Last week, I asked the readers of this website to fill out a short survey providing feedback on what they like about the site, what they don’t, and what subjects they’d like me to address. The one question asked more than any other was, “Should a pastor address political issues from the pulpit?” So, should [ Read More ]
When we ask the question, “What is a Christian view of politics?” we can be tempted to jump straight to party platforms and policy issues. That is, of course, how the conversation proceeds on the radio shows and cable news networks: “What is a Christian perspective on immigration reform?” “Why do Christians oppose abortion but [ Read More ]
2 Ways Christians Can be the Conscience of America’s Political System (An Interview with Hunter Baker)
Hunter Baker is one of the premier evangelical political scientists of our day. He is the author of The End of Secularism, Political Thought: A Student’s Guide, and The System Has a Soul, and serves as Associate Professor of Political Science at Union University (Jackson, TN) and associate editor of The Journal of Markets & [ Read More ]
The 2016 election cycle, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, has put on full display the social, cultural, and political breakdown we are experiencing in the United States. We have seen politicians treat each other with disrespect and incivility; we have heard radio show hosts and cable network pundits issuing high-decibel invective and [ Read More ]
For Christians who wish to be informed on matters of significance in the political arena but who are pressed for time, this article offers six “go-to” sources for political news and opinion. The first four sources are secular outlets; I follow them to keep abreast of breaking news and a variety of perspectives on the [ Read More ]
It is no secret that something is deeply wrong with American politics and public life. We are alarmed by the unrest and violence that surrounds us. We are disturbed by the toxic nature of public conversation about matters that are important to our common life together.
We sense that we are being hoodwinked by the people we elected to office. Politicians often say one thing to get elected and do another thing once they enter office (I think it was William Buckley who once said that a politician is a person of his most recent word). More significantly, they lie to us on matters of the greatest significance (as the great political philosopher Dennis Miller once said, “Washington, DC is to lying what Wisconsin is to cheese).
We sense that our past political witness has, in some ways, failed.
In addition to these sorts of concerns held by many or most Americans, conservative evangelicals are disillusioned with the fact that the past few decades’ worth of political activism seem not to have paid off. Worse, it seems to have backfired.
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In a recent post, I argued that the gospel is not only a treasure to be valued, but also a leaven to be kneaded into the “dough” of society. But how exactly do Christian virtues affect social and cultural realities? In that article, I made two big points: first, a gospel-centered approach to politics enables us as evangelicals to reframe the significant political issues of our day; and second, a gospel-centered approach to politics liberates us from society’s perspective that evangelicals are a special-interest arm of a major political party.
In this brief article, I will show how the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love counteract society’s maladies. Sick are the depths of our civilization’s soul, but soothing and healing are the spiritual operations of faith, hope, and love.
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Let’s face it: we evangelical Christians have not exactly “won the day” in terms of our social, cultural, and political initiatives. Although we have made some incremental progress with some of our convictional initiatives, such as pro-life reform, we seem to be losing ground on nearly every other front: religious liberty, human sexuality, marriage, among others. What’s more, certain developments during the past year have caused many of our fellow citizens to view evangelicals as little more than the hypocritical and bigoted special interest arm of the Republican Party.
Not the best of times, these.
In light of the situation, therefore, shouldn’t evangelical Christians consider slowing down, taking a deep breath, and reassessing our priorities so we can treasure the gospel and forget about politics and public life for a while?
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12 Books Every Pastor, Professor, or Student Should Read (about Christianity, Politics, & Public Life)
Here are twelve books I recommend to pastors, professors, and students who wish to be Christian witnesses in politics and public life. I will describe each book and then rank its level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult. Level 1 is the category for a book you could give [ Read More ]
“Never discuss religion or politics with those who hold opinions opposite to yours; they are subjects that heat in handling, until they burn your fingers.” So wrote Thomas Chandler Haliburton, a Canadian politician and judge, in 1840. Haliburton is not alone. He was merely expressing what many modern Westerners think: we shouldn’t talk about religion [ Read More ]