By Gordon S. Jackson
This booklet argues that during Western democracies, Christians of all theological and political backgrounds needs to be ardent advocates of advancing, now not curtailing, freedom of speech. they must accomplish that either inside their very own ranks and within the more and more secular societies during which they reside.
This examine provides the idea that of unfastened expression, and its contrary of censorship, as a device for the Western church (and the U.S. church specifically) to reply extra properly and successfully to controversy. of their such a lot serious shape, those controversies bring about either formal and casual obstacles on unfastened expression, as Christians search to silence people with whom they so much stridently disagree. This research is well timed given the Western church’s present kingdom of flux because it attempts to figure out its id and challenge in a post-Christian surroundings. The publication will attract a variety of considerate Christians who might welcome principles on how the church may still refine and reside out its project within the early twenty-first century.
The examine therefore explores the church’s perpetual quest for stability on fronts. First, in the church, there's the necessity is to welcome all who input its doorways, but additionally to proclaim and cling faithfully to the gospel message. moment, as Christians engage with their host tradition, they should take the gospel message to the area with no being infected by means of it. Neither of those demanding situations is new. yet taking a look at them in the course of the body of unfastened expression is, as are the insights anticipating the considerate reader.
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Extra info for Christians, Free Expression, and the Common Good: Getting Beyond the Censorship Impulse
93 They needed to erect fences to keep people, especially children, from falling to their death. But some people, Bayly said, built fences farther back, away from the edge. ” 94 The reason is that people learn the wrong message: when risk-takers in the community cross the fences and discover that nothing happens, at least initially, they assume there is no danger, and head unwittingly toward a precipice—and potentially a catastrophe. While Bayly specifically applies the analogy to the evangelical Christian community, it is valid for Christendom generally.
Robert Webber, God Still Speaks: A Biblical View of Christian Communication (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1979), 71. 15. Ibid, 72. 16. Isaiah 55:11 (Revised English Version). 17. The nature of our freedom as Christians and its implications for free expression are addressed later. 18. ” Nicholas Wolterstorff, Educating for Shalom: Essays on Christian Higher Education (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004), 22. 19. Walter Brueggemann, The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984), 15.
None of this is to imply that the church should tolerate everything and anything; to do so would soon mean that it stands for nothing. Rather, the contention here is that, as Küng puts it, Christians often “over-step their competence,” laying down boundary markers in wrong places. Later in this chapter we shall return to the importance of this need for the church to insist on limits to free expression. But for all its faults, the church plays a unique role in God’s kingdom and in accomplishing his purposes.