In the Bible we read in Acts 11:26 that in Antioch the disciples of Christ were the first who took upon themselves the name of Christians. Later in Acts 26:28, King Agrippa said to Paul, “almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Much has been written about what it means to be a Christian and to be a disciple of Christ. In this article I want to focus on a different angle. What is the cause of Christians? Is it simply to “win souls for Christ?” I think it’s a much broader scope than that.
In the Book of Mormon, a military leader known as Captain Moroni, led his people through some incredibly difficult times. That section of the book is nicknamed “the war chapters” because of the focus on Christian living in a time of extreme conflict. It’s very much a battle we see playing out before us today.
In Alma 46:16 we read:
16. And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.
Shortly later the account states
Alma 48:10. And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians.
Moroni’s goal was not bloodshed through attack. All through the war chapters, Moroni only ever fought a defensive war trying to free their country from the hands of their enemies who had come in and taken possession of many cities. Because his people were in a state of unrighteousness, and had forgotten their God, the blessings of prosperity and protection had departed from them.
When I created this website and started adding resources to help with scripture study, I knew one of those resources was going to be Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary. As I prepared to write an article about the resource and how to use it, I discovered this quote:
“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed.. .No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” –Noah Webster, preface to 1828 Dictionary
Really? Can a free government only exist if it has a basis in Christianity?
Christ declared his cause, at least in part, in Luke 4:18.
“18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”
There are several things in this verse, but I will just mention setting at liberty those that are bruised and under oppression. How does the gospel of Christ do this? What does it keep us free from?
There are in this world two opposing forces. Paul warned us of Satan’s side:
Ephesians 6:12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Satanic forces always seek to enslave and enrich themselves. They seek to take away the liberty of the people through compulsion and manipulation.
God always seeks to deliver the people from bondage, establish freedom, and give people their moral agency to choose how to live their life.
America was founded to be a free nation. There is only one set of principles that can govern a free people and those are the principles of Christianity as Noah Webster pointed out. No other principles can allow a people to be free. If we have envy, we will seek power over others till we have gotten over them. The gospel of Christ teaches us to reject envy and allow God to bless us according to our needs and wants by the application of our industry and faith. And then teaches us to take care of the poor so that others don’t compel us to do so through taxation and other forceful means.
President Howard W. Hunter, a past prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints shared this interesting insight.
“What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms . . ..
If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through ‘a democratic process’ he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the ‘haves’ and give to the ‘have nots.’ Both have lost their freedom. Those who ‘have,’ lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who ‘have not,’ lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got ‘something for nothing,’ and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.
Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms, which they have lost. (Speeches of the Year 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, “The Law of the Harvest.” Devotional Address, Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966.)
To me, the cause of Christians isn’t just about winning converts for Christ, but about providing the freedom to live as you choose to all people. Giving all the freedom to choose to accept Christ or not. To live life the way they choose unhindered from others that would seek power over them.
Those who would act to enslave others are certainly not Christian any more than the “Christians” during the crusades who falsely claimed that association. The great atheistic enslavement tools of man are found in communism, fascism, and socialism.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 134 we read:
1. We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.
2. We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
This is a part of the cause of Christians that doesn’t get much mention. Maintaining freedom for everyone is of paramount importance or else the freedom of religion and freedom to worship God according to our conscience will disappear, and when mankind enters that state of bondage, destruction lies at the door. God will deliver the righteous from the wicked.
Should you want to store these quotes above or any other thoughts, you might create a collection note as follows, but feel free to do it however you choose.
If you perform a search for:
You will find 8 results. One is a name of an individual which can be removed. The remaining 7 could be made into a collection note and tagged with things such as Christian, Freedom, Cause, Socialism, etc…
You might do other searches and find other related verses. There are many results for searches on freedom and liberty that can be studied as well.
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