Truth Tribe with Douglas Groothuis
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Why Christians Should Be Conservatives and Conservatives Should Be Christians

August 14, 2023
00:00 42:20
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Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith— Alexis de TocquevilleDemocracy in America.

I. What is Christianity?

A. Ultimate reality: an infinite-personal, triune, eternal God (Exodus 3:16)

B. The universe is created by God out of nothing (Genesis 1; John 1)

C. Humans made in God’s image, but fallen (Genesis 1-3)

     Have unique and incomparable value in God’s world; basis for objective human rights (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 8)

     Need redemption from a source beyond and above them (Romans 1-8)

D. God has revealed himself in nature, Scripture, and Christ so that we might be redeemed, honor God, and be salt and light in the world (Romans 1:18-21; Hebrews 1:1-4)

E. State and society are not identical (Matthew 22:16-23)

F. Civil government is ordained by God, but not the ultimate authority

     State has “the power of the sword” (Romans 13:1-7)

     The danger of the sword (1 Samuel 8: Ezekiel 28:1-10; ; Isaiah 14:1-12; Revelation 13)

G. The Kingdom of God is not fully realized through politics or human efforts and achievements

II. What is Conservatism?

A. Key figures: Edmund Burke, John Locke, Founding Fathers, Federalist Papers, F. Hayek, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, Richard Weaver, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Roger Scruton, Thomas Sowell

B. Adopts the constrained vision of man not an unconstrained vision (Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions)

     American Revolution: inspired by theism through John Locke, Samuel Rutherford (Lex Rex) and others. Constrained vision

     French revolution: inspired by Rousseau; irreligious and totalitarian. Unconstrained vision.

C. Conservativism denies utopianism; the state cannot regenerate human beings or create a perfect world. See Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed

D. Advances human rights as extended to property rights, which curtain the incursions of the state into private matters

E. Advocates a limited state as one form of government that does not have jurisdiction to regular, control, and tax everything

F. State as insuring natural negative rights: not be murdered or plundered

G. Separation of powers as a safeguard against the consolidation of power

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely—Lord Acton.

H. The state is under a higher authority and may lose its legitimation

Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

American Constitution: First amendment as restraining state power

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Teaches the rule of law, not the whim of man; Democratic Republic (under a Constitution), not democracy or democratic socialism

Free market is the best engine of wealth, best antidote to poverty, and gives freedom to individuals (Jeremiah 29:7)

III. Conservatism and Christianity

A. Christianity gives the best philosophical foundation for Conservatism

     Authority of God over the state (and all else); basis for a limited state

     Religious perspective (prophetic) can call the state to account for its abuses. Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream”

    The greatness and limits of human beings: the constrained vision

            Human rights based on humans bearing the image of God (Genesis 1:26)

            Humans cannot be saved or redeemed through politics.

            Christians are given liberty in their salvation and through the wisdom and power of Holy Spirit; they must not worship the state, mak

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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary. He is the author of nineteen books, including Fire in the Streets (a critique of critical race theory or wokeness) and Christian Apologetics, A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith.

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