March 27, 2014

Keep Your Mind on Heavenly Things

By In Blogs

Perhaps a Christian objection to pondering a political theory and spending time investigating the nature and utility of the State is as follows. “You really ought to spend more of your time thinking of heavenly things and not be so concerned about politics.”

I do not mind at all the intention behind this statement, or even the statement per se. For it rightly places the rotten world of politics on a lower level than theology. However, two things could be noted in response. The first is that God is the rightful King. Thus, authoritarianism in all its forms is an affront to God precisely because it is, by its nature, men proclaiming that they have the right to apply their own law to their subjects and rule over them. To focus on heavenly things is to advocate that God, not certain men, is the King. Politics is evil because it is the tool of the State.

And secondly, does not our libertarianism vindicate us? If libertarianism understands that the State is a menace and constantly calls for the State’s propagators to refrain from praising the State, perhaps we should think of our time as well spent. If politics is a farce and the State is a jealous and false god, does not this clear the way for us to focus on Christ’s heavenly Kingdom? The American Christian at large is distracted by the world’s Kingdoms. By adopting libertarianism, perhaps that distraction will disappear. We are not concerned about politics in the sense that we seek to master it for our goals. We are concerned about politics in the sense that it lays a heavy burden on the soul. Only Christ can alleviate that burden.

This is entirely consistent with our libertarianism.

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
  • RA Jameson

    This is an important point that you bring up. But it doesn’t stop with politics and the rhetorical question you are answering often misses the point. We study politics and political theory because we serve a just God who delights in justice. He commands us in Micah 6:8 to do justly. You and I disagree with some minor issue here and there, but I know that we are in 100% agreement that goodness, kindness, and justice are what motivates us to study political theory.

    We don’t study politics for academic purposes or to increase our knowledge for the sake of being more educated. Reformed Libertarians study political theory because we are compelled to live amongst each other and not be hermits. To that end, conflicts arise. How should they be handled? We were commanded to feed the poor, but who is going to do it? Is there a good way/bad way of doing that? We were told not to steal. In our mind income tax is theft, and therefore it grieves our Lord. Locking people in cages grieves our Lord since at no point did He advocate such measures. Thus, we aren’t trying to be political nerds as much as we are trying to hear and apply the Word of God to EVERY facet of our lives. Romans 12 dictates our foreign policy. Galatians 6 dictates our benevolence. We refuse to compartmentalize some fields of study and say that the Christian has no business being there. Study math, God made it. Study the stars, God made them too. We should study everything we can get our hands on because when we discover truth, we discover something about who God is.

    It happens that the truth of God’s universe has been revealed to those that do not credit God with the revelation. We call them Mises, Rothbard, etc. And in some areas they are more accurate than our Christian brothers and sisters. In the same way that my math professor knew more about algebra than my pastor, regardless of whether he was a Christian or not.

    Truth be told, any study can be academic and therefore not necessarily God-honoring. You can even read the Bible for literary value and I would offer the same warning. Good write-up C.Jay.