If you were to choose one book on....

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Posts 1466
Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 18 2019 8:31 PM

If you were to choose one book in the logos platform on the relationship between politics and Christianity which book would you choose to purchase above all others? 

Posts 29
LW | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 18 2019 9:35 PM

City of God (Translation for the 21st Century, tr. William Babcock), by St. Augustine, for sure.

Posts 18857
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 1:18 AM

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder is a classic.

Posts 51
Joseph Sollenberger | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 1:59 AM

I will agree with Rosie and name The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder as my choice for this topic.

Joseph F. Sollenberger, Jr.

Posts 1147
Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 3:07 AM

Rosie Perera:

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder is a classic.

I third Rosie; also, we need to get the Niebuhr bros. into Logos.

Posts 309
Lonnie Spencer | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 3:23 AM

Blair Laird:

If you were to choose one book in the logos platform on the relationship between politics and Christianity which book would you choose to purchase above all others? 

Wayne Grudem's book, "Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture"

https://www.logos.com/product/26742/politics-according-to-the-bible-a-comprehensive-resource-for-understanding-modern-political-issues-in-light-of-scripture

Posts 9167
Forum MVP
Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 6:02 AM

Rosie Perera:

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder is a classic.

I have not read that but I have it in my library and it is now on my reading list. Thanks.

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Posts 1180
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 6:36 AM

Scott Sauls: Jesus Outside the Lines looks excellent!

Posts 2363
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 7:10 AM

I'm torn between the Gospel of John and Acts, with a very honorable mention for 1 Samuel. I also love Dr. Carson's quote that if we needed political stability, God would have sent a politician.

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 527
J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 8:07 AM

Imo, Faithlife is lacking in regards to resources in this area. Grudem's book, mentioned by others, would be an important consideration. He defends conservative (i.e., American, Republican) positions and many won't like that fact, but he does argue for why those positions make sense and why he thinks they are in line with the Bible.

The value of this work is it really is fairly comprehensive (or more comprehensive than most other works you'll find in this genre) and that Grudem attempts to justify his conclusions and interact with some alternatives. Thus, even if you disagree with conservative American politics, you will get good insight into *why* Christian conservatives in America think the way they do. And, to that end, it will dispel some common, uncharitable caricatures like "They just want power!" or "They don't care about poor people!"

Also, even though books in ethics aren't about politics per se, on some understandings politics is simply ethics applied to society. And so you might find some insight by looking at Christian ethics books.

Here I would suggest Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics, 3rd ed by Scott Rae. Chapters 1-3 address metaethical considerations that may be outside your stated concern, but chapters 4-11 touch on political issues ((Business ethics, abortion, capital punishment, economics, etc.). You may find that you don't want to skip 1-3, as metaethical considerations lay groundwork for the normative concerns in 4-11.

If it is fair to say that Grudem's book takes a more advocate-stance, this book attempts to be somewhat more neutral (here-are-the-options) on several (not all) issues. So you might say Rae's book defends a more moderate conservative position. (If you're familiar with conservative media, Grudem might be the Ben Shapiro/Daily Wire branch of conservativism and Rae might be the Kevin Williamson/National Review branch--though to the left of Williamson on some issues).  

To give an example of how Rae addresses what is, today, a contentious issue even among conservatives: he discusses four critiques of global capitalism and ways in which supporters of global capitalism might respond. The four objections are that (1) it is based on greed, (2) it leads to wealth inequality, (3) it leads to outsourcing and destruction of local communities, (4)  it leads to consumerism. After laying out each point, he notes what might be true in the objection while also sketching out a defense of global capitalism in light of the objection. He concludes:

"It may be that there are some goods and services that should not be distributed according to market mechanisms. That is the reason why many countries have laws prohibiting the sale of organs and body parts, and why adoption law does not allow birth mothers to be paid for their adoptable children. Part of the reason why some goods and services ought to be off the market is that if everything was a market transaction, there would be no place for uncompensated altruism. There is debate over some goods being on the market, such as a woman’s eggs (used in infertility treatments) and renewable body components, such as blood and sperm. Further debate exists over having reproductive services such as surrogacy be market services" (p. 342).

Another ethics book that is, overall, to the left of Rae: Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, 2nd ed. I don't have this book in Logos and haven't read the 2nd edition. The 1st edition has a different format and address some different issues than Rae's book. It has more of a biblical flavor in its approach. Rae is more philosophical.

One thing to note: regarding homosexuality, in the 1st edition, written 2003, the authors take the traditional stance that homosexual relationships are not permissible. They write:

"If the axis of authority shifts, even subtly, from Scripture to personal experience, if all arguments related to nature are rejected, if pleasure and relational satisfaction or even faithful covenant bonding are the highest values in sexual ethics if celibacy is unrealistic or oppressive for some, as Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 7, the groundwork is laid for the kind of overall revision of Christian sexual ethics that has in fact been occurring in recent decades" (emphasis mine; p. 310).

