August 29, 2014

This Website Two Years Later and Our Chief Good

By In Politics

“Christ must be all, as your principal object in life—your chief good. Your great aim must be to glorify Christ on the earth, in the hope and expectation of enjoying him for ever above.” — C.H. Spurgeon

On August 29, 2012 I decided to start a blog and write out some of the things that I was thinking regarding politics and theology.  It was not called Reformed Libertarian.  I don’t remember what it was called at first, although it was long and awkward; something to the effect of “Thoughts on Christianity and Politics.”  I had graduated from college the previous fall and it was during that final semester that I had left my neoconservative ways and adopted the libertarian political theory.  I was curious about this mysterious thing called the Federal Reserve that Ron Paul continued to emphasize.  He had even written a book on it!  And so I did my “dissertation” (which was actually called a “Senior Seminar”) on the Fed.  Along the way, I poured into Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Peter Schiff, Tom Woods, G. Edward Griffin, and many others recommended by Ron Paul.  In five months, I became quite knowledgeable on the history, operations, and results of the establishment of America’s Central Bank.  I thought I was impressively well-versed on the matter –I earned an “A.”  Three years later, I cringe when I read it –I could have been so much more clear, more accurate!  Such is the nature of the developing human mind.

While growing up in churches associated with California’s Calvary Chapel movement, I had, much to the despair of my friends, become a –gasp!– Calvinist while a Junior in High School.  Three years later, while a Sophomore in College, I completely adopted the “Reformed” vision and considered myself a proponent of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.  And it was only last year (2013) that I understood the distinctions of the Reformed Baptist formulation of Covenant Theology.  Philosophically, it was also last year that I adopted the epistemological and metaphysical positions of the ever-profound Gordon H. Clark.  I decided to challenge myself, to see how well I really understand Clark, by participating in the Trinity Foundation’s annual essay contest.  Such topics seem incredibly dry to many readers, but they are important!

When I realized that the implications of Clark’s philosophy both demanded that Christianity be the foundation of a political theory, and when I understood that his epistemology was perfectly consistent with the Austrian School (and indeed demanded it!), my world burst open.  It was all connected!

This libertarianism that I had adopted was founded on something! There are libertarians who base the core proposition (“no one shall initiate or threaten to initiate physical force against others and their property” –Hans Hoppe) on so-called Natural Law (Rothbard) and others who base their libertarianism on various types of utilitarianism (Mises).  Still others (Hoppe) used a radical a priori Kantianism. None of these satisfied me.  They were all libertarians because they agreed with the defining proposition –but wasn’t there a better foundation? Indeed there was and I found it in the Augustinian “Scripturalism” of Clark.  The phrase “Reformed Libertarian” described me perfectly.  In fact, it fit far more perfectly than I initially realized when I purchased the domain.

This year I found that just under 3/4 of my site is political and economic content.  This is unacceptable for someone who puts “Reformed” before the “Libertarian.”  No, I do not sense my faith “waning” or anything like that; in fact, I have been growing greatly in my faith recently (thank God).  But the readership of this site is driven more by the political commentary than the theological commentary.  The first reason for this is that the majority of the people in this world don’t care much at all about theology.  And the second reason is that I don’t push hard enough on the theological side of things.  But the Scriptures are clear that the things of the Lord last forever and our lives under this earthly kingdom are but a fleeting moment (James 4:14).  What a great resource this site would be if the content was 50/50!

Economic and political theory and the ins and outs of that world are not to be our chief good. Yes, we are interested in them and yes our Christian worldview allows us to comment on such matters and speak truth into those areas, but our chief good, the object of all our affection, must be Christ our King. It is He who was slain on our behalf, that we might be adopted sons and daughters of the very God who sought to save us even though our hearts were radically and naturally hateful toward Him.  Our chief good must be the living Christ, who mediates on our behalf before the throne of the almighty God.  The vengeance and wrath of the State is vicious it seems, but it is remarkably staggering that the wrath of God was poured onto someone who stood in our place.  Let this God be our chief good.

In this third year, I hope to make some big changes on the site. I have talked about doing a podcast before, but work transitions made that too difficult earlier this year.  But now I am happy that it is in the works once again. We will be aiming to grow both the content and the audience of this site.  But every reader who visits us shall know: that our chief good is God. We praise the One who reigns supreme and sovereign in the heavens.  I hope this message of truth is used by God for the expansion of His Kingdom, which is already here and is also yet to come.

In this vein, I am happy to announce that we will be adding on board and republishing some of the blog posts of two individuals to whom I have looked over the last couple of years for solid theological content.  I enjoy following their blogs and so should you. The first is Brandon Adams, whose blog is here, and the second is Patrick McWilliams, whose blog is here. They are both 1689 Reformed Baptists who subscribe to Gordon Clark’s philosophy and who also share many of the same very limited government views as I do.  The focus of any content that they provide (both new and old) will probably and primarily be theologically related.

Here goes another year of the Reformed Libertarian. Thank you, dear reader, for making this website a whole lot of fun! Let’s see where it goes together as we grow and make exciting changes. All to the glory of God.

Liberty in Christ,

TRL Editor.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com