Freedom Has Its Requirements

As they say, freedom isn’t free.

The times we are in require serious thinking about freedom, a freedom that moves beyond sheer libertinism. With freedom there comes a yoke, the yoke of virtue. Only good men can prosper from freedom and only good men can produce it.

Os Guinness is here interviewed by Al Mohler concerning his new book, A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future. Sloppy thinking about freedom gets many a Christian into a mess. Theologically, free grace cannot mean freedom to sin, yet many professing Christians so believe. They don’t quite say it like that, but that is the conclusion. Grace’s nature is not to produce holiness but simply forgiveness. What a paltry and ghostly, not to say ghastly, version of the Christian faith. As a pastor, sometimes I think I have heard it all, but I never cease to be amazed at the conclusion some church people draw from grace. They absolutely see no need for holiness nor the imperative of it. Holiness is simply not related in any direct way to the Gospel of grace.

It is not merely the simple who make such a slip. It comes in all kinds of sophisticated guises. I have previously expressed my concern about the New Calvinism and its flirtation with antinomianism, the cutting of the cord that links justification to sanctification as if salvation was complete in the act of imputation of the righteousness of Christ alone. This strain of Christianity is all too sterile and undramatic. It simply makes Christianity a state of affairs rather than a walk with God.

But, to my broader concern, at the political and cultural level I conclude that too many Americans think they are being good American simply by saying “live and let live.”  They face the same project Socrates faced in Greece in 400 BC, how to produce a man who is capable of sustaining freedom without collapsing society into a cauldron of libertinism. Freedom alone does not make us good and a good man is required for a good society. There must be something else. What is that something else?

This is what is on the mind and heart of Os Guinness. He is one of Evangelicalism’s leading cultural analysts who brings to the table a breadth of sources and a depth of intellect, as well as a heart that breathes the air of affection for the things of God. I recommend this program to you, as well as all the writings of this time tested one-man-think-tank.

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