In 2014 David Gushee shifted his position and came out in favor of same-sex relationships. In describing his shift to the media, he mentioned his sister coming out as a lesbian and a student struggling with the issue. I suppose this indicates where his "axis of authority" was tilted. The 2nd edition is 2016. Glen Stassen died in 2014. Despite this, I can say that there is a lot to learn from the 1st edition (again, haven't read 2nd) and even if you don't agree with it, it will explain why some Christians take a different approach than Grudem or Rae.

Outside of Logos...

A book that will help you understand the contemporary relationship between American Christians and politics that isn't as long as the other books, is more focused on the descriptive rather than prescriptive, and isn't in Logos is Thomas S. Kidd's recent book Who is an Evangelical?: The History of A Movement in Crisis. This is an excellent book, can be read over a weekend, and is largely non-partisan.

While this book from Kidd unfortunately isn't in Logos, this one soon will be: https://www.logos.com/product/185077/americas-religious-history-faith-politics-and-the-shaping-of-a-nation and I would definitely recommend it based on Kidd's other work. He is a great scholar and a clear, engaging writer. (His two volume American History is on vyrso... or whatever Faithlife is calling it these days.)

Tons of other books, including by non-Christians, could be added here. One more short one by a Christian that isn't in Logos but I wish was: Politics for Christians by Francis Beckwith. 

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Posts 527
J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 19 2019 8:23 AM

P.S. This book might help you get a bead on one recent stream in politics that has impacted a lot of young Christians: https://www.logos.com/product/183926/myth-and-meaning-in-jordan-peterson-a-christian-perspective

(Calling Peterson a philosopher, as the product page does, is questionable. He's a psychologist by profession and training. A disciple of Jung, another psychologist. The only merit here might be that Jung and other personality theorists blur the lines between psychology and philosophy more than other branches.... still falls on the psychology side of that divide.)

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Posts 1466
Blair Laird | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 23 2019 2:14 PM

Thanks for all the recommendations. Do any of these dive into the relationship of the bible and or Christianity with regard to civil religion? Additionally, any resources that come from the Christian perspective and political philosophy would be helpful. I assume some of these resources get into both. Thanks for all the details..J. Remington Bowling..  very helpful 

Posts 6897
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 23 2019 4:42 PM

Blair Laird:

Thanks for all the recommendations. Do any of these dive into the relationship of the bible and or Christianity with regard to civil religion? Additionally, any resources that come from the Christian perspective and political philosophy would be helpful. I assume some of these resources get into both. Thanks for all the details..J. Remington Bowling..  very helpful 

Maybe this one: https://www.logos.com/product/41797/discipleship-as-political-responsibility

DAL

Posts 527
J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 24 2019 6:47 AM

Blair Laird:

Thanks for all the recommendations. Do any of these dive into the relationship of the bible and or Christianity with regard to civil religion? Additionally, any resources that come from the Christian perspective and political philosophy would be helpful. I assume some of these resources get into both. Thanks for all the details..J. Remington Bowling..  very helpful 

Each of the books I mentioned (including, to a lesser extent, Kidd's historical sketch in Who is an Evangelical?) will provide some insight into this issue. Beckwith's book is probably a more sustained look at the question, and he is less focused on detailed issues that concern the other authors.

To promote the angle that I find most fascinating right now, Robert George's book Making Men Moral. George's recent article with Ryan Anderson, The Baby and the Bathwater, will give you an idea of where George (and Anderson) are coming from: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3456722

 (I wish Logos had books from both George and Anderson.)

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Posts 1274
Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 24 2019 7:12 AM

I just finished https://www.logos.com/product/156752/living-in-gods-two-kingdoms-a-biblical-vision-for-christianity-and-culture and it may be helpful for what you are thinking about. (?)

Posts 527
J. Remington Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 24 2019 8:12 AM

Mike Tourangeau:

I just finished https://www.logos.com/product/156752/living-in-gods-two-kingdoms-a-biblical-vision-for-christianity-and-culture and it may be helpful for what you are thinking about. (?)

Those unfamiliar might want to know that "two kingdoms theology" (2K ot 2KT) was a big issue of debate in Reformed circles several years ago. It was mainly coming out of Westminster Seminary, California and John Frame wrote a response to it (and some other issues, IIRC) called "The Escondido Theology: A Reformed Response to Two Kingdoms Theology." Unfortunately, this one isn't in Logos. 

Thus, it's a bit idiosyncratic. The movement petered down and now one rarely hears about 2KT... at least, that's my perception of it.

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Posts 1274
Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 24 2019 8:39 PM

J. Remington Bowling:
Thus, it's a bit idiosyncratic. The movement petered down and now one rarely hears about 2KT... at least, that's my perception of it.

I know this is not the place to discuss these things but I believe you may be overstating the point. There is this little work  that may help the OP as well as an author who many have not hear of who penned something along the same same lines. 

If anyone is interested in reading on how reformed history supports 2K, here is a great Logos resource https://www.logos.com/product/158108/natural-law-and-the-two-kingdoms-a-study-in-the-development-of-reformed-social-thought 

I don't mean to step outside the forum guidelines, I really think these resources answer the OP question.

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