It's Independence Day once again, when hundreds of millions of Americans will celebrate a history most of them know very little about. One of the high holy days of what has become American civic religion, it's very probable that the Founding Fathers would greatly lament what it has become. However, what Americans have done to the Fourth of July pales in comparison to the far more important issue of what countless Christians have done to Romans 13.
On this special Fourth of July episode, Dr. Jamin Hübner returns to lead a discussion on the context, exegesis, and theology of Romans 13. We discuss the historical background of the text, the history of Judaism and early Christianity on state relations, the practical and theological arguments of Romans, and how the ancient Christians understood it. Statist nationalism and a reflexive “my country, right or wrong” attitude find a sharp rebuke here, but so do the patriot-revolutionaries who would seek to overthrow the state. Instead, Romans 13 calls us to the deeper third way of Christ: one that recognizes the intrinsic evil of the state and requires us to not take part in its evils, while at the same time commands that we refuse to participate in sedition and violent revolution. The apostolic command is to pursue peace and the gospel, trusting that King Jesus will ultimately put all power, rule and authority under His feet, and that Resurrection Sunday is our real Independence Day from the tyranny of sin, Satan and death.
One of the most common issues raised by non-libertarian Christians about libertarian thought is marriage licensing. Because the family unit is essential to social order, the argument goes, Christians should allegedly support state regulation of what constitutes 'marriage' and who is allowed to 'marry.' But state power is a sharp and dangerous sword; what happens when the proponents of such a plan no longer have the political capital they once did, and that sword is turned against them? This is precisely what has happened to socially conservative Christians in recent decades.
Stephanie Slade, libertarian Christian and Managing Editor at Reason Magazine, walks us through the history of how it was Christians who set the very legal precedent on state regulation of marriage (and other social issues of conscience) which are now being wielded against them by non-Christians. For generations, Christians chose to 'live by the sword' of using state power against their opponents, and now that they are in the minority, the sword is turned on them. Only by upholding liberty for all issues of conscience, including those we think are wrong, can this tragic cycle of trying to shape society by legislation be halted.
Today we are joined by Shane Claiborne, an internationally-recognized author, speaker, and activist, and perhaps the leading western Christian voice for the New Monastic movement. While Shane does not identify as a libertarian, there are many aspects of his thinking which overlap with libertarianism.
In this episode, we discuss capital punishment in Christian ethics. Libertarians are divided on the issue, as are Christians. How does capital punishment relate to state power and human rights? Why are there more minorities executed than white people? Most importantly, how does Christian theology inform our thinking on this matter? Shane offers his insights in this fascinating discussion.
Hopefully the only thing that gets put to death in this episode is un-Christlike thinking.
In our first ever debate on the Libertarian Christian Podcast, author Keith Giles returns to debate author/activist Mark van Steenwyk on Two Kingdoms theology and Christian involvement in formal politics. As he explained in our earlier interview, Giles holds that formal politics is not a proper task of the Christian life. Van Steenwyk counters that Christians must be involved in direct political activism so as to undermine oppression and promote God's justice in the world. Nick serves as moderator and asks some critical questions of both debaters.
We haven't heard of anyone advocating for a Three Kingdom theology, but if you're such a person and are offended that your position didn't get any press here, you might consider lobbying the FCC to implement the so-called Fairness Doctrine, but as much as we'd like to see Christian libertarian thought get air time on MSNBC we still wouldn't recommend that course of action.
Isaac Morehouse is longtime contributor to and friend of the Libertarian Christian Institute, and today he joins us to discuss his organization, Praxis. As its very Misean name suggests, Praxis is about action; specifically, it's about helping people to gain practical experience and skills which matter in real world business situations.
For years, conventional wisdom has pushed on innumerable hapless Americans the idea that everyone must go to college --- even if they have no clear path for what line of work they intend to enter and must take on massive debt --- and that only this will prepare the individual for career success. As economic realities overtakes this flawed narrative, countless people find themselves over-credentialed and under-skilled, holding a degree but possessing few skills that employers actually care about. Praxis is in many ways bringing back the old apprenticeship model, in which participants learn practical skills on the job which prepare them for future endeavors.
Isaac --- who we like to think of the Christian version of James Altucher --- talks to us about his journey creating Praxis, the lessons he's learned, how the job market is shifting, and what people can do to capitalize on these things. We won't send you any decorative certificates for listening to this podcast, but you'll probably pick up some useful knowledge.
On today's episode, we are joined by libertarian Christian economist Art Carden to tackle one of the most pressing and divisive issues in contemporary American politics: immigration. President Trump's stance on this issue was one of the key factors that propelled his victory in last November's election, but since then many of the hard-line promises he campaigned on have not come to fruition. This has caused some in his base to criticize him heavily, while others are thankful for this change (whatever the cause may be).
It's no secret that even libertarians are split on how to think about immigration, and particularly its relation to property rights. Carden walks us through the economics of immigration, but also engages us on the theological-philosophical and ethical dynamics at work in how we think about borders, property, labor, and community. You could build a wall to keep this discussion out of your thinking, but we'd encourage you to take a more 'cosmopolitan' approach by listening to the episode.
On this episode, the always insightful (and frequently controversial) biblical scholar Dr. Pete Enns joins the show to talk to us about the journey of faith, trusting God, how to disagree with other Christians, pitfalls in biblical interpretation, and much more. Those familiar with Enns' work typically have a strong opinion either for or against him. The listener is of course free to reach his or her own conclusions, though we will say that a number of us at the Libertarian Christian Institute --- even those who strongly differ from Enns on some points --- have greatly appreciated and benefited from his material over the years.
Sooner or later, we all go through uncertain times in the Christian life. Who among us hasn't felt scared, uncertain, or confused, and unable to voice our thoughts from fear of being made into a church pariah? One permeating theme of Enns' work is that biblical faith is about trusting in God and moving forward even during these times; another is that being faithful to the Scripture requires us to come to it on its own terms, not ours. And all of this has tremendous relevance for how we relate to other believers in a way that honors Christ and unifies the Church, rather than furthers division.
If you feel compelled to deconstruct this episode, please consider doing a grammatical-historical word study of the transcript first.
Several weeks ago, Pope Francis escalated his political and economic rhetoric with a direct attack on libertarianism. Jeffrey Tucker, one of the liberty movement's most influential thought leaders and himself a Roman Catholic, was told by his publisher that it seems as if the Pope's comments were aimed at his book A Beautiful Anarchy (recently released in Spanish to strong sales). Jeffrey delivered a written response to the Pope on the website of the Foundation for Economic Education, and today he joins us for an in-depth discussion.
Does Pope Francis have an accurate understanding of libertarianism? In Roman Catholic theology, are the Pope's comments on such subjects considered binding, or is he speaking outside of his competency? Does the Catholic Church have a history of supporting the western classical liberal / libertarian tradition? Is the libertarian emphasis on individual rights consistent with authentic community? Jeffrey answers all these questions and more, and shares his much-needed message to the Pope (and all Christians) for why if he wants to uplift communities and human dignity, he should support liberty and free markets.
Join us on this fascinating episode as we bring Roman Catholics and Protestants back together for the very first time since 1517!*
*(Unlike the history discussed in this episode, this comment is not at all factual).
In this episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast, Norman, Doug and Nick venture into the metaphorical woods with a discussion of things we've been thinking about lately relevant to faith and freedom. We start off with aritificial intelligence and robotics, jump over to Russiaphobia and the New McCarthyism, round the corner with Rene Girard and Hank Hanegraaff, and close out with some practical application on prioritizing issues.
Several segments didn't make it into the final cut, including three white men talking about racial tensions in modern America (it wasn't any good; trust us). As for what did make the cut, here's your obligatory college campus trigger warning: “If you're a Marxist, neocon, socialist, crony capitalist, Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian, male, female, or human being, you may find something here marginally offensive or disagreeable. The listener accepts all responsibility for any faux outrage that may result from their choice to listen. You may wish to consult a psychological professional for additional information if needed.”
It's obvious that throughout history, books have been one of the primary methods for communicating ideas. However, certain books stand out above the rest in terms of their perennial relevance and impact across hundreds or even thousands of years; these have come to be known as the Great Books. In this episode, humanities scholar Dr. Jason Jewell joins us to discuss the immense value of the Great Books for sharpening both our Christian faith and our libertarian political philosophy.
Covering the last 3,000 years of literature in about an hour would be a Herculean effort beyond the capabilities of we mere mortals, but we do our best to look at some important highlights throughout the ages and what they can teach us about the New Testament era, the development of political philosophy, the history of Christian and non-Christian thought, and the nature of the human spirit. Studying the Great Books is a lifelong journey, and we hope that this episode encourages listeners to be diligent readers and, most importantly, deepens their desire to study the greatest book, the Bible.
If you don't know how to read, you can probably skip this episode. But if you understood that last sentence, then don't miss this interview.
God & Country: for generations, it has been the refrain of 'respectable' Christianity for many Americans, but is it really a Christian concept? What about the majority of the world's Christians who live outside the United States, many of them under oppressive regimes? What about the earliest Christians living under Rome?
We talk a lot at LCI about why nationalism is not Christian. On the other hand, does loving your neighbor mean there is also some sense in which you should love your country (not necessarily the government)? To discuss this very important and practical issue, all four hosts of the Libertarian Christian Podcast are back together again, but we won't ask you to honor us by removing your hat and placing your hand over your heart while you listen.
In this week's episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast, we are joined by author and pastor Keith Giles, whose new book Jesus Untangled is making waves with its thesis that the Church must separate itself from the state.
Doug and Nick discuss with Giles how he reached his conclusions and his insights on contemporary Christian political thought, as well as explore what he thinks of libertarianism and how his thesis lines up with LCI's.
This was a fantastic interview, and if you're looking for a clear, readable resource which plainly explains to the everyday Christian why the Church allying with the state is both unwise and unholy, then Giles' Jesus Untangled is a great choice. Hopefully it will help many more Christians untangle from the web before the statist spider injects its venom and then charges them for the government-monopolized cure.
In last week's episode, Nick and Doug interviewed communications expert Robin Koerner on how to effectively reach people with the libertarian message. In this episode — recorded independently of the previous interview — Norman and Jason discuss their take on the subject, including a corollary issue which is sometimes raised by LCI supporters: how can libertarian Christians better communicate Christianity to other libertarians?
Are there parallels between Christian evangelism and advocating for liberty? How can libertarian Christians be both better evangelists for the gospel and better communicators of the liberty message? Find out in this episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast! Alternatively, as many politicians seem to think that 1984 was an instruction manual, if you’re an aspiring pagan tyrant you could try the exact opposite of what Norman and Jason discuss (but we wouldn’t recommend it).
We libertarians tend to be a philosophical bunch, and many of us can spend countless hours arguing over the finer points of economics, or trying to explain how Rothbardian political economy applies to environmental issues. But the reality is that the vast majority of the population does not reach political conclusions on the basis good arguments; in many cases, people make decisions for subjective/emotional reasons, then devise an intellectual basis for their position after the fact. If libertarians want to make a serious impact in persuading more people, we must learn how to connect the liberty message to them on a subjective, emotional level.
Enter Robin Koerner, who in the 2012 presidential election cycle gained fame amongst libertarians due to his successful effort to convince large numbers of pro-peace Democrats to register Republican in order to vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. Today, Robin is a consultant who helps libertarians learn to be better marketers of the message. He is also a close associate of the great libertarian Christian, Jeffrey Tucker (which whom he has released a new book). Tune in and find out why some very important people have started referring to Robin as “the Dale Carnegie of the 21st century!” (By the way, we're the very important people)
Today we are going to talk about an issue that is familiar to most Christians but one they might not be inclined to associate with their libertarian beliefs. Christians believe in doing what is called “spiritual warfare,” and this has implications for what it means to engage the world we live in with the power of the gospel. What we hope to do in this episode is open up a discussion about the importance of understanding the battle for a free society within the cosmic framework of spiritual warfare.
On this episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast, we respond to questions from you: the listener. Does a Christian's view of libertarianism differ from that of a secular libertarian, or from the philosophy of Ayn Rand? What should we think about ever-recurring issues such as abortion and gay marriage? And how about the much-discussed Great Wall of America? The gold standard, libertarian movies, and even ROADS: we discuss them all and more!
Question: What was the best part about this episode for us?
Response: The listeners wrote the script so we didn't have to.
