802, 804, 806()
  12. p. 819()
  13. Systematic Theology, 2:1142; my emphasis.()
  14. The Foundations of Social Order, 170.()
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About the Author

Dr. Joel McDurmon

Joel McDurmon, Ph.D. in Theology from Pretoria University, is the Director of Research for American Vision. He has authored seven books and also serves as a lecturer and regular contributor to the American Vision website. He joined American Vision's staff in the June of 2008. Joel and his wife and four sons live in Dallas, Georgia.



115 Responses to Theonomy’s “Radical Libertarianism”

  1. E Harris says:

    Wow, I’d say Joel must have hit a nerve. This is probably the first time AV has had over a hundred comments under one article. 107 and counting…

  2. aCultureWarrior says:

    Caleb writes:

    “Ron Paul believes, according to the Constitution, that the Federal government should leave this issue to the states. If you want to argue with his interpretation of the Constitution on this point, that’s fine. I don’t have a dog in that fight, however.”

    First let me applaud you for defining what Libertarianism is all about (non aggresssion is a big part of it). Now show me a law that can be enforced without aggression.

    Regarding the Constitution and the men that wrote it: It’s pretty clear where they stood on moral issues such as homosexuality.
    Sin is not a “states rights issue”, the sooner Ron Paul acknowledges that, the sooner he can call himself a Christian conservative instead of a Loonatarian.

  3. aCultureWarrior says:

    Arrow writes:

    “Ron Paul is correct that marriage is no business of the federal government. He is incorrect that homosexuals should be able to “marry”.

    Would prohibiting slavery or sex with children be the business of the federal government if some misguided state should decide to legislate in favor of those sins? (A Libertarian would then answer “But those acts aren’t consensual!” To which I would reply “God doesn’t recognize “consensual morality” as a standard for mankind to follow.”).

    Arrow continues with:

    “Culture Warrior, if God disallows someone eternal life because they hold a mistaken belief, you are in for a monumental disappointment.”

    You’re confusing the words “mistaken” with “defiant” here Arrow. God is very clear about somethings, and homosexuality is one of them. If you need to hear the words of Ron Paul himself telling John Lofton that he doesn’t think that homosexuality is a sin, email Mr. Lofton and I’m certain that he can provide the audio for you.

    • Arrow says:

      Is there any legislative power that you think the federal government should NOT have?

      “People are being killed because XYZ state has an 80 MPH speed limit. This is immoral and must be overruled from Washington”

      “God condemns gluttony. The states refuse to limit the fat content of hamburgers, it is the duty of the federal government to force laws to limit fat intake”

      “Smoking…”

      “drugs…”

      “marriage…”

      etc. etc. etc.

      • aCultureWarrior says:

        Arrow:

        I’m a huge proponent of states rights, but our Founding Fathers didn’t coin the phrase and write documents with the intention that the respective states could legitimize sodomy or the murder of the innocent unborn. Libertarians like Ron Paul have prostituted the meaning of “states rights”. Remember, “Our constitution was made ONLY for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

        It’s a sad day in America when it’s populace thinks that people and the respective states that they live in have a right to sin. Perhaps it’s time to scrap the entire Constitution if people think that it stands for the legalization of sodomy, murdering the unborn, and getting hiiiiiigh off of crack cocaine.

        And leave it to a Libertarian to compare an overweight guy eating too much (gluttony) to homosexuality.

      • Arrow says:

        First of all, if you had read more carefully, you would not have made the mistake of thinking that I was comparing gluttony with homosexuality. I was asking YOU just how far you think the power of the federal government should reach, given that you apparently reject the limitations placed on it by the Constitution.

        Second, you are correct when you state that America’s problems are the result of a loss of morality. But I believe that increasing and centralizing power in the hands of the Federal government is not a good solution at all, and will lead to godless tyranny.

        Third, I agree that RP’s stated viewpoints on homosexuality are not good. You have picked his weakest point and tried to make it his defining characteristic. I only hope that judge other politicians as strictly.

        Last, the same goes for “libertarianism”. Many here have cherry picked the fringe ideas of the movement and tried to characterized the entire philosophy on that basis. I believe that, properly understood, and properly practiced, libertarianism is in agreement with scripture.

    • Arrow says:

      You REALLY want Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Ruth Ginsberg to have power over marriage in your town?

      • aCultureWarrior says:

        I don’t want the above to rule us no more than I want the moral relativist Ron Paul to rule us.

        Remember what Romans 13:4 says Arrow:

        “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. ”

        The civil magistrate very well can’t execute wrath on those who practive evil when they themselves are doing it.

        It’s time to get good Christian men (and women) back into public office and do what God intended the civil magistrate to do:

        Good as seen through His eyes.

      • Arrow says:

        Culture warrior says:

        “It’s time to get good Christian men (and women) back into public office…”

        1. Can you name any?

        2. What, specifically, are your criteria?

      • Robert Davidson says:

        You are wasting your time with aCultureWarrior. He and others in this thread who attack Ron Paul without providing a practical alternative solution remind me of the old joke about the Christian who’s house is caught in a rising flood.

        A truck comes by and the driver offers a ride to safety but the Christian says, “No thanks – I’ve prayed and have faith that God will save me.” Just when the waters reach the second story a boat arrives but the captain gets the same response, “No thanks – I’ve prayed and have faith that God will save me.” The waters are about to cover the house when a helicopter pilot spots the Christian on his roof and offers a ride. Again the Christian says, “No thanks – I’ve prayed and have faith that God will save me.” After drowning, the Christian arrives in Heaven and asks God for an explanation why He ignored his prayers. God replies, “I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter…what more did you want?”

      • Arrow says:

        Yeah, Culture Warrior makes some good points, but I see someone like Ron Paul as being the imperfect but worthy candidate. Ironically, I am always accused of demanding “perfection” in a candidate, because I refuse to support the pond scum that the GOP always comes up with. Paul is proof that I don’t expect that there can be a perfect candidate.

        But some here pick Paul apart on his one worst point, while voicing support for candidates who have absolutely no consistent Christian philosophical framework at all…but who mindlessly repeat the usual sound bites reminiscent of charlatans like George W. Bush. And candidates who, unlike Paul, don’t think that the Golden Rule applies to foreign policy, and are in effect murderers.

  4. aCultureWarrior says:

    John Lofton writes:

    “For-the-record, lest I be misunderstood. I disassociate myself from anyone who says, flatly, that Ron Paul is NOT a Christian. Many who have erroneous doctrinal and theological views WILL go to Heaven. My criticism has been, and is, that Paul has no Biblical view re: the role, the purpose of, civil government.”

    You personally heard from the mouth of Ron Paul during your 2007? interview that he didn’t think that homosexuality is a sin. Ron Paul is a moral relativist who thinks that sins like abortion (murder) and recreational drug use are “states rights issue”; how is it that Ron Paul can be a Christian and a moral relativist at the same time?

    • Caleb says:

      I’m not here to defend the worst of Ron Paul’s statements, but you seem confused about his positions (his statements don’t necessarily lead to the inescapable conclusion that he’s a moral relativist across the board, even though he seems confused on some things). More importantly, you seem confused about the nature of salvation. Do you agree with John that those with some erroneous doctrinal and theological views on certain points can go to heaven? If not, you better hope your theology is perfect at every point! (Of course, we should all strive for this, but I’m not familiar with any doctrine of “salvation through perfect theology alone.”)

      • aCultureWarrior says:

        Caleb:

        Are you aware that Ron Paul, during a recent Presidential debate, stated that he isn’t against homosexual’s marrying, and that it should be “left up to the states” to decide that?

        Paul is ignoring the basis of why God created man and woman: to marry and procreate.

        We all have our doctrinal differences and flaws, but if there is a sin that can’t be forgiven, it’s purposely leading others into sin, which Congressman Ron Paul is guilty of through his words and legislation.

        In the words of Christian conservative writer Selwyn Duke:

        “Let us be blunt: It is simply not possible to espouse relativism — which holds that right and wrong are opinion — and be a true Christian.”
        http://selwynduke.typepad.com/selwyndukecom/2010/03/why-many-american-christians-really-are-un-christian.html

        Why would God allow someone like Ron Paul into Heaven if he doesn’t even acknowledge God’s Word as the absolute truth?

      • Arrow says:

        Ron Paul is correct that marriage is no business of the federal government. He is incorrect that homosexuals should be able to “marry”.

        Culture Warrior, if God disallows someone eternal life because they hold a mistaken belief, you are in for a monumental disappointment.

      • Caleb says:

        Hi, aCultureWarrior: Ron Paul is a political libertarian in the classical sense. He has clearly articulated his adherence to what is called the “non-aggression principle,” which dictates that everyone should be free to do whatever they want as long as they do not aggress against others’ rights, and the state should not interfere. This principle seeks to limit the state and causes libertarianism to have some resemblance with biblical (i.e., theonomic) thinking in certain respects.

        Ron Paul believes it is always immoral for the civil government to use force against people who do not aggress against others’ “rights.” Is this a biblical idea? It is not. You will not find it anywhere in Scripture, and you will find very clear evidence to the contrary. But this is his principle for civil government. I don’t believe he would apply this principle across the board to all questions of ethics, simply to the role of civil government. And I don’t think that makes him an unbeliever, simply dangerously confused on his doctrine of civil government.

        In accordance with the non-aggression principle, Ron Paul believes that “gays should be allowed to marry” (i.e., civil government should not interfere), as long as they do not “force” their definition of marriage on anyone else. Do I agree with this? No, I do not. Civil government has an interest in prosecuting adultery as treason against the family, so civil government needs to have an understanding of what the word “marriage” means (and the definition is derived from Scripture alone). Also, civil government has an interest in prosecuting sodomy as treason against the family, so civil government should not simply “allow” gays to marry. (If anyone is wondering how I came up with the idea of prosecuting adultery/sodomy, Rushdoony articulated this idea in a 1988 interview with Bill Moyers, and Rush derived the idea from biblical law, of course).

        Ron Paul believes, according to the Constitution, that the Federal government should leave this issue to the states. If you want to argue with his interpretation of the Constitution on this point, that’s fine. I don’t have a dog in that fight, however.

    • E Harris says:

      Solution:

      WORDS MATTER.

      1) It is not our Country’s Governmental responsibility to do anything on the issue of marriage. It is a private and personal concern…best kept to the people themselves, and the ekklesia of their friends. As civil libertarians – we should not even think it a states issue (though Constitutionally, it is “up to the states”). As civil libertarians, we are more individualistic and personal than even the Constitution of any civil sword. The civil sword does not define marriage for us, nor does it regulate marriage and association for us. We are the ekklesia of Jesus Christ – we belong to him. And anyone who wants to join us – must enter through the door, which is Jesus Christ and repentence before Him. This is all very personal and individualistic. Our covenants and promises are made before Him and before each other, as people.

      2) Marriage is a concept, a promise, a word. Its proper definition can be found in the Scriptures. So others may call something ‘marriage’ that is not marriage… but WE (christians) should stick to PROPER WORD DEFINITIONS. We should not call something that is not marriage, marriage. That taints our testimony, and anyone who wants to read our lives like an epistle – and then tries to line it up with the Bible – would have a rougher time translating what WE think marriage is, to what the BIBLE says it is. May our words line up with Bible, purely. When we use words found within the Bible – may we use them ONLY with the definitions and treatments found within Scripture. That way, we have a biblical vocabulary.

