While acknowledging that the Bible is not a book of political theory, a recent panel hosted by The Institute for Faith, Work and Economics asked whether or not Christianity and libertarianism were compatible. The panel, moderated by former Acton Institute intern Elise Amyx, was made up of young evangelicals eager to tackle the question. They came up with 5 reasons that Christianity and libertarianism were indeed compatible.
1. Christianity Celebrates Voluntary Action, Value Creation
Jacqueline Otto Isaacs, a blogger at Values & Capitalism, explained that the Christian worldview also supports libertarianism. ‘The message of the Gospel, the good news, is that salvation from our sins is offered through Christ — this salvation is voluntary and individual, and this is the core message of Christianity, Isaacs declared.
2. Big Government Does Not Solve Poverty
The panel cited Frederic Bastiat’s The Law, and noted that free markets were the best way to raise people from poverty.
3. The Biblical Role of Government
While the Bible is not a book of prescriptive government theory, it does have something to say about government, according to the panelists.
[Jason] Hughey then pointed to the gospel of Mark, where Christ describes what it means to serve others. ‘I think it’s very interesting that the model of service that Christ points to for the church is stated in direct contrast to the way the political authorities rule and lord it over others,’ the speaker declared.
4. The Welfare State Harms Christian Charity
The panelists argued that the Christian model of charity is personal, and when the government steps in, that personal link between people is broken. Government redistribution of goods also enhances the feeling of entitlement, which Christianity downplays.
5. Wealth Is Not Inherently Sinful
‘In scripture Jesus has several interactions with wealthy people, but some of them he didn’t encourage to sell everything,’ [Leah Stiles] Hughey argued. She explained that Jesus’ warnings are focused on the ‘heart issue’ of whether someone ‘puts possessions over Christ,’ and not a mere attack on the rich.
The Law was originally published in French in 1850 by Frederic Bastiat and is the work for which Bastiat is most famous. This translation to American English is from 1874.