What does being free in Christ mean for building a flourishing society? That’s the question Art Lindsley answers in IFWE’s latest booklet, Free Indeed: Living Life in Light of the Biblical View of Freedom.
Produced by popular demand – after surveying IFWE subscribers on what booklet topics you wanted in 2016, the “biblical view of freedom” was the winner – Free Indeed argues that the Bible’s vision of an ideal state of living includes more than inner freedom from the bondage of sin. Christ has set us free, and we need to live accordingly because God is working out good things through us – including the freedom and flourishing of others. You can learn more about Free Indeed in IFWE’s bookstore.
AL: Freedom is one of IFWE’s key ideas – “Freedom. Fulfillment.Flourishing.” There is not much written about the biblical view of freedom, especially surveying the idea through the whole Old and New Testaments. I wanted to make a unique contribution to studies on this topic as well as define one of IFWE’s key themes.
Also, as I studied the topic in our cultural context, it became clear to me that we need to understand freedom so we can stand up for it, as there are threats to it within the U.S. and without.
What is it about freedom that you want readers to understand?
AL: There is a profound relationship between freedom and flourishing. The opposite of freedom is slavery. The opposite of fulfillment is frustration. The opposite of flourishing is poverty.
There is also a relationship between these three values. The more we have political, economic, and religious freedom, the more we will be fulfilled. The freer people are to use their creativity and shape the world around them, the more they will be fulfilled. That’s part of being made in the image of God, that we’re able to use our creativity to unfold the potential of the creation around us. The freer we are to do that, the more fulfilled we’ll be. And the more people are able to use their creativity, free from external constraints, the more there will be flourishing in a particular society.
That’s the underlying message that goes throughout the book. There is certainly the inner view that biblically, at least in the New Testament, the focus is more on freedom from sin and the power of death and the constraints of condemnation, at least of the Law. But in both Old and New Testaments there is a significant place for both inner and outer freedom.
It’s election season. How might this booklet speak into our politics today?
AL: IFWE doesn’t give advice on who to vote for, but it does give principles that should guide us. There are certain implications of the biblical view of freedom. It upholds private property. If the state encroaches on private property or takes from some to give to others in an undue way, that seems to go against the biblical view of freedom. The biblical view of freedom also involves limiting government. It’s not a bunch of prooftexts. We see a whole pattern in the Old and New Testaments that warns constantly of the danger of government gone awry.
How do you hope readers will receive Free Indeed?
AL: I hope they’ll have a new way of thinking about freedom that will be informative for how they view both their personal lives and their public lives. That they’ll have a framework of values that allows them to see what’s important and good for a flourishing society.
For a limited time, we’re offering IFWE blog readers a special price of $3.99 on Free Indeed: Living Life in Light of the Biblical View of Freedom. That’s more than 30% off the current offer price! Use code: FREEINDEEDBLOG (Offer expires 9/16/16). For those who prefer a digital version, a free download is available for a limited time. Click here to order.