      It is more important for a king to SPEAK righteously… than to attempt to do (or not do) anything. Ron Paul cannot seem to control his mouth, on some topics (especially when it comes to faulty US foreign policy, making excuses for islamists and fallen human nature). It is more important to control your mouth (whoever you are, and wherever you speak) than to try to pull the levers of a state. It is through the mouth that ideas are crafted and maintained. It is agreement about ideas – that men tend to rest the world upon. So let our tongues speak word-for-word biblical truth. It’s ok to venture beyond the Bible, but never to contradict it. Ron Paul is a libertarian, but not a biblical thinker. This means that his attitudes actually ENCOURAGE anarchism… as can be demonstrated in how the Occupy movement began to endorse him. One’s attitudes and words actually have greater impact than one’s physical sword. Whatever you elevate in word, attitude, and movement; is elevated in those around you within earshot. Obama once said to a news reporter: I want you to “lift this up” before the people (speaking about words and concepts).

      • Arrow says:

        E,

        Were you part of the crowd that booed Ron Paul for saying that we should follow Jesus’ golden rule in foreign policy? ;)

      • E Harris says:

        No. I’m not anti-Paul. He was better than all of the other candidates, except Bachmann and even Santorum. (We actually had an ‘ok’ field this year, compared with other years. It’s my hope that the whole 2016 field will have a libertarian flavor.) But something in Paul’s approach to libertarianism, something about the way he conducts himself on stage, something about the way he sucked up to Romney while heavily criticizing Santorum (who was closer to him than Romney), something about the way he sucked up to Iran – tossing them unnecessary rhetorical red meat, the way he changed a position or two when pressure was placed on him, the way he said he doesn’t see himself as president while he was still in the race and criticizing Santorum on behalf of Romney, just made me think he’s not reliable. But I’d vote for him – and I’d be more happy about that vote than one for Santorum. IF he projected a confident, strident, rock-solid FAITH in principles beyond merely critiquing what the other guys (and Uncle Sam) is doing. He’s basically a hippie with conservative tendencies…and he’s got the backbone of a hippie when it comes down to it. I betcha.

        We SHOULD have followed the golden rule in US foreign policy, over the last 100 years. But we didn’t. In fact, we didn’t have a CONSISTENT foreign policy, period. But that being done, and the effects playing out, you don’t have to make a fool out of yourself waving a RED FLAG IN FRONT OF A BULL like A-jad and his kind. They aren’t nice people who will say ‘mibad.’ We will say ‘mibad’ and they will beat us to a pulp (if they can). Now that the problem is created, some QUIET strategic withdrawal is warranted – in a way that still shows strength and solidarity with the US of the past, without giving ruthless dictators any bones to chew on. Ruthless dictators, who abuse everyone around them, don’t deserve a bone to chew on.

      • Arrow says:

        E,

        No offense, but “something about the way…” is pretty weak without FACTS.

        I would like to suggest that millions feel the same way as you because what RP talks about is so different from what we have been conditioned to think is “normal”.

        He does not “suck up” top Iran, he deals with FACTS, which are different from what we have been told.

        Some objective study will bear this out.

  5. Caleb says:

    Joel wrote: “More importantly, in most cases, it is this practical aspect—lower taxes, honest money, balanced budgets, minimal government, end to empire, etc.—to which both sides refer with the label ‘libertarian,’ and thus the charge of equivocation does not hold up. For in the scope of political structure and law, the two in fact do have the same meaning.”

    Libertarianism has a comprehensive solution for limiting the state: the non-aggression principle. It is no surprise that libertarians and theonomists come to similar conclusions on certain issues because both positions seek to limit the civil government. However, as we all should recognize, the foundations are radically different (autonomy vs. theonomy).

    I am a bit confused by the last sentence of your statement above, Joel. You wrote that in the scope of political structure and law, libertarianism and theonomy have the same meaning. Sure, there are similarities with regard to structuring civil government on a more localized/decentralized level and also overlap on some Second Table issues (though penalties would differ almost across the board). But there is certainly not theoretical or practical agreement on the more important First Table issues (e.g., civil punishment of idolatry as an attack on the foundations of social order) or even many Second Table issues (e.g., civil punishment of sodomy/adultery as treason against the family).

    My point: Based on his priorities and voting ethics, it’s not unlikely that Rush would have supported Ron Paul. However, other than the motive of deconstructing statist tyranny, there doesn’t seem to be overlap between libertarianism and theonomy as to foundations of social order, purpose of civil government, basis for limiting civil government and protecting individual liberty, many matters of the law code, or ultimate goals. Whether we should work with libertarians as co-belligerents against statist tyranny is one question. But we shouldn’t try to equate the philosophies of libertarianism and theonomy as having the same meaning as to political structure and law. To do so would be, in my view, to commit the fallacy of equivocation.

    • Caleb says:

      For a wonderful critique of libertarianism by a pre-eminent theonomist, check out this Bahnsen lecture (note: I unapologetically caution against the Federal Vision content on the following site): http://www.cmfnow.com/gb992libertarianismvschristianity.aspx. Once again, perhaps Bahnsen would have agreed with the strategy of teaming up with libertarians against statist tyranny. But he shred the system apart at the foundations as to law and even political structure. He leaves us no reason to equate theonomy and libertarianism.

  6. Michael Earl Riemer says:

    I have read a lot of the posts. It seems a number of folks advocate “scraping” the Constitution, for it’s not a “Christian document.” While it might not be the best document for government that has ever been put together by a large consensus, of largely Christian men, it is the best document for government, outside of the Scriptures that I know of, and one of the best forms of government that I have read about in history, that has produced the freest and the most prosperous people the world has ever seen.

    Scrap the Constitution, and replace it with what? You would need, again, a group of Godly, knowledgeable, wise men/women who understand the Scriptures and the principles of law in the Scriptures to draft such a document. Is it even possible today, you could find enough wise men, who would even agree or have consensus on a few of the things needed to draft that kind of document so we may properly govern our nation?

    A machine-gun (the new Constitution, not drafted yet) is probably a better weapon to take to a battlefield to bring in the kingdom of God. But if all you have is a knife (the old Constitution, that has worked well for a long time), that is better then something that has not yet been invented/drafted. Let’s clean and polish the old, remove the flaws, and all the while doing that, work on drafting a new “Christian” document for the governing of our nation.

    I for one cherish the Constitution, even with all of its flaws. Lets not do away with it, without a better replacement ready, before we burn the old one.

    • Michael: “[the constitution] is the best document for government, outside of the Scriptures that I know of” I agree, which only makes the contrast between man’s best and Yahweh’s perfect and altogether righteous judgments (Psalm 19:7-9) that much more powerful, revealing just how superior Yahweh’s morality is to man’s immorality. See “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/blvc-index.php.

      Michael: “and one of the best forms of government that I have read about in history, that has produced the freest and the most prosperous people the world has ever seen. ” Are you so sure?

      “As stated in the Preamble, another purpose of the Constitution is to ‘secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.’ From childhood, Americans are indoctrinated to believe that, thanks to the Constitution, America is the freest nation on earth:

      ‘The media … has played a key role in persuading people that we are the most free nation on earth. While this may or may not be true, most people have never considered this possibility: If all of the other nations were under 100% totalitarian dictatorships, and the United States of America was only under a 95% totalitarian dictatorship, it could still be said that “America is the most free nation on earth.” So it is a rather meaningless boast.’ (James Bruggeman)

      ‘Suppose it be “the best government on earth,’ does that prove its own goodness, or only the badness of all other governments?”…. (Lysander Spooner)

      “Except for occasional interference from the British kings across the Atlantic, this nation experienced its greatest liberty in the 1600s and early 1700s. From the ratification of the Constitution until now, our liberty has been whittled away. At present, we would be hard-pressed to find a nation with less liberty than the United States of America.” Excerpted from Chapter 3 “The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH.”

      Michael: “Let’s clean and polish the old, remove the flaws, and all the while doing that, work on drafting a new ‘Christian’ document for the governing of our nation.” To do so requires that at some point, we start over and do it right this time. There is hardly an article or amendment that is not antithetical to Yahweh’s morality, if not, hostile to His sovereignty in some fashion. It is, therefore, a seditious document and America’s national idol that, like as with Gideon of old, must be torn down before we can truly proceed with the kingdom of God.

      Find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to Yahweh’s moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments). Take our Constitution Survey at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/constitutionsurvey/constitutionsurvey.php and receive a free copy of the “Primer” (an 85 page book, normally $7 plus shipping) of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.”

    • Caleb says:

      I agree with you on the need to work on a new document. Regrettably, the Constitution is a dead letter and may or may not ever be resurrected. We need to be ready to pick up the pieces to rebuild a new system on more consistently biblical foundations.

    • Michael: “is the best document for government, outside of the Scriptures that I know of, and one of the best forms of government that I have read about in history, that has produced the freest and the most prosperous people the world has ever seen.” Are you so sure?

      “As stated in the Preamble, another purpose of the Constitution is to ‘secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” From childhood, Americans are indoctrinated to believe that, thanks to the Constitution, America is the freest nation on earth:

      ‘The media … has played a key role in persuading people that we are the most free nation on earth. While this may or may not be true, most people have never considered this possibility. If all of the other nations were under 100% totalitarian dictatorships, and the United States of America was only under a 95% totalitarian dictatorship, it could still be said that “America is the most free nation on earth.” So it is a rather meaningless boat.’ (James Bruggeman)

      ‘Suppose it be “the best government on earth,” does that prove its own goodness, or only the badness of all other governments?’ (Lysander Spooner)….

      “Except for occasional interference from the British kings across the Atlantic, this nation experienced its greatest liberty in the 1600s and early 1700s. From the ratification of the Constitution until now, our liberty has been whittled away. At present, we would be hard-pressed to find a nation with less liberty than the United States of America.” Excerpted from Chapter 3 “The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH.” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” on our Online Book Page.

      • Michael Earl Riemer says:

        “this nation experienced its greatest liberty in the 1600s and early 1700s. From the ratification of the Constitution until now, our liberty has been whittled away. At present, we would be hard-pressed to find a nation with less liberty than the United States of America.”

        No, the greatest liberty was shortly after the Constitution was put into place. Just ask young Patrick Henry about the liberty that was to be had in Va. before the Constitution. There, you could not preach without a license! Henry saw first hand the merciless scourging a minister was given for preaching without permission from the State. The minister was one of twelve locked in jail because they refused to take a license. Three days later, they scourged him to death! There were many restrictions in place in those days that limited the freedom of the people.

        No, when the Constitution put into place, there was generally much more freedom held and given then before it was ratified.

        It is true that since the Constitution was ratified, I could agree, that for the most part our liberty has been slowly whittled away. I have read so many things within the last few weeks about the “freedom” most Americans think they have, but it’s just an illusion.

        But even with the limited amount of freedom that we still have in the U.S. No one will be scourged to death for preaching without a license! I have spent some time in jail for committing a non-crime, so I know first hand the freedom we have lost. You may be thrown in jail for selling raw milk, but you will not be scourged to death for that “crime.”

      • Michael: “Just ask young Patrick Henry about the liberty that was to be had in Va. before the Constitution. There, you could not preach without a license! Henry saw first hand the merciless scourging a minister was given for preaching without permission from the State. The minister was one of twelve locked in jail because they refused to take a license. Three days later, they scourged him to death! There were many restrictions in place in those days that limited the freedom of the people.”

        I have yet to see any prime source documentation for this story. If you can come up with it, I would love to see it.

        In the meantime, let’s indeed ask Patrick Henry:

        “Convinced the Constitution would fail to secure and protect liberty, Patrick Henry voiced his concerns to the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788:

        ‘…I say our privileges and rights are in danger. …the new form of Government … will … effectually … oppress and ruin the people…. In some parts of the plan before you, the great rights of freemen are endangered, in other parts, absolutely taken away…. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this Government: What can avail your specious imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances? …And yet who knows the dangers that this new system may produce: they are out of the sight of the common people: They cannot foresee latent consequences…. I see great jeopardy in this new Government.’ (Patrick Henry, Ralph Ketcham, ed., “Speeches of Patrick Henry (June 5 and 7, 1788),” The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2003, 2nd ed.) pp. 200-08.)

