Thursday, July 19, 2007

Is "Liberty" Christian?

Christianity Today Online has a great article about the conservative reaction to an interview with President Bush, found here.

The portion many are reacting to is this quotation from the President:

The other debate is whether or not it is a hopeless venture to encourage the spread of liberty. Most of you all around this table are much better historians than I am. And people have said, you know, this is Wilsonian, it’s hopelessly idealistic. One, it is idealistic, to this extent: It’s idealistic to believe people long to be free. And nothing will change my belief. I come at it many different ways. Really not primarily from a political science perspective, frankly; it’s more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn’t exist. (reference)

This political, democratic freedom Bush speaks about is a confusing of the Two Kingdoms and borders on Liberation Theology (see the quote from Ross Douthat). Christ gives freedom, to be sure, but it is not freedom to vote, nor freedom from political tyranny that Christ gives. He did not overthrow the power of Caesar and His Kingdom is not of this world. He gives us freedom from the law of sin and death, and the freedom to live under the law of love (Rom. 13:10).

The United States of America is a great place to live because of the freedoms we enjoy. It is also a dark, sinful place to live because of the freedoms other people enjoy. God has certainly blessed us with a land of plenty, and God has blessed us with our form of government which largely embraces justice and truth. But God has established every government on this earth (Rom. 13:1-7). It is false to equate our constitutional republic with Christianity, as if our government was the most congruent with Christianity. It is not.

And again, Mr. President, the “Almighty” loves and gives freedom, but let us not confuse His Kingdom with those of this world.