As the first tenet of Abolitionist ideology, we understand the importance of preaching the Kingdom of Heaven at hand, hoping to persuade men unto repentance and faith so that they may partake in the congregations of the Lord.
To be evANGELical is to be God’s ‘messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God’. The Great Commission, though mostly ignored and twisted by professing Christians today, is a perfect example of what it means to be evangelical.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Any consistent approach to liberty will be one that honors God’s order of creation and pays homage to the truths with which he has blessed us. In discussing the civil bondage that man makes for himself and his neighbor can only be regarded through a lens of sin and repentance and how they relate to judgment and faith. The lofty discussions about human civil government, political action, taxation, non-aggression principles, and any other bulwark against liberty must be from a Biblical worldview and a Christian perspective. This is because human civil government is a sin issue and the road to liberty is a repentance issue, wrapped up in obedience to God.
This is not to say that humanists and secularists are unable recognize the wickedness of being mastered by their fellow man. Surely God making upright, those made in his image still gives those who reject him the ability to recognize common sense truth, but the fact is that they cannot account for that truth and have no ideological framework on which to interpret it. This is also why it is the rejection of God which leads men to recognize the truths of liberty but wholly reject them in order to form the bonds of human civil government. When men no longer desire to be ruled by God, they will fail to keep his commands. When they fail to keep his commands, they soon disregard social virtues, fail in keeping the Sabbath, dishonor their fathers and mothers, and eventually chase after other gods for provision and protection, which will enslave them into the Egyptian bondage that we all find ourselves in today.
It has been on behalf of God’s nature and the desires for his creation that famous men in the Bible have liberated their neighbors from bondage or warned them against the dangers of rejecting God from their worldviews. Abraham rescued civil citizens from the yokes of Ur and Haran. Moses liberated the Israelites from the covenants they made with Egypt. Gideon refuses the voice of the people to have him rule over them. Samuel refuses to give the people a king, then warns them of the consequences for their sin. Nehemiah makes friends of the unrighteous mammon, then secures the freedom of the Israelites and moves them away from human rulers. John the Baptist condemned the political bondage of the Pharisees to Herod and Caesar while overseeing the conversion of many into a kingdom of freemen. Jesus Christ himself refused to subject that kingdom to the Pax Romana and established a nation for freefolk who keep his perfect law of liberty.
Even though the subjects of bondage and liberty can be over-complicated and muddied from secular points of view by economists, political affiliates, and humanistic presuppositions, they ultimately and firmly rest on two theological propositions:
- The imago Dei gives man a certain nobility that, when maintained, prevents him from being ruled over by other men. When God gave to Mankind the Dominion Mandate, establishing his prerogative to subdue the earth, fellow image bearers of God were not included.
- The God-man himself, stepped down into the darkness of human civil society to establish a kingdom in order to liberate man from the dominion of man, including the sins that lead them into that bondage. Jesus Christ, the king of Judea, became like us in all things, humbling his sovereignty in order to provide an example for his disciples to follow while having a name for which they can make appeal in order to live as free souls under God. Read more about this here.
All of scripture either describes and warns against the way to bondage and death or prescribes and points to the way to liberty and life. These are not just hyperspiritual concepts that have little to no impact in this life. The jurisdiction of Heaven is not just a place awaiting dead men or some second coming of Christ. Hell is not just a punitive reality for unrepentant deceased sinners. These paths are taken while you are alive and their destinations are likewise experienced by the living; their choices determining ultimate fate.
And this is why the subjects of bondage and liberty are concerned with the Gospel of God, which must be preached, not out of man’s wisdom which so often perverts the truth and makes victims out of sinners, but from the perspective of God who desires that every man repent before he be redeemed unto liberty and new life.