        “In contrast to the federalists’ failed predictions, this and nearly everything the anti-federalists forecast about the Constitution has come true.”

        Also excerpted from Chapter 3 “The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH.”

    • E Harris says:

      Fascinating discussion, Mr. Riemer. Joel certainly helped stir up a lot – and it’s great that everybody’s talking.

      Talking (informed by scripture and prayer) is a lot of the answer about how we are to govern. That and doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God. Jesus said “Come, let us reason together…” Like the leftist marxists (who run Miracle Whip) say: keep an open mouth (if you know the truth, and want to share it). The left always keeps an open mouth, even if they are shouting pure emotionally-driven nonsense. So must we, in love: strive together for the unity of the faith of the gospel – and with outsiders: keep declaring the acceptable day of the Lord.

      Back in the 1700′s a LOT of faith was still placed in centralized state apparatuses. There were free-thinkers and Christians who thought of ways that things could be better: but they had to contend with the mindsets of their time. Most minds back then placed an undue amount of respect in the “king” and the “pastorship/denomination” (and all forms of collectivism, even color boundaries). So they felt a higher need for creeds, councils, heirarchy, and an artificial headship to keep everyone in line. So these are the systems that they made, by virtue of their trust and faith. Such mindsets have been getting loos-er and free-er since just before the Reformation began, 500 years ago. (There were already people waiting to help free others, who knew the nature of the beast better than Luther did…they just needed an insider who knew the Bible to side with them.)

      Until we arrive at today: practical pandemonium. Every man for himself, almost. With those in the shaky seat on top trying to hold on by manipulating the mob/emotions, just like always.

      What is the answer? Another document? The answer is not a document. (For this reason, I say keep the one we got. Insist on it. Even as the lesser of two evils.)

      The answer is not in yet another document, creed, council, title, or whatnot. That’s all been tried. And it gets very stale and corrupt with time…due to human nature. It’s the nature of the beast.

      The answer is in keeping our mouths open, continuing to discuss and reason together. Coming together. Being individually free – but united IN JESUS, and in the Spirit of Christ! It’s harder than it sounds. But it’s our home.

      The power is not in a dead letter. The power is somewhere else. The liberals, and now the anarcho-statists, understand this. (But they don’t have the power. They try to copy the public ‘tactics’ of Jesus’ ekklesia, but with much less success.) The power is in TRUTH ITSELF. And for that reason, we keep an open mouth and an open mind.

      For that reason, secularists flooded the press: that was one of the FIRST places they went when they wanted to “change the world.” If you want to have influence: talk about what’s going on from your perspective, and win people’s trust. The blogosphere and organizing power of the internet is exploding – just as those on the top are trying to put limits on it. News is becoming viral, and spreading faster than ever. The power is in the News.

      Liberals and anarcho-statists, just as many of us, didn’t believe in the “constitution of the united states” either as a divine or stable document. They believe that you had to ‘change with the times’. You had to keep an open mind, flow, adapt, grow, talk, think. They expected something better than the Constitution to come along (and He will…but secularists aren’t the ones who bring Him… Jesus Christ brings peace).

      Secularists knew that if you can FEED people with WORD(s) you can profoundly influence how they view everything, and how they will behave, and who they will vote for. The power isn’t in a lettered Constitution. Ever notice how they are always revising their school curriculums? And they RELISH this. And look at how much power a bunch of discordant and adaptive curriculums have had…over a single document.

      The power is in living people talking about the world and what’s happening and why. (They speak in light of the Jesus and the Bible, or their worldview.) INDIVIDUALS make the decisions: and most often, based on their environmental factors (social, physical, spiritual environment). So keep talking – your speech has more power to affect the people around you, than the Constitution does. Your speech is even more powerful if there is high amounts of honesty, sincerity, and truth.

      We have a history book called the Bible. It hasn’t been changed. And none of us understands its full meanings and implications. Rather than trying to “revise” a dead system such as the Constitution, we should hold politicians accountable to it, and (ourselves) walk on. You cannot call yourself the “United States of America” if you ignore its corporate constitution (what makes it be, as a verb). Simple as that. Anyone running for office within this structure, should be held accountable to what provided for the structure.

      But as for US (the ekklesia), we need to be discussin the nature of the church itself, and the nature of politics itself – in light of THE KINGDOM OF GOD which is here, now: “Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the HOLY SPIRIT.” Words have meaning. And it is meaning that people are looking for…not just some document that will regulate their actions. People are hungry for meaning. So lets give it to them. Guide people through the maze (that is our present culture) to the ways of JESUS. And talk about the future possibilities for them and their children.

      Instead of talking statism or morality (in terms of the collective)… we need to Personalize the morality. It’s not about higher or lower taxes. It’s about People stealing, and envying other people. It’s not about how long we put a person in jail for. It’s about murder being wrong, and the only forgiveness being the cross…or the murderer is doomed eternally. It’s not about controlling others or enforcing punishment. It’s about finding a way OUT of sin and sinfulness. Guiding people’s maddeningly collective/mob-like minds to the pure simplicity of the liberating Gospel message. And start there.

      Let’s get back to REAL meanings. We can DRAG civilization back to reality – by insisting that every word be used with it’s proper meaning. The Holy Spirit lets us know when a word is out of place and is being used improperly, with the wrong meaning. Like “Race”… what exactly is a ‘race’ and what are its limits, within the biological human body? “Race” as a general concept is an idea thought up by academics as a sort of “Racist Theory”. Now it’s taken to be fact, simply because the word is used so much. Rac-ism exists, but that doesn’t mean that “race” itself exists. Color and traits exist…etc. We can be SPECIFIC with our wording. FORCE people to RECKON with the truth of every sentence and word that comes out of their mouths. What does the word “Constitution” MEAN? What does it mean to “Constitute” something? If we claim that the letters on a page are the constitution of the behavior KNOWN AS the United States of America… then fine. So much as people agree on the meanings of those words, and abide by them, they can call their contract/agreement whatever they choose.

      But truly, in a living sense, a constitution is always greater. What constitutes US? Who are WE? We are not of this world, we are the church and bride of Jesus Christ. The world is becoming aware of this truth — but they have nowhere to run TO, without Jesus. Jesus is our constitution that liberates us from the collectivist worldly machinations: He IS the living and abiding Truth that holds everything together, including US.

      Marxism is great at destroying and debasing collectives, in its attempt to liberate the individual into a higher brotherhood. It can never get to it’s “liberating” part, entering into complete equality and brotherhood (cuz physically there is no complete equality). So it is endlessly critiquing the old things, and never embracing the New in Jesus Christ. The New is INSIDE. That is where our equality, spirit, good rests. The New is not some impersonal force that elevates our pride, and makes us MORE prone to violence toward our fellow men. Instead, our brotherhood is based on a Person, Who is God, an OTHER to ourselves…keeping us humble. He is our equalizer. After all, every system that supposes brotherhood must have an equalizer: that is either a machine (ripping the heart out of living) or a man (showing that true brotherhood is not achievable). But GOD provided a way in Jesus Christ.

      Revelation 15 speaks of a TRANSPARENT and formless sea…mixed with intolerant FIRE… and the saints are STANDING beside it, not a part of it. They know who they are. And when they begin to declare truth… the following chapters are a rapid succession of judgment upon the world’s systems. When the ekklesia is refined, stands together and declares truth: the world is then judged…and the gray area of shadows is no more. After Rev 15, it’s either “in or out.” The lines are being drawn. The church is seperating herself from the remnants of Babylonian thought.

      http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/may/ross-douthat-bad-religion.html The most recent article I read over at Christianity Today was an interview with a hopelessly statist man calling himself a christian. He attempted to critique the “christian right” for trying to “politically dominate,” but at the same time he tried to criticize the ‘right’ for increasingly abandoning the strengths of the old institutions, like the Roman Catholic Church, older denominations, and denominationalism in general. He suggested a return to denominationalism (and creeds and control) as a means for remedying what he sees as uncontrollable motivations of “the Christian right.” That should tell you something about the nature of collectivist beasts, past and present. They exist to perpetuate CONTROL: not a Godly self-control in liberty, but an ungodly control over other people’s minds and bodies. It is precisely these types of control (that came out of the RCC and denominationalism) that has fed into the modern state of liberalism, and also encourages a maddening reaction against itself…in a perpetual cycle. An ekklesia who are Personally unified in JESUS CHRIST is the only thing that can break the insanity that is currently gripping the heart of Western Civilization.

      • Michael Earl Riemer says:

        “The answer is not in yet another document, creed, council, title, or whatnot. That’s all been tried. And it gets very stale and corrupt with time…due to human nature. It’s the nature of the beast.”

        I agree for the most part. While Ted R. Weiland and others may be correct about the Constitution, for the most part, but I think there is something most Americans do not understand which accounts for many of the wows that now face the U.S. people. That is contract, license, and agreement. If even a small percentage of Americans understood this, most of the problems we have (with the IRS and other government agencies & regulations) would go away in just a short time. I have related some of those problems in posts before, problems such as state issued marriage licenses, SS numbers, churches incorporating and the numerous other contracts most people enter into with the government and then complain when the conditions they agreed too, albeit unknowingly, the government holds them accountable too.

        Almost no one in the U.S. has taxable income according to the U.S. Constitution taxing restrictions Article 1 section 8 & 9 and needs to file a 1040 or any tax form. However, if they have a SS number, a bank account or have entered into contract with the government (IRS), in the many numerous ways and traps that have been set, they had better keep making out those tax forms, for, if they fail to do so, the government will hold them accountable, (as they should) and fine or jail them, for failure or breach of contract. Of course most, if they do end up in court have no idea that that is the reason they are there.

        The state has made it very difficult to live in the U.S. without getting in bed (contract, license, SS number, tax forms etc…) with it. It took me a long time to learn this. Yes, freedom is not free, it can be very costly.

  7. E Harris says:

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/occupy-linked-radicals-smash-windows-at-nyc-business-in-chilling-display-of-violent-black-bloc-tactics/

    A PHENOMENAL video on the bottom of this article! A christian anarchist trying to help out the Occupy movement. He’s worth listening to.

    One thing people don’t understand: is that the gateway into the kingdom of God-and-goodness is JESUS. He is the door. He is the demarkation line. Most occupiers are in that movement to “change” government… the Bible warns us against those who are actively trying to “change” things in this manner. Such people are doing it for SELFISH reasons, not out of spiritual motivation. Yet, there are some who seemingly have love for truth, who are mixed among the occupiers.

    • E Harris says:

      I just watched Chris Hedges for a while. He is a sly one. And his positions and philosophies are probably pretty near the epicenter of what’s causing these worldwide problems. How he can remain sane, I don’t know. Probably by abandoning any pretence of consistency – and allowing his reasoning to be purely selfish and feelings motivated. Yet, he’s very practiced in his verbal balancing games.

      An atheist who calls himself a Christian. A guy who criticizes Obama & the New York Times – until a lady calls in saying that maybe the collusion of the NYT with Obama is corrupt. Then he defends the NYT. A guy who borrows all of the best rhetoric from the right and the left… to craft a narrative that suits himself and himself only… mainly because it’s almost impossible to know where he stands unless you put him in front & ask him on a case-by-case basis. He’s very preachey about non-violence…but he’s not a pacifist… etc. etc. He’s an Alinsky tactician…just like Obama. He even looks like Alinsky.

      This gets to my point: JESUS CHRIST ‘as personal Lord and Savior’ is the dividing line. Anyone who rejects JESUS, WILL NOT be profitable for the kingdom of God. Period. By their rhetoric, who they make alliances with, who they demonize, and who/what they encourage you to trust in. To an extend that a PERSON does not want to trust in Jesus – he is corrupt. No matter what positions he holds, or how educated he is, or how he sounds.

