By Art Lindsley and Anne R. Bradley
We’ve Remembered Our First Freedom, Until Now.
Religious freedom is one of the most important freedoms that the American experiment has given the world. Sadly, many have forgotten not only the importance of our first freedom but also that its roots are founded in biblical principles that call us to champion religious freedom for all. As a result of inattention, the religious liberties we take for granted are now being challenged. Our response at this critical time in history will have a significant and lasting impact on the direction of the United States.
In Set Free, editors Art Lindsley and Anne R. Bradley explore the biblical underpinnings of religious freedom and how those biblical roots have been understood throughout history, the essential role of religious freedom in promoting human flourishing, and why this precious freedom must be restored at all costs, for people of all faiths, not just our own. With contributions from Christian theologians, historians, and public policy analysts, Set Free provides readers with a firm understanding of Christianity’s unique and essential contribution to religious freedom.
Contributors to Set Free include:
- Stanley Carlson-Thies
- Joseph Connors
- Daniel Dreisbach
- Barrett Duke
- Os Guinness
- Mark David Hall
- Jennifer Marshall Patterson
- Scott Redd
- Greg Wallace
- Hugh Whelchel
Art Lindsley is the vice president of theological initiatives at the Institute for Faith,
Work & Economics. Previously, he served as president and senior fellow at the C.S. Lewis Institute. He is also coeditor with Anne R. Bradley of For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty and Counting the Cost: Christian Perspectives on Capitalism.
Anne R. Bradley is the vice president of economic initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and a visiting professor at Georgetown University. She also teaches at The Institute for World Politics and George Mason University.
"Here is a collection of superb essays speaking to one of the most pressing moral and civil issues of our time. Religious freedom, once taken for granted in our culture, is increasingly under threat today, at home as well as abroad. Set Free is a welcomed resource in a struggle all persons of conscience must embrace— for eternal vigilance is still the price for religious liberty."
—Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, General editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture
"Religious liberty is the root of every other human right and duty. Without soul freedom, there can be no freedom at all worthy of the name. This First Freedom is grounded in the imago Dei reflected in every human being and in the gospel of Jesus Christ itself. Set Free guides the reader through the importance of religious liberty with an eye to developments in the culture around us. This book is worthy of deep reflection and conscientious consideration."
—Russell Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty of the Southern Baptist Convention
"Religious freedom is under assault to various degrees throughout the world and this timely book, with contributions by leading experts, explains the principles, reasoning, and laws that underpin America's unique understanding of religious freedom. It explains why religious freedom is the foundation of our free society; how it is not limited to the confines of one's home or the four walls of a building; and the significance of "reasonable accommodation" for religious practice in a religiously pluralistic society like our own. Set Free offers an important primer for defending the precious right of religious freedom for all Americans."
—Nina Shea, Director, Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, Former Commissioner, US Commission on International Religious Freedom
"Many Americans treat political, economic, and religious freedom separate, and separable, things. Some defend political and economic freedom while ignoring religious freedom. Some ardent religious believers are dismissive of economic freedom. And even some Christians believe the idea of religious freedom is the product of the secular enlightenment. This important book shows why these ways of thinking are deeply mistaken and ultimately self-destructive. Religious freedom is our first freedom, and it is deeply rooted in Scripture and Christian history. No society that ignores it can long enjoy freedom in the political and economic spheres."
—Jay Richards, Research Assistant, Professor in the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute
"Religious freedom is more than America's first freedom, it is God's gift to humanity, a beacon of hope, and a blessing for all faiths in every corner of the world. People that care about preserving and protecting religious freedom domestically and abroad should read this book and become more than articulate about its history, its Biblical foundations, its importance to all other freedoms, and the looming dangers of losing it."
—David Nammo, Executive Director and CEO, Christian Legal Society
"In a world of increasing incivility in the public square, it is essential that people of goodwill embrace religious liberty. After all, no one has the ability to force another human being to believe anything that he or she does not believe. The liberty of conscience is in desperate need of affirmation in our day. Toward this end, Set Free is an important read. The book grapples with the relevant issues and should help the reader engage others in a thoughtful and civil manner."
—Paul A. Cleveland, Ph.D. Professor of Economics and Finance, Department of Business, Birmingham-Southern College
"Set Free is a must-read for those who care about the linkage between religious freedom and human flourishing. It is refreshing to see an outstanding group of scholars use Biblical principles, history, ethics, and empirical analysis to examine the role of religious freedom and its importance as a source of personal liberty, sound institutions, and human progress."
—James Gwartney, Professor of Economics, Florida State University
"With a diverse cast of powerhouse contributors, Set Free makes a stirring biblical, historical, and practical case for defending religious freedom for all. Every Christian who cares about religious freedom will learn from this valuable book."
—Luke Goodrich, Vice President and Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and author of Free to Believe: The Battle Over Religious Liberty in America
"Thomas Jefferson admonished us that our liberties are a gift from God. One of those liberties—religious freedom—enables us to worship God, or not, as we see fit. With this important freedom under sustained threat today, Set Free could not be timelier. The chapters will provoke discussions that we as a nation must undertake in our churches, our schools, and in the public square if we hope to preserve liberty for our posterity."
—Roger Ream, President, Fund for American Studies
"Set Free charts its course from a first principle that far too many Western economists and political theorists have forgotten: that a Setter for our political-religious-economic conundrum actually exists. This book skillfully advances through a dozen scholarly arguments the conviction that religious freedom is essential for true political and economic liberty—and why, if we want the latter, we should recommit to the former."
—Josh Good, Director, Faith Angle Forum
"What is freedom? What does it take to be free? Heavily grounded in materialism that downplays or denies free, rational action and ultimate truths, many modern views focus simply on freedom from external constraints to largely do as one wants. In contrast, real freedom requires free will and reason internally, and, externally, a setting for personal development to learn virtues and the truths on which to act. This synthesis of free will, civil society, and the implications for freedom is the sophisticated account of human freedom needed today. Set Free provides a fantastic overview of that inspirational vision."
—John Larrivee, Associate Professor of Economics, Director, BB&T Center for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Capitalism
"So in all, the book explains where religious freedom came from, why it matters, and how you can explain it using both biblical and secular reasoning.
I needed this book. I needed it as part of my preparation for what we’re facing. But do not think I needed it just because I write columns at The Stream. I needed it because friends in our church small group have had questions. I run into questions and debates on Facebook and other social media. And these questions will only grow louder and more insistent over time.
I needed it, and I’m quite sure you need it, too. I’m very serious — in fact, our circumstances are very serious. You and I both need to get equipped for this battle. Set Free is a start — a very good one."
Dimensions (inches) 6 X 9