It is the religious liberty that accompanies the Christian gospel which allows for and even promotes all other liberty. It sets the captives free. One might think that a society would see the multiplied flourishing that flows from the freedom Christianity brings and would celebrate the gospel presence. Rodney Stark points us in the right direction, “The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians.”
The application of God-given reason and the Christian expectation of progress have helped build the flourishing that has characterized the western world. To look at the history of worldwide human flourishing is to look at the spread of Christianity. The prosperity of the modern world in western civilization was unprecedented prior to the expansion of the Christian faith. Even parts of the developing world today that are stepping into new realms of prosperity are the places in which the Christian gospel is being embraced. Stark enforces this thought, “The modern world arose only in Christian societies. Not in Islam. Not in Asia. Not in a “secular” society - there having been none. And all the modernization that has since occurred outside Christendom was imported from the West, often brought by colonizers and missionaries.”
The preservation of religious liberty necessitates contending for what is true. If religious liberty falls the other liberties will fall. And if “truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:14) then hell-bound implosion results. Samuel Gregg offers these helpful words, “Truth still has a chance because it is in harmony with what we are as humans. No error can ever take away the light of the logos who is the truth. Truth is the only thing that sets us free.”
We must contend for the truth. The truth is the only hope for human freedom and the liberation needed from tyranny in every form. At times we wonder if the truth is enough. Why doesn’t it seem to be working stronger, more fully? But it is working because it is a person. His name is Jesus and He is still working. It is His truth alone that properly corresponds to reality. Only the truth found in the person of Christ is the penetrating light that pierces through the darkness of deception and death and brings freedom. Let us walk in the Truth, speak the Truth, and live out the Truth. The Truth will set us free and we will be free indeed.