      • Arrow says:

        But correct principles are correct no matter who voices them. All are held accountable to God’s Law, in civil government as well as personal behavior. In politics ew are not looking for perfect people, we are looking for people who uphold perfect principles. This is not to say that we are not to demand Godly men for office, but simply draw the distinction between a person’s status and the validity of law.

      • E Harris says:

        There are people, like Obama, who will VOICE correct principles in order to win your trust. Then, like Alinsky, every day is a new day.

        Glenn Beck’s advice is to watch WHO you are standing next to. I’m starting to find that wiser and wiser. Don’t look just at one or two things they SAY (or support) that you like. Look at their whole track record, who their friends are and WHY, and all of their positions as a whole: somewhere in there lies their true heart’s agenda…that they WILL serve, if given your trust.

        Would I trust Ron Paul more than most? Yes. But does he have a solid mooring that keeps him consistently grounded in an unshakeable manner? No. Nor does he understand human nature (groovy, peace sign, rhetoric that half-justified A-jad in Iran). Because of this, I would be more likely to trust Santorum – even though he may be soft on the budget side. Why? Because I KNOW where his heart is. I see it, I feel it, and I can see (with some amount of firmness) what is in his heart. While Ron Paul seems to be more of a wet noodle who bows with the wind…he TALKS…but then sometimes votes however the wind is blowing.

        God looks at the heart, and it is impossible to know (without discernment) what is in the heart. We should look at HEART AND POLICY… in order to predict future actions. It takes a certain amount of feeling or discernment to detect the differences in motive, between say a Paul Ryan, a Chris Christie, a Joe Liberman, and a Bill Clinton…and a Barack Obama (who will SAY anything – and then do it’s opposite at the same time, and won’t restrict his activities TO WHAT WE CAN OBSERVE AND RECORD).

        Real, living faith in Jesus Christ is the answer. Jesus is becoming more politically relevant by the day. When Jesus reigns in a ruler’s heart, peaceful discussion and debate are elevated. When Jesus is not in someone’s heart: selfishness determines the direction…not faithfulness. It takes DISCERNMENT to know the difference.

      • E Harris says:

        There is a difference between who you decide to vote for, and who you stand next to. I can vote for Romney, in order to kick Obama out. But I won’t be standing by Romney. I’ll defend his principles above outright communism. BUT I will be the first person campaigning to kick him out for a better Republican or independent TEA Party candidate.

        Is my hope in politics? No. I vote simply to “shrink back” and “fold up” our centralized national apparatus in a SANE WAY.

        We have enemies that would collapse it – in all of the worst ways… and leave themselves in charge of the parts that remain. Their objective is the same as it’s always been: CONTROLLING MINDS and BODIES. That is the objective of those who think in terms of groups, instead of eventually liberating the individual-under-God from the group. The goal should be maturity: to some day take the crutch away and stand on your own. We are in Revelation 14. And we must prepare for Revelation 15: to stand, knowing our identity – beside an indisinguishable sea mixed with fire that doesn’t like hypocrisy but yet also does not even know of any foundation or structure that it’s comfortable with. Our structure is the Gospel and Jesus Christ. Period.

      • Arrow says:

        E Harris,

        I don’t want to turn this into a “for or against Ron Paul” forum, but I guess he is a real-time example of what is being discussed.

        I think that some here are too quick to LABEL people, taking a shortcut past logical thinking about complex issues. In my observation (I don’t know RP’s heart or anyone else’s) you are at least partially incorrect when you say that he has no solid foundation for his positions.

        First, of all, NO position has a solid foundation if it is not based on FACTS, regardless of what epistemologya person claims. RP claims to know Christ personally, and in fact has said outright that he goes through Christ to God for the basis of his policies. Is that a weak statement? You be the judge, but it is what it is. His positions take into account the FACTS of situations to a very large degree. The combination of all the above leads me to think that he should be a pretty reliable person, from a Christian perspective.

        To illustrate, you have mentioned that you don’t like what he says about Ahmedinejad, and that you are more comfortable with Santorum on this. (Disclaimer..I am NOT saying that Ahmenedenijad is ok…neither did RP) You should check out the FACTS, about what has been said, and you will see that Santorum is spreading lies (lies that most people believe, but lies nonetheless) and Paul is telling the TRUTH. Let’s see, what was it that Jesus said would set us free…

        The TRUTH of these matters mean life and death for thousands of people. Who is the Christian here?

        My point is that we serve no one by slapping labels on people based on excruciatingly rigid theological constructs that nobody can actually live up to, and excusing ourselves from any deep thought on the real issues.

        There were people who did that in Jesus’ day. They were know as “Pharisees”.

      • E Harris says:

        Always enjoy talking with you, Arrow. Good points. The main reason I don’t trust Ron Paul is that he constitently demonstrated (on the campaign trail) that he did not recognize the dangers and iniquities inherent to the human heart, especially the human heart in politics. He criticized Santorum, but stuck up for Romney… He criticized the US, and sympathized with “Iran” saying that they probably wouldn’t even be seeking nukes if it weren’t for us… (which does little to help us NOW. Paul didn’t seem to understand the inherent danger posed by human nature combined with violent religion known as Islam.)

      • Arrow says:

        Thanks for the kind remarks.

        Paul treads the dangerous political ground of suggesting that America is not perfect, and may be responsible for some of our own problems.

        As I said, facts are what count. And the facts are that we have been meddling in other peoples’ business for generations (see “shah of Iran”), making enemies in exchange for sweetheart business deals for political cronies.

        Instead of being offended by this kind of talk, Americans should recognize the our government has been shafting BOTH us AND the people of other nations, and should desire to change it. That is what RP is all about. But instead, people mistakenly equate the American people with the US government, and get offended.

        I’m not putting that all on you…but it is my observation in general, and of conservatives in particular.

  8. John Lofton says:

    Agreed that we should not as Christians shun the work of these “libertarian” economists. I do not believe, however, that RJR and Ron Paul define “liberty” in the same way (and I saw no definition in the above article.) Rush believed liberty was within God’s Law, ALL of God’s Law. I know of no evidence that Paul believes this.

    RJR’s view of the role of, the purpose of, the civil government, the state, is as follows, in volume one of his “Institutes,” page 240:

    “The FIRST (emphasis his) and basic duty of the state is to further the Kingdom of God by recognizing the sovereignty of God and His word and conforming itself to the law-word of God. The state thus has a duty to be Christian. It must be Christian even as man, the family, the church, the school and all things else must be Christian. To hold otherwise is to assert the death of God in the sphere of the state. Because of its failure to require that the state must be Christian, because of its implicit death-of-God theology, the church has surrendered the state to apostate reason and the devil. The church has done this because it has denied the law of God. It has, in fact, implied God is dead outside the walls of the church, and it then must logically proclaim His death within the church.”

    From all that I know, this is NOT Ron Paul’s view of the civil government, the state. And it is because Paul has no Biblical view of the role of, the purpose of, the state that I have argued Christians must note vote for him or anybody who has no Biblical view of the role of, the purpose of, the state,

    Finally, I would urge all here to listen to my 2008 interview of Ron Paul. It was clear to me that he vehemently dislikes talking about “moral” issues where he is asked to make a judgment or even affirm what Scripture says.

    118: Exclusive Interview: Ron Paul On God/Government; Abortion; Homosexuality; And Much More

    http://archive.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=898

    John Lofton
    Recovering Republican
    JLof@aol.com

  9. E Harris says:

    “Even if we, through the presidency, successfully stripped away all the tyranny that has grown up since 1789, what good would it do to takes us back to the top of the same slippery slope we’ve already gone down? It would be at best a holding action. A greater foundational change is needed.”

    Yes, even if we took it back to the Articles of Confederation, even if we took it back to state or even local government…or even back to individualistic anarchy… we’re still on the same slippery slope that created all those things in the first place. It’s all about human nature. Grappling with truths and sin.

    Our documents, treaties, and agreements, are only our pourous means of trying to hold our fleshly nature at bay, punish transgressions, and help us remember things. There is no perfect national document, nor even a perfect local document. It’s ALL the lesser of two evils. Caught between the evil of utter transgression, and the evil of having to control/monitor/punish certain violent transgressions… we choose the lesser.

    But neither is the Answer. The Solution is and always will be JESUS, in the life of the individual, spread through the family, and out into society and culture. It is JESUS whose government is growing – bringing increasing peace and prosperity. The unseen mover in the last 2000 years, is that the REASON why we have had increasing light in Western Civilization is not due to human ingenuity…but due to the revelation of brotherhood, Godliness, and restraint that was exemplified in Jesus Christ – and is spread through faith and the Spirit.

    We are not about to collapse into a new Dark Age… As long as Christians keep SPEAKING TRUTH, wherever they go, then we have hope. Indeed, Jesus (operating in the hearts of individuals) is our only hope – for any region. The pietists aren’t so bad after all. Pietists just vastly under-estimate their impact. So their confidence wanes because they are sometimes afraid of the epic picture, and so they choose only to focus on the “small” Personal picture. They don’t see how their very faith has led to transformations and advancements throughout history…and how not everything needs to be spoken or recorded, in order to have massive impact in a culture.

    The Ultimate is not a system, but a Person. I remember reading about Van Til on the Chalcedon website – when that Ultimate truth finally began to sink in to my consciousness. God is not in a system. All systems and laws and truths are in God – and He is a Person, and He is Personal. This is not to negate the law: but to show the purpose for the law, it’s limits, and its restraint. We are made in God’s image: Hence, we are more than machines, as well. We are lesser persons made to relate to the Person of the Father through Jesus, the Way.

    In a way, it’s a matter of letting the dead bury their dead. If a lawless people pretend to invent the law…then they bring their own troubles and concerns upon themselves. They will find themselves always digging and burying, and not truly celebrating life. I have a feeling that the “law” versus “grace” divide that Paul spoke about, is not just about Old Testament Jewish law, but also somewhat about the overarching concept of law. To reach back to the old, is going in the wrong direction. God’s revolution of salvation is already underway. Somehow, we got to learn how to bring a free and personal New Testament Gospel mindset into direct interaction with Marxism and the governing political philosophies of our day. Invade THEIR minds, with the Truth that cannot be escaped no matter where they run. “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.” That’s a clandestine image of the ekklesia rallying around the One. It’s in Jesus Name that we march through history. He is our center. No other name beats his.

  10. Calvin says:

    Joel,

    Ron Paul states that he doesn’t believe homosexulaity is a sin and that God doesn’t teach it is either! Ron Paul thinks its ok for homosexuals to marry and serve in the miliitary just as long as they “leave him alone.” This is “liberty” as defined by the leading “libertarian” today. How can Christians in good conscience support this false and twisted “liberty” and such a candidate/party…just because he/they borrow the capital of limited government and free enterprise from the bible?

    LOL, lets support the liberal democrats then, they have also borrowed from the bible. They claim, teach and preach that “do unto others…” is the entire foundation supporting all their social programs!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIeW0DY64bE

    • David Smith says:

      Calvin, though I am a Paul supporter, I don’t agree with all of his positions. Though I have much sympathy for his Libertarianism, I believe he makes too much of the individual at the expense of the community (Calhoun’s “concurrent majorities”? I’ll have to think about that some more.). That said – and as, I suppose, a paleo-conservative – I can respect our differences because he ultimately believes in an original intent to the Constitution, as opposed to the lawlessness masquerading as Law with the living-and-breathing, make-up-the-law-as-you-go, case law positions of most judges and lawyers today. No, let’s not idolize the Constitution, but it does contain many of the principles of our British tradition (e.g. Anglo-Saxon common law, Magna Carta, etc.) founded in our Christian heritage.

