Recently, a popular Christian, cultural commentator rightly urged us to focus on making an argument for the truth and goodness of free market principles in a free society. If we make the case others will listen. And that’s true. But he went on to say that it is innate in people that when they hear the truth they will recognize it and embrace it. And that’s not true.
Let’s agree that we Christians should make the argument for a free society. The notion of freedom is rooted in God’s kingship over mankind as opposed to man’s kingship, the fact that He gives each one of us liberty of conscience, and the gospel reality that we should persuade others to our way of thinking and living but not force them personally or through government action. We should make the freedom argument for God’s glory, for the good of people, and for the sake of truth.
We should also agree that others will listen, but not because it is innate within people when they hear the truth to embrace it. Just the opposite is true. Every single person who has ever been born since Adam suppresses the truth when he hears it (Rom. 1:18f). God must open a person’s eyes to see the truth (John 3:1f). We need grace to believe the truth. Non-Christians can embrace certain truths because they are created in God’s image. It is there, in our existence as image-bearers, that Christians and non-Christians have a point of contact in communicating with one another. But those non-Christians who see certain truths do so by grace. Not all see all things. Of course, no non-Christian understands the true meaning of what he believes in terms of its origin, why it really makes sense and its full implications because he doesn’t have the Spirit of God showing him that God’s truth is behind what he believes. A person must know God to get all of that (1 Cor. 2:14).
Let’s think further. God has told us to subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28), to work for the peace of the city/nation (Jer. 29:7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2), to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13), to make disciples through the gospel and teaching people to obey Him (Matt. 28:19f), and to essentially advance His kingdom (Acts 28:31). That’s His means of bringing people to Himself and thereby influencing the larger societies/cultures in which people live. God has also guaranteed success. He has chosen a people who will listen (Jn. 10:16); He will build His church (ekklesia- “called out ones”) and nothing can stop it (Matt. 16:18).
So, we should joyfully, confidently, and boldly keep making the argument that a free church in a free state, that freedom of religion and speech, that freedom to pursue life and happiness, that a free market and a very limited government is good and promotes prosperity. We should do so because people will listen, not because it is innate within them but because God is at work. God has chosen who will listen (Eph. 1:3f) and He has chosen the means by which they will listen (Rom. 10:17) – and that means is us – making the argument.