Thursday, July 11, 2019

Freedom and the Gospel

Our freedom is in Jesus. The only freedom that really counts is the deliverance from the spiritual powers of evil that he wrought for us on the cross.

War rarely establishes true freedom, because the tumult and violence of war allow the spiritual powers of evil to have a field day, so people on both sides are made worse off.

I don’t know of any situations where economic sanctions have produced freedom and advanced the gospel. The ordinary people suffer, and the powerful get rich on the black market.

The efforts of the United States to impose freedom and democracy by war have a pretty ugly record. An honest observer cannot pretend otherwise. Iraq is still a wreck. The Iraqi church has been dramatically weakened, because Christians have been forced to leave the country. Libya has gone from having the best health care and education in Africa to been a disaster. Yemen is currently being wrecked with US support and weapons. The twenty-year war in Afghanistan has produced terrible suffering and very little peace. The gospel has gone backwards. Bombing Vietnam produced a disaster in Cambodia.

Relying on governments to provide freedom is a mistake. Even in the United States, government surveillance and controls are reducing freedom.

The gospel can prosper in places where dictators rule. In the twentieth century, the gospel has been far more effective in China with limited political freedom, than in the United States with greater political freedom.

In the nations like Iraq, which the United States has invaded or imposed sanctions, the gospel has done badly, because the local people see their nations being attacked by a Christian nation and resent it. You can go with a gun and the gospel and expect to be taken seriously.

My confidence is in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God cannot be established by political and military power.

I have written about these themes in more detail in my books Kingdom Authority and Government of God.

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