      So, while I vehemently disagree with him regarding homosexuality, for example, the fact that he would respect constitutional federalism means that he would stay out of state and local standards against its practice. I can live with that!

      • Doug says:

        Ron Paul has said many times he believes marriage should be between one man and one women and that the Government should stay out of our bedroom and lives as much as possible.
        He wants to rule as the constitution dictates not as a dictator. As a christian I believe if you have half a brain and really look at his policies he would be far better as a president than these war mongering, military and bank backed power hungry puppets.

      • David: “the Constitution, but it does contain many of the principles of our British tradition (e.g. Anglo-Saxon common law, Magna Carta, etc.) founded in our Christian heritage.”

        Christian heritage and Biblical heritage are not necessarily the same thing. The only test by which everything must be tested (including the Constitution) is Yahweh’s morality as codified in His commandments, statutes, and judgments. By THIS standard the Constitution falls flat on its face. There is hardly an article or amendment which is not antithetical to Yahweh’s morality, if not, hostile to His sovereignty.

        Find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to Yahweh’s moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments). Take our Constitution Survey at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/constitutionsurvey/constitutionsurvey.php and receive a free copy of the “Primer” (an 85 page book, normally $7 plus shipping) of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.”

      • John Lofton says:

        The threshold most relevant question re: Paul is NOT whether he is right or wrong on a specific issue but rather does he have a Biblical view of civil government that determines his positions on specific issues. Clearly, he does not. Thus, I have argued no Christian should vote for him or ANYBODY who does not agree with God re: the purpose of civil government.

        John Lofton
        Recovering Republican
        JLof@aol.com

      • Mr. Lofton, Amen!

    • Doug says:

      It seems you wish for a president to govern the way God did in the old testament. As imperfect as Ron Paul is this isn’t his roll as a president.
      Even though he has some flaws he’s far better than anyone else out there.
      See my comments to David Smith as well.

    • Doug says:

      Calvin
      It seems you wish for a president to govern the way God did in the old testament. As imperfect as Ron Paul is this isn’t his roll as a president.
      Even though he has some flaws he’s far better than anyone else out there.
      See my comments to David Smith as well.

      • David Smith says:

        I would agree, Doug. Too many folks seem to have far too expansive a view of what the president’s job is. Constitutionally, of course, it’s far more modest. That’s why I can support Ron Paul; if he indeed takes the Constitution seriously, then he’ll leave the states and localities to govern themselves far more as their local cultures and communities dicatate. This was the intent of most of the founders; Brother Joel’s recent series emphasizes this, county by county.

        Messrs. Lofton and Weiland, I’ll simply have to agree to disagree with you all; we’re looking at the same thing and seeing different things. And having gone to your website, Mr. Weiland, and viewing the questions, this was driven home even further.

        Grace and blessings,
        David Smith

      • E Harris says:

        True, David.
        But since we have a presidency, whoever gets in that office has a profound affect on the psyche and trajectory of people’s learning and discussion. What he says carries such weight in the minds of the carnal and easily swayed. Therefore, it is important to elect a person who would speak about righteous things – and who would hold up the authority of JESUS. He wouldn’t even have to do much (the less, the better).

  11. Jesse says:

    Great article Joel. You’ve said much of what I’ve been thinking when I read things from both sides (the “statists” and the too-pure theonomists- are they ulitmately that different? The too-pure theonomists will have us believe that the very mechanisms of heirarchy in place are good things to be desired, it seems). I am very grateful for such a clear, concise article, despite the blathering comments left afterwards-always from all of the same people always saying the same thing.

  12. Brother of the King says:

    Oh, puhhlease. The only way you can defend that Rushdoony was libertarian is by nitpicking parts of his works, and only nitpicking from his later works. Rushdoony was not libertarian originally. He criticized libertarianism and many of its basic tenets throughout his Institutes. Only later did he change his mind about it. Here are just some quotes:

    “By the twentieth century, in America as in Europe, the ideal social order and civil government was believed to be one which was dedicated to liberty, one which made basic to its purpose freedom of religion, speech, and press. But a society which makes freedom its primary goal will lose it, because it has made not responsibility, but freedom from responsibility, its purpose. [emphasis mine]”

    Read the section on coercion in the chapter on the sixth commandment. I quote part of it here:

    “Modern libertarianism rests on a radical relativism: no law or standard exists apart from man himself.”

    In the chapter on the eighth commandment on pages 472-473, he completely destroys the concept of “pure” laissez-faire as defined by libertarians along with socialism. In The One and the Many, he has a section titled “The Libertarian Failure” in the chapter “The Ground of Liberty”. There’s hundreds of more quotes and passages that I can give you showing that Rushdoony did not originally hold to the relativistic ideology of libertarianism.

    • Brother of the King says:

      “RJR would applaud the modern Liberty movement, even if he would critique its theological foundations…Choose this day whom you will serve.”

      More relativistic thinking. You cannot divorce a part of a worldview from that worldview’s basic tenets. Your view of God (or god) will determine your view of man. And your view of man and God will affect the way you view society, government, family, the individual, and everything else. The presuppositions of man having self-ownership and of man as god are what has led to the libertarian view of laissez-faire, absolute freedom, anarchism (in both of its meanings: destruction of the state and moral relativism), etc. So yes, I will choose this day who I will serve: God and His Son Jesus Christ. Not the collectivistic god of the state nor the relativistic, anarchistic god of the individual.

    • Arrow says:

      It is futile to argue over “libertarianism” without defining just what it is. Those who wish to argue against it give it a definition that makes it easy to discredit. Those who wish to argue for it define it as they practice it.

      For instance, Brother of the King, you quote an RJR paragraph that is not even talking about libertarianism as I know it:

      “…But a society which makes freedom its primary goal will lose it, because it has made not responsibility, but freedom from responsibility, its purpose.”

      The libertarianism that I support, and the libertarianism of Ron Paul and many others is the opposite of this…each person is free to make choices within legitimate legal bounds, and bears responsibility for the consequences. Frankly, I know of no serious libertarian who claims that people are NOT responsible for their actions. Do you?

      So, whatever the context of RJR’s text, it is certainly not talking about libertarianism. Are you confusing libertarianism with libertinism?

      • Brother of the King says:

        I don’t think you understand what RJR is saying here. He is stating that if you make freedom your primary goal, eventually and unavoidably, you will make freedom from responsibility one of your primary goals as well. And by making freedom from responsibility your primary goal, you will eventually lose your freedom. True freedom can only exist if God’s Law is established as the highest standard in society, and its different parts enforced and enacted by the three God-ordained institutions: the family, the church, AND the state.

      • Arrow says:

        Right.

        Who said libertarians make freedom their primary goal? Some may, but that does not change the definition of libertarianism…which, as I have pointed out, is fungible…a real problem in trying to debate this.

        Supporting liberty as opposed to tyranny does not mean it is your primary goal any more than pulling over for a hamburger makes you a glutton.

        The more tyrannical our government becomes the more radical the defenders of liberty will sound. This is nothing more than an increasingly stark contrast between right and wrong in the policies of civil government.

      • Brother of the King says:

        Okay, so what is the primary goal of libertarians if not liberty, when the motto of at least one group of libertarians, the Libertarian Party, is “Minimum government, maximum liberty”? If your primary goal is not “liberty”, then you would not be making such a big commotion about it. And besides, the Bible clearly defines what true freedom from government (which is what libertarians want) is:

        “Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.” – Romans 13:4

        True freedom is found only in obedience to God’s Law, not in the destruction of the state.

      • Arrow says:

        Right.

        Who said libertarians want the destruction of the state?

        You continue to set up straw men and knock them down, I think.

      • Brother of the King says:

        Here’s proof: the greatest “evangelist” for the libertarian cause believed in a stateless society, Murray Rothbard: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard133.html .

      • Arrow says:

        But you have quoted someone who is promoting anarchism, and you are calling it libertarianism. Rothbard had a lot of good things to say; this is not one of them. Also, if I am not mistaken, he was an atheist.

        Again, we’re choking on labels.

      • Brother of the King says:

        That’s my point. Why do you identify with a movement that, to quote Rushdoony, is becoming more and more openly anarchistic?

      • Arrow says:

        Well, maybe we don’t disagree on much here.

        But I don’t think it’s important to think we have to throw in with a “movement” hook, line, and sinker. I see much that is right (almost all, but not all) about the, as Joel calls it, modern liberty movement. Its principles, in my eyes, are biblically solid with a few exceptions.

        No one is asking me to join up and swear 100% allegiance to anything, so I will work with it to further Godly, constitutional government.

        I’d much rather be associated with the “liberty movement” than with the corrupt and godless Democrat or Republican party.

      • Arrow says:

        This is interesting for me personally, because I am almost always (and on a nearly daily basis) the one who is accused of being “inflexible” and demanding a “perfect candidate”. That is because I have made it a point to attack the “lesser evil” concept every opportunity that I get.

        There are very few candidates who I do not consider to be “lesser evil”, therefore although I always attend the polls I usually either write in or leave most offices blank. So believe me, I’m not advocating voting for ungodly candidates.

        When it comes to Ron Paul being a Christian, how do I know? I don’t. But he claims to be, and when I look at his long and extensive congressional record, I see that as a civil magistrate he FUNCTIONS as a Christian, unlike all the candidates who make loud moralistic noises about how Christian and “right” they are and then hypocritically compromise every position they hold for political expediency. And yes, there are a very few areas where I think he is wrong…have you ever met anyone about who you would not say the same?

        So I hope this answers objections from two opposite directions: 1) we DON’T (can’t) require or expect a “perfect candidate” and 2) we MUST demand that a candidate consistently, if imperfectly, uphold Christian principles…hating covetousness, etc.

      • Arrow says:

        And, Brother of the King, you say:

        “Why do you identify with a movement that, to quote Rushdoony, is becoming more and more openly anarchistic?”

        Just because you found one example of someone promoting anarchy (Rothbard) does not mean by a long shot that libertarianism is becoming “more openly anarchistic”.

        In fact, with the RP supporters drawn away from godless “conservatism”, I’d say it’s becoming less anarchistic in the mainstream, not more.

        Are you making judgements based on your opinion but with too little hard evidence?.

      • Brother of the King says:

        Yet, Arrow, every single prominent libertarian upholds Rothbard as one of the greatest leaders of the libertarian movement, INCLUDING Ron Paul: http://www.dailypaul.com/217829/murray-n-rothbard-in-memoriam-by-ron-paul . What is Godless about conservatism today? In fact, I think it’s becoming more Christian today, because it’s realizing that the basis for society is not freedom (whether freedom of the individual or freedom of the government), it is law and morality. And they’re also beginning to understand that a policy of complete laissez-faire is immoral, unethical, and anti-Biblical. Second, Rothbard’s anarchism is a result of taking libertarianism to its logical extreme. “Minimum government” is a cry of the libertarian movement. Well, what is the most minimal government? No government at all! Just because other libertarians are inconsistent in proclaiming government as the biggest evil on earth and then not wanting to abolish it, doesn’t mean that libertarianism is still Biblical. Also, Rushdoony refutes the whole basis of libertarianism in his Institutes of Biblical Law: the non-aggression principle as espoused by libertarians is completely unbiblical, because the whole principle rests on the idea that selfish individual man = basically good, government = evil. Libertarianism is a whole worldview in and of itself, and it competes against Christianity. It’s why I am so appalled at Christians today who claim to be libertarians or part of the “liberty” movement (which are both pretty much the same thing), when the roots of libertarianism are obviously unbiblical.

      • Arrow says:

        Perhaps. That is because Rothbard had a lot of really good things to say. You cherry picked a bad one.

        Do you actually have anything against the concept of liberty?

      • Arrow says:

        The Hebrew Republic, following God’s instructions, had a relatively small and minimal civil government. This was God’s model.

