A Christian Nation or a Nation of Liberty? (You Can’t Have it Both Ways)

More from Glenn Tinder:

When Christians accept liberty they accept the possibility–a possibility that is almost certain to become a reality–of a world unformed and ungoverned by faith.  The natural inclination of faith is to build a sacred order–to reconstruct the world in its own image.  In granting liberty, it abandons that spontaneous project  It acquiesces in secularism–life unrelated to God and unstructured by faith.  Acknowledging the right of human beings to be free, it allows for a repudiation of faith…Granting liberty is making way for sin.

The Political Meaning of Christianity, p. 102.

ADDENDUM:  Several readers who are not familiar with my work here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home seem to think that Tinder is arguing on behalf of a Christian nation.  Actually, Tinder is arguing for liberty rooted in the human dignity of all human beings and, as a result, a kind of pluralism.

Here is more context:

…when Christians commit themselves to liberty there follows an enormous complication of Christian morality; they deliberately refrain, in some measure, from resisting evil.  They allow the tares to grow with the wheat.

2 thoughts on “A Christian Nation or a Nation of Liberty? (You Can’t Have it Both Ways)

  1. The issue is that the elements of modern free governments — such as individual rights, free markets, regulated commerce — are concepts that were mostly unfamiliar in the ancient world when the Bible was written.

    Nobody in antiquity argued, for example, that the crucifixion of Jesus was wrong because it violated his right to have his own religious views, or his right to free expression.

    If the writers of the Bible could express their ideal view of government, it would be a benevolent theocracy. So there is a wide gap between what is Biblical and what most anybody thinks is appropriate today.


  2. Well, Dr. John Fea, which side are you on? Do you want the U.S. to be a Nation of Faith or a Nation of Liberty? Also, must the dichotomy be so stark? Couldn’t the U.S. be a Nation of Faith to some degree and simultaneously a Nation of Faith to some degree?

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