Live as free people—1 Peter 2:16
Proclaim liberty throughout the land to its inhabitants–Leviticus 25:10
The rest of 1 Peter 2:16 reads: “Do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves” (NIV)
We not use our freedom as a pretext for bad behavior.
Leviticus 25:10 is inscribed on the Liberty Bell. I used the first part of the verse.
This site explores how a free people can live well (and good) in civilization.
This site focuses on two kinds of grace (see below).*
James Arlandson, Ph.D. (UC Riverside 1994), is an independent, “working class” academic. He is a novelist and essayist first and college teacher second. His completed novel can be seen at this plot summary: The Reluctant Exorcist. Twenty years ago he published an academic book: Women, Class, and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke-Acts (now out of print). He has posted all sorts of articles at the popular website American Thinker. His sisters have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (by e.g. Thomas Wilbourn / Wellborn and John Ryland and others); Jamestowne Society (by Robert Booth); and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (by William Clayton). He can also trace his ancestry back to the Plantagenets by the “royal gateway ancestor” William Clopton. His email is [james m arlandson att hot mail. com] (Please take out the needless symbols and spaces and use @).
This is what brings us into the saving knowledge of God. Why “saving”? We could say “rescue.” Without experiencing saving grace, we wander around in the Shadowlands (C.S. Lewis), between light and dark, or in the Gray Zone, between black and white. We needed rescuing or saving from ourselves, the devil (yes, that evil being really does exist) and the world system.
Once we get the divine rescue, we can have more clarity about the world. Or at least we can be assured that in our (temporarily) muddled state, God will work out everything in the end, for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
Only in saving grace can we live truly free in civilization.
This grace is generously given by God to everyone, whether they know him personally or not. Everyone—that’s why it’s called common or general. A warning, though. It might not necessarily lead to saving grace.
Common or general grace gives people a certain level of enlightenment and conscience so they won’t act completely bad and might do some good in society.
Common grace is God’s countless blessings, big or small, visible or invisible, appreciated or unappreciated, on every human on the planet.
Is it possible to increase the general goodness in society for those who don’t experience saving grace?
Let’s hope so.
Common Grace shows up in these areas, to name a few, where this site is eager to explore.
It’s sweeping the whole world, little by little–or maybe rapidly. What is it? Do people misuse it? How does it benefit the Church?
2. Physical, material realm
How do people live prosperously in society? If the love of money is wrong, is making money also wrong? What economic system is best for people living well? How does one live healthfully?
3. Intellectual realm
God gave everyone a measure of intelligence, so how do we use it to advance society, to better it? Do you have any ideas that can benefit society? Maybe philosophy fits here.
4. Historical realm
To interpret moral law, for example, one must know his history–how has God worked through it? As the old saying goes, history is his-story.
Personally, I like to do family history research as a hobby (I’m not LDS). I like history, so I like to share some things about that.
5. Moral realm
How do we establish laws so people behave themselves and do good? Should some customs in society be eliminated or maintained? If so, should it be done individually or socially (in a group)? How does the conscience get informed by moral law?
Come to think of it, what is moral law? Some theologians of an older generation pointed to the Ten Commandments. But not so fast. What about the moral law that is found throughout the New Testament? How does law and grace interact? Or should they stand apart, face to face, friendly, but not friends?
6. Creative realm
I like the fine arts and drama and a certain kind of clean entertainment. I consider myself a novelist and essayist first, a teacher second.
7. Political and societal realm
What’s the best form of government? Pure democracy or a Republic? Communism? Socialism? What about educational institutions? Businesses and corporations?
I write a lot about politics. Sometimes I get feisty, so strengthen your mind and sharpen your intellect. Maybe I can get a little like the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1-2 and 3:1 and 5:12. If you’re soft-hearted and sweet-spirited and gentle souled, don’t click on them.
8. Religious realm
I prefer my own religion—Christianity, a standard Biblical one. But I’m willing to explore a few key concepts in another one, if only to contrast it with my own.
Ultimately, however, my exploration always goes back to the gospel of grace alone and faith alone—saving grace.
Maybe this site can clarify what true liberty means.
I hope you enjoy the site!
*HT: Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 31A-B (1994).