        The civil government that you advocate usurps God’s assigned authority of the family and the church.

        Conservatism (at least the bastardized version we have today per the “Christian” “Right”) simply wishes to abuse state power for a different set of goals than liberalism. Wars on everything that you can name instead of endless government welfare…and ironically no real opposition to welfare anyway.

        Both are evil and lead to tyranny.

      • Brother of the King says:

        First of all, it depends on how you define liberty. If you’re speaking of political liberty, I have no problem with the concept. However, taking it to the extreme is what I disagree with here (and which is why I disagree with libertarians). And also I disagree with the idea that by human action against government you can achieve true freedom. Even if we do limit government, it will still not bring us freedom. If we completely limit government (meaning make it functionless), we will be even more in slavery than we were under government. Look at the French Revolution, what did they get once they destroyed the “establishment” of the time? Chaos, anarchy, destruction, slavery, rape, death, bloodshed, and so on. The only way we can achieve true freedom (in all areas) is by spreading the Law and the Gospel throughout all of society. The government will then follow suit. Does that mean we should not try to change government in the meantime? No. It simply means we shouldn’t be going after the government for the loss of our freedom. I disagree with the minarchist libertarian view of government because it is antinomian (not to mention anarchist libertarianism, which is even more antinomian, though, minarchism is an inconsistent form of anarchism). It believes that government should not “forcing its own definitions on people” and it shouldn’t be “legislating morality” (which was originally and still is the jargon of much of the left). The problem is that government is required by the Law of God to enforce the Law. Thus, government is required to pass laws requiring people to act morally. Does that mean that government can change people’s hearts? No. It just means that people should either self-govern themselves (which they can only do with the Holy Spirit’s help) or suffer the consequences of their sin through punishment by the civil authorities.

      • E Harris says:

        The way I see it, a conservative wants to conserve the constitution…and get back to constitutional restraints. If they are for any larger apparatus than described within the constitution: that is the extent to which they are ‘liberal’ in their overt statism. A Conservative is analagous to FEDERALIST in the Federalist Papers. They aren’t the best guys, but they aren’t like the anarcho-statists we have today.

        A libertarian basically wants to liberate us from the Constitution and shrink the civil sword still farther. Libertarians are analagous to the ANTI-FEDERALISTS of America’s founding. Whereas the federalists wanted a constitution…the anti-federalists demanded a Bill of Rights, because they didn’t trust the constitution or the people wielding it.

        Christianity (historically) has been more on the side of libertarians. The Council of Nicaea occurred UNDER the auspices of the emperor, and for the purpose of drafting an “empire-wide” statement of official belief (thought control, and power consolidation in Rome). Only 1/5 of the bishops invited even SHOWED UP. But it was made to look like the Council of Nicaea was valid – after all, that was the purpose of the Council of Nicaea – to be valid! The emperor (at the end of the day) didn’t care what decision was reached, so long as there was a decision made that he could then “agree with”…thus adding to the responsibility and clout of the Emperor himself. Can you say “hijack the ekklesia, using the ekklesia”? Nicaea is similar to the US Constitution in one way: it was christian men compromising their identity and voice with a centralized civil sword…asking for their permission to exist. Why would it need our permission to exist? Well, it wants to be able to tell us things. And what power would a national apparatus have without a sword? ANY centralized apparatus, especially one calling itself the head of a country, IS and always was intended to be a civil sword.

        But libertarians, ANTI-Federalists, and christians prefer not to have any head other than Christ – over their affairs. Because of Christ, they respect people and morality and spiritual authority/decency. Their response is: “Kindly stay out of my way, I have work to do, children to raise, and I have people I need to talk to about Jesus. If you get in my way, I will start talking TO YOU about Jesus. Ok? So please, let us be – we aren’t doing you any harm. We are a blessing to everyone we live around. For what are we called criminals? Because we worship differently, and don’t recognize the deity of your government? We have committed no violence against you.” That’s (to me) a Christian libertarian. Some prefer a libertarian with teeth: who will blast you, if you get in their way. Either way: a libertarian is not kind to the type of centralized machinations that took place at Nicaea or in DC.

        We are freemen, in Jesus Christ. And we have our security.

        CONSERVATIVE: pro-centralized Constitution (of some kind).

        LIBERTARIAN: the less centralized power the better. Draw authority & decision-making back toward individuals and families.

        CHRISTIAN: politically with the libertarians. BUT recognizes that libertarianism CANNOT FUNCTION without Jesus as moral authority and head of individuals’ lives. Without Jesus, a Christian understands that Libertarianism is a pipe-dream leading to anarchy, and people always appeal to the state to grow stronger when things get too chaotic. So a Christian understands that as peaceful belief in JESUS grows, and as responsibility under Jesus grows… that the civil apparatus can (and will) drop away.

      • Brother of the King says:

        E, I disagree with you. First, I do not agree that simply “adding Christ” to something makes it Christian. That’s like so-called theistic evolutionists adding God to evolution, and what do they get? An even worse and more inconsistent form of evolution. To claim that there is no authority besides Christ is actually to rebel against Him. Yes, all authority comes from Him. But, we’re to submit to the earthly authorities of family, church, and civil government insomuch as they’re not in rebellion against God. This is like the case of somebody saying that he loves God but hates his fellow man. It’s impossible. In the same way, it’s impossible to claim that you’re submitting to Christ but that you’re not submitting to the earthly authorities (unless they’re obviously rebelling against God).

      • Brother of the King says:

        My whole point is, libertarianism is just the “anarcho-” part of the “anarcho-statism” that you’re talking about.

      • E Harris says:

        I agree Brother, that libertarianism without Jesus Christ is anarchy. It’s every man doing what’s right in his own eyes. Like Israel after Joshua. But when we HAVE our king, it is no shame (but a plus) to teach each other about the only legitimate source of authority anywhere. We don’t have to resist the civil ruler – there is no command to do that.

        Now imagine a gang moves into town and calls themselves ‘the government.’ We are not commanded to resist them, physically. We may…but not aggressively – just defensively if we so choose. In any case, whether they do bad or good, they are not OUR government. Such is the case with any person or ruler who becomes un-representative and acts contrary to the real needs of Jesus’ Body. Can our enemies be considered our authorities? Perhaps. Does it make a difference? No. They steal and murder either way. And whoever has the power to stop them becomes the replacement authority. Such was the case with the early church – which often suffered under a hostile, even murderous, group of extra-local people calling themselves “the Roman Empire.” The ekklesia, in those days, was quite libertarian. That was the only way they could operate & keep their identity.

      • Arrow says:

        You guys make a lot of good points and I have not enough time to discuss all of it.

        But I would like to emphasize one important point, and that is that God has created distinct spheres of authority:

        Self-government
        Family government
        Ecclesiastical government
        Civil government

        A lot of the problems (and confusion in these discussions, I think) is because far too many things have been usurped by the civil government that belong, Biblically, in the other spheres.

        This is absolutely crucial to these discussions and issues.

  13. Hutch says:

    The government of the day, as established by Joshua, was; “choose you this day whom you will serve.” This is the essence of a libertarian worldview from a Biblical viewpoint. what does this imply? it implies a level playing field. It implies that all things being equal, the obedient inherit more quickly overtime and the disobedient are disinherited at a faster rate. one of the roles of government is to protect the profit and inheritance of the people…in other words, punish and prevent theft, and enforce property rights. sin disinherits over time and can only be perpetuated via theft. A Christian should happily welcome a libertarian candidate such as RP as he knows God’s word to true, namely that he will prosper in obedience to the commands of God.

    • E Harris says:

      Awesome! Very true. Sin disinherits. Righteousness inherits. Sin must continue to try to be a parasite and a thief in order to survive.

      So…how does righteousness eventually defeat sin (especially when sin always tries to out-wit, out-organize, and pretend that its thievery is civil)?

  14. J.M. : “Even if we, through the presidency, successfully stripped away all the tyranny that has grown up since 1789, what good would it do to takes us back to the top of the same slippery slope we’ve already gone down? It would be at best a holding action. A greater foundational change is needed.”

    A return to 1789 would only postpone what finally some generation of Christians must do – identify, repudiate, and repent of the Constitution, our national idol – for who knows how many more generations.

    As one pronomian to others, I’m appealing to all of you for consistency. If we truly believe Psalm 19:7-11’s claim that Yahweh’s law is perfect and His judgments altogether righteous, then consistency demands we must judge everything (including the United States Constitution) by Yahweh’s morality as codified in His commandments, statutes, and judgments. If, by this standard, the Constitution is found to be both antithetical to Yahweh’s morality and hostile to His sovereignty, it must also be viewed as a seditious document and contract. These are strong words, I know. But, it’s time someone said them. The very fact that the Constitution established a government of, by, and for the people rather than a government of, by, and for Yahweh should be enough to give one pause.

    In “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” (http://www.missiontoisrael.org/blvc-index.php), I have endeavored to examine every article and amendment by the Bible’s standard. If you will do the same, I believe it is inevitable that you will come to the same conclusion I have—that instead of a Biblically compatible document, the Constitution is our national idol standing in the way of Christianity once again becoming Christendom, as she was in 17th-century Colonial America. In short, we have been promoting the cause of America’s problems as the solution to her problems. No wonder America is teetering on the precipice. She will continue her fall to her death if we do not recognize and repudiate this idol.

    • Brother of the King says:

      Ted, while I disagree with you on the subject of the Constitution (I do not think the fact that some people make the Constitution an idol, Ron Paul is one example, means that we should consider it an idol and anti-Biblical), please realize that what Joel is trying to replace the “idol” of the Constitution with the idol of liberty. Libertarianism, whether its adherents openly admit it or not, stems from the ideas that fueled the French Revolution. Rothbard at least was honest enough to admit it:

      “Tom Paine, Thomas Jefferson, … all were basically laissez-faire individualists who carried on the age-old battle for liberty and against all forms of State privilege. And so were the French revolutionaries – not only the Girondins, but even the much-abused Jacobins, who were obliged to defend the Revolution against the massed crowned heads of Europe. All were roughly in the same camp.”

      • Thanks for your input. If you haven’t already taken our survey (http://www.missiontoisrael.org/constitutionsurvey/constitutionsurvey.php), please do. I I would love to send the 85-page “Primer.”

      • Arrow says:

        Brother of the King,

        You state: “I do not think the fact that some people make the Constitution an idol, Ron Paul is one example…”

        Are the other 434 congressmen who violate their oaths to follow the constitution, then, NOT idolaters?

        Or did you mean something else by “making the constitution an idol”? And if so, what do constitutionalists do that makes the constitution their idol?

        Following the law = making the law an idol…I don’t get it.

      • Brother of the King says:

        Arrow, you’re misinterpreting me. In one of the last debates, Ron Paul specifically stated that the only thing that will affect the way he works as President is his oath of office and the Constitution. This is what I mean by making the Constitution an idol: putting it instead of God first.

      • Arrow, following is evidence of Brother of the King’s claim regarding Ron Paul:

        “This ruling [a portion of Marbury v. Madison] was based upon Article 6’s declaration that ‘this Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land….’ If you are a Constitutionalist, you must consider any law contrary to the Constitution – including Biblical law – to be null and void. This was evidenced when Ron Paul was asked in an interview by John Lofton if he believed ‘homosexuality … [is] a sin?’ and Paul responded:

        ‘I’m not as judgmental about that … probably because of my medical background. I don’t see it in that simplistic terms [sic]. I think it’s a complex issue to decide whether it’s sin or other problems with the way people are born. It’s too complex to me12 … to give an answer as simplistic as that.’

        “When Lofton asked, ‘Do you believe that God says it’s a sin?’ Paul responded:

        ‘Well, I believe a lot of people understand it that way, but I think everyone’s God’s child too, so I have trouble with that.’

