• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • April 2010
    M T W T F S S
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The Libertarian Christian

From an article by Bojidar Marinov:

My thoughts were well-trained philosophically by my parents so I never succumbed to the temptation to believe that freedom meant being able to do what I wanted . . . I knew what all libertarians know: Freedom has limits, and these limits are ethical in nature. . . .

I grew the suspicion that the philosophers were lying to me; that the greatest problem of philosophy was freedom vs. bondage; and they were unwilling to admit it for they had no solutions. . . .

Oh, my friends would say, you don’t need God for the solution. You can join Ayn Rand in assuming objective existence and objective conscience, and your problem is solved. The question of origins is irrelevant to the issue of freedom. The idea of freedom is based on the very nature of existence. We assume existence in an Axiom, and the rest is easy. Who cares how things originate, we only need to postulate that they exist. . . .

But I had a new problem, an ethical one. By defining away the origins I defined away the possibility for ethical definitions. Remember the ethical limits I talked about? How could I find those ethical limits if all my thinking started with the simplistic Axioms of Existence and Conscience? What is – is what is, and what I know is what I know. How do I derive a system of practical ethics from such simple axioms? Is morality part of existence? Is it “natural” to us? If it is, then whatever I do must be moral. If it isn’t, how do we discern between “natural” and “unnatural” existence. . . .

And then, of course, comes the very practical question of my rights. I know I want to be free, I know that my freedom is ethically limited, and I know that my freedom will require that others be ethically limited, unless I want to surrender my freedom to them. But how do I derive my rights from simple axioms of impersonal reality? Do my rights exist objectively? If yes, why do I have to fight for them, why don’t they just exist of themselves? If no, am I making up new, subjective reality in my brain?

So now I had three things that I desperately wanted but I couldn’t reconcile: Freedom, Ethics, and Justice. . . .

When a dear friend of mine shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with me, he knew nothing of my intellectual struggles. There was one thing that caught my attention that night when he talked to me about his faith: “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.” And then Jesus adds: “And if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”

There was the solution to my problem! I was blind to search for an impersonal Truth, an inexorable, merciless entity that holds the universe in an iron grip. And I was blind to search for Freedom that was focused on myself so much that would make the rest of the world irrelevant—and make me irrelevant in the process. Truth was possible to know only if it was itself a Person; and Freedom was possible to have only if it was itself a Person. That Person couldn’t be a mere man—or I would be in slavery. He must be a god, or rather, God, the Creator of the Universe. And if the Bible was true, then my problems had one reason: I was a stranger to God, and thus I was a stranger to Freedom, Ethics, and Justice. I had to come back to Him, through the redemption He provided in Jesus Christ. Only then I had . . . everything.

If He was the Creator, He was the Truth. Knowing Him, I would know the Truth. He was Freedom too: He created my very nature and He knew what I should do to be in harmony with my real nature. And He was Justice for He gave me the rules for a just society that has liberty and justice for all. What all the philosophers wanted but couldn’t find, He had it, and He was it.

Therefore I couldn’t be a libertarian without Christ. I tried, and it was impossible—philosophically and ethically. It was self-contradictory, it was against the very nature of things, and it was believing in a set of assumptions that had no discernible connection with reality or with each other. Only in Christ I had them all brought together in a coherent whole. And only in Christ did it make sense to be willing to die for your freedom—without Him death was the ultimate judge of things, and slavery was preferable to facing death. . . .

Read this entire article here. . . .

The Old Truth

Charles Spurgeon

As Charles Spurgeon said so long ago:

“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be a liar to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth. I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.”

The Responsibility Of Citizens

Quoting George Washington:

“The citizens of the United States of America have the right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were by the indulgence of one class of citizens that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

Spurgeon’s Defense Of Calvinism

Charles Spurgeon

From the desk of Charles H. Spurgeon:

“Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when I first received those truths in my own soul – when they were, as John Bunyan says, burned into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man – that I had made progress in Scriptural Knowledge , through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God.”

“One week night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, “How did you come to be a Christian?” I sought the Lord. “But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The truth flashed across my mind in a moment – I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make my constant confession: “I ascribe my change wholly to God.” (CH Spurgeon: Defense of Calvinism)

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