I keep running into conservative, confessional Lutherans (including on this blog) who, in their political ideology, are libertarians. Could somebody explain how that works, in light of the relatively high view of the state and of temporal authority evident in Lutheran theology (e.g., the orders of creation, the estates, the vocation of citizenship, the Table of Duties, Augsburg XVI, etc.)? Doesn’t libertarianism require a kind of individualism unknown until the Enlightenment and Romanticism? Wouldn’t the distaste for earthly government that characterizes libertarians be more characteristic of Karlstadt and the enthusiasts of the Peasants’ Revolt rather than Luther, Gerhardt, and Chemnitz? Or are Lutheran libertarians different from regular libertarians? (I’m not criticizing Lutheran libertarians, mind you, just trying to understand them. Please, somebody, explain.)
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About Gene Veith
Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.