        “Anyone who knows Paul’s record knows that if the Constitution condemned sodomy, he would have unabashedly condemned sodomy as well. Yet he would not even acknowledge that Yahweh declares sodomy a sin. Why? His god is WE THE PEOPLE, and because the Constitution is his god’s law, it trumps all other law.

        “On the other hand, if you are a Christian and Yahweh is your God, then any law repugnant to Yahweh’s law, including the Constitution, is not law but lawlessness. Whether we see it this way or not, Yahweh certainly does.”

        Excerpted from Chapter 4 “Article 1: Legislative Usurpation” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/biblelaw-constitutionalism-pt4.php.

      • Brother of the King says:

        Ted, thanks for the quote. It’s more proof that Ron Paul is NOT a Christian at all. He is a universalist: “but I think everyone’s God’s child too, so I have trouble with that”

      • John Lofton says:

        For-the-record, lest I be misunderstood. I disassociate myself from anyone who says, flatly, that Ron Paul is NOT a Christian. Many who have erroneous doctrinal and theological views WILL go to Heaven. My criticism has been, and is, that Paul has no Biblical view re: the role, the purpose of, civil government.

        John Lofton
        Recovering Republican
        JLof@aol.com

      • Brother of the King says:

        Good point, John. However, I’d disagree that somebody who does not take God’s Law seriously to heart should be called Christian. I am not saying that Ron Paul isn’t saved. But being saved does not necessarily mean one Christian. To use an example: Obama claims to be saved and goes to church. He probably is saved. However, is he Christian, truly? I would not argue for it. In the same way, Ron Paul is saved, but it doesn’t make him Christian in the true sense.

      • Arrow says:

        Brother Weiland,

        I agree with some of your points about Ron Paul, where homosexuality is concerned. This is the one area where I am unhappy with his positions.

        Having said that, I am surprised that while you find this enough to part ways with him, on your website you promote the “Tea Party”, which is in most instances has been turned into a prostitute for the corrupt, godless Republican party.

        How do you reconcile this?

      • Arrow, actually if you examine our Tea Party Project you will find that it is not a promotion but an infiltration with Yahweh’s law as the only answer for our nation. Thanks for the opportunity to make this clarification.

      • Arrow says:

        Mr. Weiland,

        Got it. My apology…your information is clear, I did not read it carefully.

    • E Harris says:

      Still, if the choice is between Obamaism and the Constitution: I’ll pick the Constitution in a heartbeat. And if the choice is between the Constitution & the Articles of Confederation… well, I’d have to do my research on that one! Civil restraint is all about the lesser of two evils. And whether Jesus’ Message is picking up the slack. If Jesus’ message is not poised to dominate in a culture – it is FRUITLESS to try to liberate a culture and establish a “new form” of governance. The best we can do is take out a bad guy, and hope that the next bad guy isn’t as bad. Hopefully people will open up to the gospel being proclaimed.

      Jesus is the only real Answer. This is the Message we must proclaim, and bring into contact with all of the governing ideas of our time. How the gospel (and salvation via Jesus) is/was/always-will-be the Answer. It may sound too limiting or not broad enough…but it is PRECISELY broad enough. It encompasses the entire individual. Law, grace, and blessing comes from a Person (the Father) through Jesus, who is the only Way…to people. That is the only real liberation. The only way to have a healthy level of autonomy is through Jesus’ message.

      Imagine this: if over the last 50 years, the entire attention of the press and entertainment had been dedicated to spreading the gospel and faith in Jesus. But the trouble is the church cannot yet push these media platforms with a consistent Christian message – because WE have not yet figured out the nature of pure government. Marxism knows it’s “sovereign” (a centralized Hand to do the redistributing, leading to collapse and “reformation). But we have not yet figured out the precise channels and Ways that our Sovereign prefers to operate.

      • The Constitution is the reason we have Obama; and, until, pronomians recognize this, we are only going to get more Obamas, Clintons, and Bushs and all the ugliness that comes with them.

      • E Harris says:

        Ted, you used the word “pronomian”.

        How do you think the law comes to us? And how does it get ‘enforced’? Are you a christian libertarian? If so, it should make sense to you that the Holy Spirit empowers us to obey – and that the law must be personally respected in order to even be helpful in terms of conviction and salvation.

        Our courtroom is higher than this world. The family and the individual is where God prefers to place most of his authority. Then also in economic agreements between free economic units. Economic units being: individuals and households. They can hire physical security. And such physical security is no more their ‘government’ than a security contractor would govern the CEO of the corporation that pays him. Ultimately, the civil sword is not a ‘government’ in the way we are used to thinking about it. It is a private security contractor, that (due to history and men’s fallenness) has grown into empire.

    • Michael Earl Riemer says:

      Brother, let’s assume you are right. I would like to see the document and form of government you are going to replace the Constitution with. As they say, “Talk is Cheap.” Do you have such a document ready to go? Ready to be put into place? I would sure be willing to consider replacing the Constitution with a “Christian” document, but I would first need to see, read and study it.

  15. Regardless, the similarities or dissimilarities, Ron Paul is arguably today’s high priest for America’s national idol – that is, the humanistic and secular (as per the Preamble), anti-Christian (as per Article 6), and polytheistic enabling (as per Amendment 1 ), Constitution. As such, he may be the worse chose for President.

    Find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to Yahweh’s moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments). Take our Constitution Survey at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/constitutionsurvey/constitutionsurvey.php and receive a free copy of the “Primer” (an 85 page book, normally $7 plus shipping) of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.”

    • Michael Earl Riemer says:

      “The Constitution is the reason we have Obama; and, until, pronomians recognize this, we are only going to get more Obamas, Clintons, and Bushs and all the ugliness that comes with them.”

      The Constitution did not elect Obama, Clinton, or Bush. The people did. Until we get more knowledgeable Christians in the land who understand the Word of God we will get all the ugliness that comes with them.

      • Indeed! But because the Constitution (Article 6 in particular) banned federal Christian tests and thereby Biblical qualifications, it was inevitable that we would end up with the nincompoops, scoundrels, and outright criminals we find today in all three branches of government. See Chapter 9 “Article 6: The Supreme Law of the Land?” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” on our Online Book Page.

      • Brother of the King says:

        A Christian test can be easily cheated. I think we need to have a thorough examination of the candidate’s obedience to God’s Law and his criminal record. While I would like for every candidate to be Christian, I think that it is a utopian dream that we will never achieve. There’s even disagreement among us Christians who is to be considered Christian enough.

      • It’s not the Christian test oath that concern me, but the Biblical qualifications that were invariably banned with the test oaths.

        “Never achievable?” With God nothing is impossible.

        “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18)

        The vision for kingdom is a generational vision. What seems impossible, must be viewed and worked for with our future progeny in mind. Returning to Yahweh’s law and kingdom principles must start somewhere; why not with this generation. As with Gideon of old, rebuilding the kingdom begins with tearing down our fathers’ idol.

  16. Bret McAtee says:

    There is, in the micro world of the theonomy movement, a conflict that is escalating between those who are invoking the ghost of Rushdoony in opposition to Ron Paul Libertarianism and those who are invoking the ghost of the great Rushdoony in favor of Paul.

    The debate can be found in these two articles.

    http://theonomyresources.blogspot.com/2012/03/r-j-rushdoony-versus-ron-pauls.html

    http://americanvision.org/5675/theonomys-radical-libertarianism/

    Of course my position is to warn against both of these positions.

    I am not a big fan of the author of the first link. He seems to fail to realize that the first rule of survival when one is threatened with the suffocating danger of statist tyranny is to take any weapon at hand to beat off the tyrannical attack. Ron Paul is that weapon. Now I might wish I had a different weapon or a better weapon with which to fight for my survival but in a snow storm any Huskie will do. I support Ron Paul because he is the guy who gives me the opportunity to get the ruddy foot of the State off my neck.

    In terms of the McDurmon article (2nd link) the one thing McDurmon is missing is the reality that libertarianism can not work among a people who are not self governed in terms of God’s law word. This is the fault of contemporary Libertarianism. It advances the idea of liberty but the liberty it advances is in actuality a libertinism where each man does is what is right in his own eyes.

    Rushdoony did and would have used these people to advance his agenda but he never would have confused his agenda with their agenda. The people who McDurmon are writing against don’t get the 1st part of that last sentence and I wonder if people like McDurman and Marinov get the second part of that first sentence. The Libertarianism of Rushdoony clearly is not the Libertarianism of modern Libertarianism. The fact that Rush could say, “In reality, theocracy in Biblical law is the closest thing to a radical libertarianism that can be had,” must be read against the idea that radical Libertarianism is opposed at every point to any idea of theocracy. Rush believed that Theocracy was a inescapable reality that could not be avoided. Clearly, by radical libertarian standards Rush did not embrace radical libertarianism.

    Theonomists, out of necessity and because of a common enemy, are now dining with the Libertarian Paul but it is a dining which must be done with a long spoon. Halbrook doesn’t want to dine at all. The American Visions spoon isn’t long enough given the kinds of things I’ve read Marinov writing.

    The problems with Paul are not slight. They are significant. His stand on sodomites in the military is atrocious. His position on illegal immigration is no longer acceptable. Recent words lauding Martin Luther King are troublesome. I do not agree with him that abortion is acceptable on a state by state basis. However, despite all that I would vote for Paul in a heart beat because I think his agenda for governing can not work since we are a balkanized culture. Libertarianism can only work in a culture where the citizenry share a world and life view. However, a President Paul would be the best shot at allowing a peaceful breakup of these united States. That is what I believe needs to happen in order to stop the Statists and the tyrants and since the statists and the tyrants would never let that happen, I support Paul because I am confident he would let it happen upon the failure of his governing by Libertarian principles.

    So, beware of both the arguments that Rushdoony was a closet Randian libertarian per guys like Marinov but also beware the arguments of guys like Halbrook who argue that Rushdoony would have had no tuck at all with a Libertarianism which he could use to advance his unique vision of a theonomic order in which a genuine Libertarianism could flourish.

  17. john cummins says:

    Yes, “all the tyranny that has grown up since 1789″, Patrick Henry smelled a rat!

  18. john cummins says:

    I will await eagerly to see how this turns out Joel. Regarding your statement below, John Lofton would fall into this point of lesser of evils (or I say evil of lessers) and I’ve been pondering as well as an avid Ron Paul supporter myself (which I take Lofton, is not).

    “This leaves open the question of to what extent a theonomist could support particular libertarians in office—which also raises important questions in turn. For example, if the choice for a president, or a nominee, were between a libertarian-ish Evangelical—who was not purely theonomic in his philosophical foundations—and any form of statist, wouldn’t this still technically be a “lesser of two evils” vote? Is there any difference in these types of cases at all? Are the differences in degree only, or also in principle? I hope to get to these questions before, say, late August.”

  19. john cummins says:

    great article, the “debate” reminds me of the ridiculous “arguments” by “theonomists, (certain ones)” against the Godly Baby Rescues (Operation Rescue) of the 80s. It was funny to see these “theonomists” lining up with the goofy Bill Gothard. We have to face it that sometimes even theonomists can get it very wrong. Thankyou for your accurate, well thought out pieces Joel.

  20. E Harris says:

    “And ultimately, the movement must grow foundationally Christian or it will fail.” Amen! The seeds of this can be seen in how Ron Paul vastly over-estimates the decency of the Iranian leadership, and the capacity of certain groups of people (who do not trust in Jesus) to be civil toward other groups. He’s a libertarian, yes. Christian foundation? Not so much (though he gives lip-service to it, depending on what crowd he’s attempting to curry favor with). He’s been known to talk in very “groovy” terms as well, throwing up the secular ‘peace’ sign. It depends on who he thinks his audience is. Such libertarianism, with no backbone, is sure to fail. Because while it lays down its own arms, it has NO advancing message with which to CONVICT the other guy who still has his guns.