On this episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast, we dive into yet another contentious topic. Libertarians (particularly of the anarchist variety) are very much divided on the issue of whether or not it is ethically acceptable to vote in government elections, while the resounding consensus amongst Christians seems to be that voting is at least a civic right, if not a divine command. But how much of this thinking actually comes from American culture rather than Christian theology? Should libertarian Christians see voting as an act of defense or Christian social responsibility, or is it perhaps the unacceptable endorsement of a statist system? Join us on this episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast as we discuss. Afterwards, you can e-mail us your vote on whether you loved or hated this episode; you can then decide for yourself if you think your vote counts.
DISCLAIMER: The Libertarian Christian Institute is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and as such we cannot and will not advocate for or against specific candidates or legislation. We can't —and we won't — tell you who and what to vote for, or whether to vote at all.
On today's episode of the Libertarian Christian Podcast, we welcome our first guest: Dr. Jamin Hübner. Jamin is a professional theologian from South Dakota, where he currently serves as founding Chair of Christian Studies at John Witherspoon College. No stranger to controversy, he is quickly becoming one of the leading scholarly voices for Christian libertarianism. In this interview, you'll hear Jamin's fascinating intellectual journey towards Christian libertarianism, his take on the relation of the Church to the academy, and what he believes the future holds for libertarian Christian scholars. You'll also hear the official announcement of LCI's newest major program: the Christian Libertarian Review, with Jamin serving as our General Editor. This episode is somewhat longer than normal, but unlike the hollow promises of the state, it does not disappoint.
Welcome to the third episode of The Libertarian Christian Podcast. Today, we explore another volatile topic: violence, self-defense, and pacifism. The overwhelming majority of both Christians (at least in the West) and libertarians are not pacifists, and would at minimum favor a right of retaliatory or defensive force against aggressors. In fact, most libertarians tend to be even stronger advocates of gun ownership and self-defense than the typical conservative. At the same time, many professed pacifists are advocates of gun control, high taxes, and other leftist public policies (which, of course, are always enforced by the state with violence). Despite copious examples from earlier in church history, finding consistent Christian pacifists in the West today is exceedingly rare.
The Non-Aggression Principle --- the baseline of all libertarianism --- holds that it is unethical to initiate force against anyone, except in response to an attack on person or property by an aggressor. The Non-Aggression Principle leaves open the door for violent self-defense, so long as one does not initiate an attack. However, libertarianism is not a comprehensive worldview that addresses every ethical situation, and it's possible that the Bible calls Christians to an even higher standard of behavior than what baseline libertarianism would permit.
Are Christians ever permitted to use violence, even in self-defense or the defense of others? Should we encourage gun ownership? What about Christians serving in the military or as police officers? Tune in to Episode 3 of The Libertarian Christian Podcast! We'll even cover the type of cliché hypothetical scenarios that anyone involved in this debate can expect to hear in every conversation on the subject; maybe we'll even succeed in 'blowing away' a few of them...
Welcome to the second episode of The Libertarian Christian Podcast, and the first episode in which we'll start to dive into some serious analysis. The mainline marketing gurus advise to ease into things without rocking the boat, so we thought it would be good to jump in with a non-controversial topic, like 'Should civil government even exist?' The liberty movement spans a broad range of thought on this issue, but most libertarians would roughly be classified as either advocates of a very small, limited civil government (minarchy) or advocates of some form of stateless society with no civil government (anarchy). What should libertarians think of this issue, and how does Christian theology come into play? Find out, in Episode 2 of The Libertarian Christian Podcast.
Welcome to the inaugural episode of The Libertarian Christian Podcast! We at LCI are very enthusiastic about this project. Not only have our supporters been asking for it; it's also a blast for us to record. But most importantly, we hope and expect it to be a valuable resource for the Church to think through our political philosophy and be better equipped for the Lord's work. But before we get into some of the heavy lifting that you'll encounter in later episodes, we thought we'd start off by introducing ourselves to you; it's probably a good idea for you to know what you're getting into (cf. Luke 14:28-30) . So join us as we explore faith, freedom, and talk pretty much exclusively about 'religion and politics.'
Robert Murphy's Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism
Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics
Ron Paul's Revolution: A Manifesto
N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope
Greg Boyd's Myth of a Christian Nation
Ludwig von Mises Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism