How do we navigate competing definitions of liberty?
There are two competing ideas on personal liberty that inspire two vastly different understandings of the fundamental nature of freedom. One was recorded 2000 years ago and has guided Christ followers from countless cultures through a myriad of history’s most tumultuous moments. The other is comparatively much younger, more culturally constricted, and considerably less charitable.
Woven into the theological fabric of many evangelicals is a national allegiance that syncretistically mutates a more historical theological understanding of biblical freedom into a less demanding variant. For most, I would assume, this is an unconscious theological stance that has become unwittingly assimilated into a larger cultural dogma. A position that naturally evolved from generations of selfless patriotism, national pride and a sincere love for Jesus. For many, this overriding cultural narrative of love for God and country can be as wholesome as apple pie.
And in many ways, it is, but certainly not in all.
What happens when our cultural understanding of liberty (personal rights) collides with a biblical understanding of liberty (personal surrender)? What does it say of our theological understanding of biblical freedom when we litigate in order to stand shoulder to shoulder, barefaced declaring “with arms high and hearts abandoned” that our greatest spiritual liberty is our lawful freedom to assert our personal rights?
It seems that to many of us, whether unconsciously or with great and dark premeditation, we have substituted biblical freedom (being free to sacrifice for others) to a cultural concept of freedom (free to exercise my rights) as a world watches our example in horror. Instead of being known for our leadership in …