    One of the first questions that arises in my mind, when I think of libertarianism, is “what should we replace it with?” (That’s my statist mind at work, I suppose.) Faith in Jesus, is the answer. A thoroughly fleshed-out, descriptive, and articulate faith. That is our only true weapon. The others are just very, very poor backups. (But the Bible does say the poor we have with us, always.) Without civil redistribution, and the dream/hope of civil redistribution (which is even more dangerous than the actual process), people would revert to working for a living…and having faith in God. Then the discussion about “God” ensues…to which JESUS is the only satisfactory unity made known to us.

    I used to think that statism was the primary enemy. But not any more. Anarcho-statism is the primary enemy. Statism always operates with two hands. On one hand is the dream of control, the empire of self, “If I had control of everything, I would…therefore you should…”. On the other hand is the dream of total autonomy and independence from every want, need, or law. These two always seem to operate together. The OCCUPY movement could be described as anarchist, or even libertarian. So why does it oppose the TEA Party so rabidly? Why does it seem to be its opposite? BECAUSE these anarchists in the occupy movement are heavily doped-up on statist rhetoric and statist pride. They think in terms of groups and mobs. They ARE anarcho-statists. Each one of them thinks HE knows what the true order is, and should be put in charge. They are not (generally) pro-Christ who is both human, and uniquely divine (our mediator and intercessor before God). THAT message would HUMBLE them. But it is not (generally) REAL humility that they are after. They want to humble everyone else!!!

    The only way to be TRULY free is to move beyond protest into unity with Jesus Christ…and live as he did. This Christian message must PRECEDE any political disarmament… or the disarmament is merely a prelude to aggression from some other area. If people do not detect a hint of the Christ-like restraint that is driving the disarmament… they will assume that some force other than Jesus or self-restraint drove them back. The secularists do this all of the time. They don’t think that Jesus had anything to do with abolition movement or mutual respect between groups. Therefore THEY steal the credit, and march on with a godless, war-like mentality, aimed at the very people/philosophy who helped bring about these good changes! That is why JESUS must be front and center. Not political philosophy or disarmement. JESUS, and then those things. He is our banner, under which we are to operate.

    • E Harris says:

      The OCCUPY movement (vs. TEA Party) is an illustration in these principles.

      What disqualifies OCCUPY? Well, their wildness, violence, lawlessness for one… but what is DRIVING those things? What distinguishes them from TEA Party and makes them a distinguished movement?

      1) Selfishness & Pride. Unregenerate nature.
      2) Dependence and Identification with a collective of some sort. One of the groups going around in this circle is the “Beehive Collective”. I was like, what a STUPID name. Can you say Borg??? But this is PRECISELY how these people think (and how deeply). It’s the unregenerate nature ruling the mind…and even their own people are losing hope that it makes any sense.
      3) Don’t you ever notice how they both want COMPLETE independence from any machine, government, or need… and STILL want free money and resources from the government that they expect to collapse??? Anarcho-Statism. They are not statists. And they are not TRUE anarchists (there is no such thing as a pure anarchist, complete lawlessness lived out in relationship, is impossible). They are both and neither.

      The difference between them and TEA Party, is that the TEA Party folks would be happy for the civil authority to shrink, but they don’t demand it’s total collapse. The TEA Party have their identity in the Person of JESUS Christ, while the OCCUPIERS have their identity in collectives and war/protest/antipathy/grievance against other collectives (in their heads). The TEA Party is aware of sinful nature, and yet are loving. The Occupiers think that ‘sinful nature’ is a doctrine for polital control, and yet they always need a demon in order to stir themselves up into a protest mob – which is the epic height of their activity! (Just like the mob that shouted ‘crucify Jesus’ and ‘give us Barrabas.’) The TEA Party are free to go back to their homes and take care of their families…while the Anarcho-Statists seem to want to be individually free and dissolved into a collective, simultaneously. (What’s missing: the message of Jesus Christ, and the sinful nature that he died to individually redeem us from our own sin. Personal relationship with the Divine who saves us from ourselves.)

      Occupiers distrust the Christian portrayal of Jesus Christ, though they may accept “Christ” as an “exalted Being” (in a buddhist sense)… and they believe that Jesus lived & walked as a man, maybe even dying as a man, but they deny the miraculous surrounding the man which pointed to MORE. As well as the Biblical portrayal of Jesus as God-in-the-flesh. The thing that Occupiers reject is God saving them from themselves (they continue to look for salvation “out there” somewhere…in something epic)…and they reject that they need to take up their crosses (because they deny the sinful nature). This is what DRIVES them. This is why libertarianism won’t work without Jesus coming first. Because libertarianism would disarm the right people…causing anarcho-statists to appeal to a more wicked group, in order to satiate their dreams/cravings. This is why the battle MUST be fought HERE, in America. Because HERE, christians make up a large portion of the voting block, so our society has been strengthened and wealth has flowed to us, causing an epic battle for meaning to ensue.

  21. Dr Charles H Roberts says:

    Well done Joel. Totally agree.

  22. John Hendrickson says:

    Left out an important word: not. “…without a commitment to theonomy must NOT be the goal…”

  23. John Hendrickson says:

    Joel, I appreciate your qualifications in this currently raging debate, in some quarters. I will say there ought to be concern for those who have jumped on the libertarian band wagon without such. That is, I see the same error as was made in the Moral Majority and Judeo-Christian movement out of the 1980s.

    After discovering that merely having a “born again” Christian as president (Carter) was not the ticket, they jumped on the conservatism is the answer band wagon. Again, without-even consciously denying (along the lines of the Intelligent Design folk deny they are shilling for God as the Creator)–Christ and the biblical definition of government as being necessary or the ultimate goal. Of course, none or nearly none had a biblical or theonomic understanding to begin with.

    Nevertheless, as we have seen that movement fail and gradually peter out, we see a whole new band of Christians blindly accepting libertarianism and Ron Paul in a similar way. Many seem to be asserting it as the biblical political position, without qualification such as you made. If they do not see that the liberty and freedom aspects of the libertarian message without a commitment to theonomy must be the goal then the same course will result as the previous panacea to our nation’s ills.

    So, even though there may be overlaps or coincidence with the biblical ideal of an extremely small and limited government, they must be understood in the same way as Jesus told the disciples to do as the Pharisees said but not as they do. God is not merely interested in form. Paul makes that clear at the end of Romans 9 when he says the Jews sought their own brand of righteousness. They had the form alright, but were not interested in having that Man rule over them.

    I also will be looking forward to how you address this: “This leaves open the question of to what extent a theonomist could support particular libertarians in office—which also raises important questions in turn. For example, if the choice for a president, or a nominee, were between a libertarian-ish Evangelical—who was not purely theonomic in his philosophical foundations—and any form of statist, wouldn’t this still technically be a “lesser of two evils” vote? Is there any difference in these types of cases at all? Are the differences in degree only, or also in principle? I hope to get to these questions before, say, late August.” You might address the idea of whether those “statists” who espouse reduced size of and regulation by government along with greater personal freedoms qualify as “libertarian-ish” enough to vote for or is a Christian biblically mandated not to go any further than voting for a non-biblically driven or informed libertarianism?

    • Arrow says:

      Mr. Hendrickson,

      First, I agree with you in that I have great interest in Joel’s promise to explore the following:

      “if the choice for a president, or a nominee, were between a libertarian-ish Evangelical—who was not purely theonomic in his philosophical foundations—and any form of statist, wouldn’t this still technically be a “lesser of two evils” vote? Is there any difference in these types of cases at all? Are the differences in degree only, or also in principle?”

      This is where the rubber meets the road for those of us who realize that “lesser evil” voting is evil. The immediate response that I get when promoting that idea is: “nobody’s perfect”…as though I were looking for a sinless candidate. The depth of thought in the Christian community is so shallow that we need to somehow provide these answers in a clear way.

      What is the political value of dong the right thing for the wrong reason? I don’t know. But I do know, as you point out, that without the right reasons the train will run off the track quickly, as it did when the GOP became the altar of the Christian Right.

    • Brother of the King says:

      “Libertarian-ish evangelical”??? Only if he holds to the pluralistic, relativistic mindset of TKT. There cannot be any reconciliation between libertarianism and Christian Reconstructionism, despite what Joel would like us to believe.

      • Michael Earl Riemer says:

        All or nothing? So the only one you will vote for, is the one you perceive to have all his “ducks” lined up, in the right order and in the right way? I guess that means you would not vote for David, you know, the young man who killed Goliath. For David sinned greatly against the Lord a number of times. Or how about good king Jehoshaphat? No, wait, the LORD pronounced wrath upon the upright Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, for he helped the wicked Jew, King Ahab of Israel. So I guess you could rule him out. Well, what about Moses? Oh, no, he sinned so badly that he was not allowed to enter into the promised land.

        Ron Paul is the best out of the lot, by far. You will not find a better candidate (that is running). No, he does not have all his “ducks” lined up just right or in the right order, but he would be a real blessing to our land if he was elected.

      • Why are we as Christians, especially pronomian Christians, trying to salvage a system opposed to Yahweh. Anyone who thinks that voting is going to make a Christian or moral difference over the long run is ignoring the last 224 years of the Constitutional Republic’s history. Think about it: have elections helped to make this nation more or less Christian? The inescapable answer is that elections have always produced the lesser of two evils – or is it the evil of two lessers – by which the nation has become less and less Christian with every election, regardless who’s elected. This is because constitutional elections are non-biblical. Yahweh has a much better plan by which we end up with the best of the best. You can read about in “Article 2: Executive Usurpation” at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/biblelaw-constitutionalism-pt5.php, or you can listen to a two-part audio series concerning the same, entitled “Elections: Man’s or Yahweh’s,” at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/tapelist.php#T873 and T874.

      • t says:

        Why are we as Christians, especially pronomian Christians, trying to salvage a system opposed to Yahweh. Anyone who thinks that voting is going to make a Christian or moral difference over the long run is ignoring the last 224 years of the Constitutional Republic’s history. Think about it: have elections helped to make this nation more or less Christian? The inescapable answer is that elections have always produced the lesser of two evils – or is it the evil of two lessers – by which the nation has become less and less Christian with every election, regardless who’s elected. This is because constitutional elections are non-biblical. Yahweh has a much better plan by which we end up with the best of the best. You can read about in Chapter 5 “Article 2: Executive Usurpation” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution” on our Online Book Page, or you can listen to a two-part audio series concerning the same, entitled “Elections: Man’s or Yahweh’s,” on our Broadcast Library Page. Scroll down to T873 and T874.

      • It’s time we figure out that elections are nothing but a political shell game by which we are always provided the establishment’s choice (who – if were lucky – amount to the lesser of two evils) and by which, regardless whose elected, America only becomes more ungodly and less Christian.

      • Brother of the King says:

        Mr. Riemer, I do not believe in a perfect candidate, other that Christ Himself, but He doesn’t need to run for any office in the US, because He already has the highest office in the world :) . So yes, I will have to select from among imperfect candidates. My question is what makes Ron Paul the best one of out of the lot? Some people say his honesty, but he isn’t really that honest. Look at just his earmarks for FY 2009: blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2008/04/ron-pauls-earmark-requests-for-fy2009/ . Others say it’s because he believes in freedom. Well, that is a problem in and of itself: true freedom comes only through obedience to the Law of God, yet RP is the most antinomian candidate out there.

        “he would be a real blessing to our land if he was elected.”

        We can’t bring blessing to our land through government power. That is the basic belief of socialism. Sure, he will fix up a few things and mess up others (he has some antibiblical views on things). But to really change much, a president would have to be all-powerful.

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