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Hm… Maybe I’m NOT a Christian Libertarian…

February 27, 2010

Apparently, there is a legitimate difference between “Christian Libertarian” and Libertarian Christian” – at least that’s what Wikipedia says:

Libertarian Christianity is a facet of Christian theology. Its advocates believe that it is the most biblically, rationally, and practically correct legal and political philosophy. This type of libertarianism derives from a specific blending of systematic theology and biblical theology.[1] Advocates claim to be Christians first, and libertarians second. As libertarians they believe that all secular governments exist to protect natural rights, and only to protect natural rights; and they believe that natural rights are necessarily defined in terms of private property, at least in the legal and political arena. — Although they readily acknowledge the distinction between their legal / political philosophy and the rest of their theology, they are suspicious of any attempt at separating the two, because separating the two leaves the visible Church without a viable, Bible-based legal philosophy.

Of course, there is the other side of the coin:

The glossary at Reformation Online says that Christian libertarianism is the view that supports maximum individual liberty under God’s law; that Christ came, among other things, to grant men liberty under God’s authority. It refers to John 8:36 in the Bible and says that the authority of all human individuals and institutions is strictly limited to what the Bible authorizes.[2]

Some people do not distinguish between Christian libertarianism, libertarian Christianity, and Christian anarchism. Others believe the distinctions are important: (a)Christian libertarianism is an extension of Christian theology, usually by people from theonomic and reconstructionist schools, so that this amalgamation includes many principles and perspectives of secular libertarianism. (b)Libertarian Christianity differs from Christian libertarianism in that it uses a different set of biblical hermeneutics from those used by Christian libertarianism. Even so, libertarian Christianity finds many principles and perspectives in common with Christian libertarianism.

My first impression is that the phrase “libertarian Christian” attempts to highlight the idea that I am a Christian first and a Libertarian second, but nothing in either reference states that Christian Libertarians don’t do this as well. I’m not quite sure what the full difference is or whether there is enough of a difference to matter, but I’m willing to keep an open mind on this one. If anyone has an insight here, I would appreciate it! As always, comments are welcome!


From → Liberty, Religion

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