Church Discipline and Liberty
We libertarians are big proponents of self-government and self-ownership. This does not mean people are on an island with no accountability or no guidance (most people still wish to be part of a community. Technically, libertarianism says people are free to be hermits if that suits their fancy. The question becomes what kind of communities can serve as alternatives to the government in being places of accountability that are non-compulsive, voluntary, and persuasive in nature instead of coercive. (Which is opposite of the government, which is the supreme lord of force) Common examples of accountability in person are: meet-up groups, churches, ideological organizations, cooperatives, Alcoholic Anonymous, and the list could go on for a while. Examples of this online: Facebook (social media, in general, especially Facebook groups), chatrooms, forums, online education (University/courses), and the list ever grows. I want to discuss how the church replaces and does a better job at this than the government through church discipline.
The Church as a kind of accountability group
Whether someone is under the supervision of an elder body or not, they are still accountable to God whether they like it or not since He is their creator. According to 1 Cor. 5, God judges those outside of the church, but the leadership of a local body is meant to oversee the safety and purity of Jesus’ flock that they co-shepherd under. If there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, they need to be run off if possible in order to keep the exclusive church undefiled by blatantly sinful lives or doctrine. As non-believers are under sin, they need to be managed under the law. The church, on the other hand, helps those who believe in the gospel to be motivated to love and to pursue good works. (Heb. 10). As I said earlier, the church's primary role is helping one another. Those outside the church can be pleaded with freely, but they are not the primary responsibility
Part of the church’s role in society is to develop the most important kind of person in society, namely fathers. (If one wants to argue that fathers are not important, then look at the statistics of families with fathers and without fathers). There is no other relationship between adults and children that have more influence than parents. I remember when I was a youth pastor (I no longer believe in age segregation of churches) and when I was a Christian camp counselor, contemplating that no matter how much time people outside the church can get with a kid, the parent has potentially thousands of hours with them a year. The training of fathers and mothers to be loving and kind-hearted people that live by reason and logic is amazing for everyone. (I could have said society, but society is a made-up idea that politicians use as propaganda; there are only individuals).
The state is unable to motivate people to do anything. It does not have any religious dogma, it is only able to make promises and steal from others or print money to fulfill their promises. Their promises have a religious vibe to them, like a messianic or savior kind of vibe. The main true positive is keeping evildoers from harming people. Those in political office wish that they could be of help, but the government is a response to the people's beliefs they already have. The government's role is not meant to regulate or dictate any particular morality. They have no grounds for objective truth, and they have no ideology that brings everyone together.
Implied in the separation of church and state and the 1st amendment is that people are free to find out what works for themselves. Institutions like the church are there to help them. The idea of church discipline as an alternative that is persuasive in nature instead of coercion. Since the church is an exclusive group of people with narrow beliefs and a clear way of life to be lived out, those that claim their belief system can choose to call out one of their own for doing something that is immoral based on their own writings and communities’ teachings.
I say all this to say that God has created government in his church (as explained in Matt. 18) for those who have gone astray from their own moral code. The state needs to know its place. The church is already serving that role, and for those who are not religious, there are alternative groups for them, as previously mentioned. The minute we let the state start stealing the influence and role of the church in helping people love morals and virtues live, is the moment that the church is not serving its God-ordained role of guide to the people that they are meant to shepherd.
The government is not a place to gain a set of standards or ethics, it is merely a mirror of the majority of the people (at least in our modern representative republic). By the very definition of the government, it is meant to be tossed to and fro by any wave of public opinion. The government is not meant to enforce a standard for morality. God has created many different organizations that operate without the need for force to be helpful. I will end this article with a quote from a fellow Liberty-minded person,
"Being a libertarian means caring about freedom for everyone. It means respecting the rights of other people, even when we find their actions or words disagreeable."
Tim Bankes II
Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish
Some of my other favorite books on these subjects that are great for beginners to the liberty movement are: