Thursday, March 5, 2015

CHE Sadaphal — Why Christian Libertarianism Fails

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor” (I Corinthians 10:23-24, NASB).

Christian libertarianism fails for one simple reason: in order to love your neighbor, you must first stop paying so much attention to yourself.

The context in which the apostle Paul wrote those words highlights two points. The first is to avoid the mistakes of the people of Israel who, instead of relying on God in the wilderness, chose to chase after idols and act immorally—their subsequent penalty was death. Essentially, instead of chasing after God’s interests, they chased after their own. The second point: being free is not inherently advantageous because your freedom can often cause someone else to stumble. Paul explains this point through the method of eating different types of meat, but the underlying principle remains the same: the ultimate definition of freedom is not limited to the self, and although someone may be technically lawful, such lawfulness may not be beneficial to others.
Hence, in verses 31-33, Paul writes: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God … please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved” (italics mine).