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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Being informed on challenges to religious liberty


In a recent post, I argued that the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 have left American evangelicals with a growing sense of their own disenfranchisement in the public square. Christians will have different responses concerning whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. But one thing I hope that Christians can agree upon is that Christians should pray "for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Tim. 2:2).

I don't want conflate this text with every argument you might find for religious liberty, particularly those which depend upon some idea of the supreme and autonomous individual. Yet I do think this text encourages Christians to pray and possibly work for something like religious liberty. Let me try putting the verse in my own words: pray for your political leaders, that they would write constitutions, pass laws,  build institutions, and make judgments which, among other things, would permit churches to exist and for Christians to live according to their understanding of biblical godliness and holiness, never required by their political leaders to contravene the commandments of Scripture.

What do you think--a fair rendering?

As you may know, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has chosen to apply the Affordable Care Act in a manner that requires non-church organizations of over 50 employees to provide insurance which covers contraception and abortifacient drugs. And the question at stake here is whether requiring an employer to provide this kind of insurance is requiring them to contravene the commandments of Scripture and is therefore a violation of religious liberty.

In order to educate its own members as well as the community at large, Capitol Hill Baptist Church invited a representative of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to explain how the HHS mandate is a violation of religious liberty. Westminster Seminary's Carl Trueman was also on hand to offer his two cents on the matter.

I am posting the video of this event because I believe churches and their leaders should take the time to inform themselves of what's at stake with the HHS mandate. Plus, members of the public have an opportunity between now and April 8 to officially comment on the coverage of certain services under the Affordable Care Act.   

Watch a video by Henry Forum: The HHS Mandate and Challenges to Religious Liberty