- Lately the idea of libertarianism seems to be on the rise. Though not
technically right or left, for the last several years it has been the
domain of Ron Paul on the fringe of the Republican Party.
This year that has changed, the rise of the tea party and the outcry
from the healthcare bill has re-ignited this movement and as the
country debates the national debt and how money has been spent on
the bailouts and stimulus packages it poses to open a great divide.
You may wonder what exactly Libertarianism is. There are entire
books on the subject but the short answer is that Libertarians
believe that the government should have no roll in our lives except
to protect the nation from attack and defend our freedoms. That
sounds well and good on the face of it, after all, who doesn’t like
liberty? Where we can all do what we want as long as we don’t hurt
others. What’s the problem?
Two things: first is that libertarianism is one step from being
anarchy (All government is bad) and if you listen to many of the
political ads this year you may question if some office seekers have
already crossed that line. The second, at least for the Christian, is
that it’s not biblical.
God gave Israel all kinds of rules about taking care of the weak and
the widows; ordering farmers to leave the corner of their fields un-
harvested for the poor and the year of jubilee in which all land was
returned and slaves freed. I’m not a theologian, so maybe someone
can prove me wrong. But I doubt you will find any place in the Bible
that supports a libertarian government view.
Some will argue that the Israelites were God’s people and that was
more like a church than a government. Maybe, but aren’t we the
people of God and isn’t the United States a government of the
people, for the people, by the people? Or is our government outside
the domain of our God?
Perhaps Abram Kuiper was wrong with his “every inch of creation
belongs to God.” Perhaps government is too corrupt to be
redeemed. But how can Christ be King of kings and not King of the
United States Government?
Once upon a time a slave named Joseph was asked to explain a
dream to Pharaoh. He explained how there were to be seven years
of plenty and then seven years of famine and that Pharoh should fill
stores houses now for years of famine ahead.
Pharaoh looked at the slave, and scoffed, “What are you, a
socialist? No wonder you’re a slave. It is not the government’s role
to gather food and then distribute it to those who are unprepared.
Let them die.” He shook his head in disgust. “I’m not even going to
tell you the dream about the snake coiled around the top a stick;
you would probably tell me it means we should have national health
care or something.”
Of course this never happened; in reality God used this heathen king
to show mercy not only to the citizens of Egypt but to all the
surrounding area including the future people of Israel.
God is not a libertarian, he is the opposite. He uses governments to
show his love, justice and mercy. He told us to love him first and
then to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we stand in judgment
in the final days somehow I don’t think the fact that we voted for
lower taxes will give God much pleasure.
Of course this doesn’t mean we should support every program out
there and go into debt for generations to come. That is a completely
justifiable argument, but as followers of Christ, we need to love our
neighbors and demand that our government reflects our values
whether it be reducing the number of abortions or helping the less
A government can not show love, only people can do that, but it can
show justice and mercy if we let it.