Christian Freedom

The Christian Concept of Freedom, by Henry Stob, Grand Rapids International, 1957. 52 pp., $1.25.

This is an important book. It is a slender volume, but in it the author discusses an important topic in an excellent way. The author is professor of Ethics and Apologetics at Calvin Seminary. The book contains two lectures, “The Liberty of Man,” and “The Liberty of Conscience.”

The first lecture stresses the Christian concept of freedom as the means by which man may attain his true place in life “under God who made him and above the nature he is called upon to rule” (p. 32). The author states that “the Christian faith is the taproot of our civilization and by that token is the source of what we have come to regard as one of its most hallowed traditions, the tradition of freedom” (p. 15). Against this definition of freedom, Dr. Stob ably examines the failings of Greek humanism, mediaeval and renaissance philosophy, and Marxist materialism.

The secret of true freedom, says Dr. Stob, is an enigma to the secular mind. But the man of faith knows that freedom begins only when men bow in reverent obedience before God. Christians “bow at this one point and therefore are free at every other … free of nature and on an equality with men.” Dr. Stob continues, “That is why we are deaf to communism; we have no ear for economic determinism. That is why we resist to the death all tyranny; having given our allegiance to the King of Kings we count no man our master—neither the man on horseback, nor the … man in the mitred cap. We stand in awe neither of the man in the Cadillac nor of the man in overalls. We are not intimidated by academic nonsense, and we do not bow before the sacred cow of science. We are free men” (pp. 32–33).

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