Religious Liberty & the Christian Conscience

by Timothy R. Board

There is no sector of life where you can temporarily deposit your spiritual beliefs into a box & then take them out at a more convenient time.  Everyone lives according to their worldview.  This is the body of ideas, beliefs, & values through which you view the world, interpret life as it is, & the way in which you think it should be.  Everyone behaves as determined by their beliefs, therefore worldview shapes everything.  Understanding this is critical to the constitutional right of our first freedom.

Religious liberty is necessary to the civil governance of society & the preservation of freedom that has formed the heart & soul of American exceptionalism.  This country has historically been a beacon of hope to the masses because of the freedom to practice one’s religious beliefs according to conscience as opposed to the tyrannical whims of despotism.  It is outside the jurisdiction of government as set forth by the Sovereign Creator, Jesus Christ, to mandate which religious beliefs its people are to hold.  That is the kind of bondage which multitudes fled from in the Old World & found the freedom their hearts longed for in America.

Politicians discuss “freedom of worship” but this is not the same thing as “freedom of religion.”  Even though they sound similar, they are vastly different.  When progressives discuss freedom of worship, they are actually promoting the idea that people are free to worship so long as their beliefs are limited to “pews, hearts, & homes.”  This idea is much in contrast to freedom of religion or religious liberty because one’s beliefs which determine your worldview shape everything you do in the private & public arena.

The Christian conscience as it relates to religious liberty is shaped by the revelation of Almighty God in the Bible.  Everything the believer in Christ does is determined by the Word of God because it is our first & final authority for what we should believe & how we should live.  This spirit was embodied by the famed herald of the Reformation, Martin Luther, who was called upon to give an answer for his beliefs because of their controversial nature which went against the traditions of Catholicism.  He declared that, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.  I cannot & I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

The heart & soul of Christian conscience as determined by the Word of God is anchored in love for God & love for people & particularly vested in the Person & work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible teaches that He is the Ultimate Answer to the ultimate questions because He is the Creator, Purpose, & Savior of mankind.  It is only through His death & resurrection that sinners can be saved from God’s wrath in hell & live to the praise of His glory.  Christ is worthy of full allegiance because of who He is & what He has done.  What do you have that you are living for that is worth dying for?

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

*Published in the Adams-Friendship Times-Reporter: March 2015