Christian Involvement in Politics, Culture and the State: Recommended Reading — CultureWatch

 

The Christian holds dual citizenship. He has two passports. He is a citizen of this world and of his own country, as well as a citizen of the next world. Thus he lives his life in both places. Yes, there is often tension and conflict between the two, but that is the way it is for the Christian while he awaits the Parousia.

For two thousand years Christians have thought and prayed about how the believer is to live in this world, how he is to relate to his culture, and what his involvement in politics – if any – ought to be. For example, the great Christian thinker Augustine wrote about this in his famous The City of God, penned in the early 5th century.

There would be many thousands of books written on these topics, and I would own many hundreds of them. So the problem here is to pick a small representative handful of volumes that are worth recommending. Obviously a lot of restrictions or limitations are needed.

Thus the following titles on church/state relations, Christian political involvement, the Christian in culture, and so on, will feature these parameters:

-mainly more or less recent titles
-mainly authored by evangelicals
-mainly of a more or less conservative orientation
-mainly encouraging us to get involved and make a difference

Here then are 55 books that can be recommended on these topics:

Anderson, Digby, ed., The Kindness That Kills: The Churches’ Simplistic Response To Complex Social Issues. SPCK, 1984.
Bandow, Doug, Beyond Good Intentions: A Biblical View of Politics. Crossway Books, 1988.
Beckwith, Francis, Politics for Christians. IVP, 2010.
Boice, J. M., Foundations of God’s City: Christians in a Crumbling Culture. IVP, 1996.
Brown, Harold O. J., The Reconstruction of the Republic. Arlington House, 1977.
Cairns, Earle, The Christian in Society. Moody Press, 1960.
Carson, D. A., Christ and Culture Revisited. Eerdmans, 2008.
Carter, Stephen, The Culture of Disbelief. Basic Books, 1993.
Carter, Stephen, God’s Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion In Politics. Basic Books, 2000.
Chaput, Charles, Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World. Henry Holt, 2017.
Colson, Charles, Against the Night. Vine Books, 1999, 1989.
Colson, Charles, Kingdoms In Conflict. Zondervan, 1987.
Colson, Charles, Lies That Go Unchallenged in Media and Government. Tyndale, 2005.
Colson, Charles, Lies That Go Unchallenged in Popular Culture. Tyndale, 2005.
Colson, Charles and Nancy Pearson, How Now Shall We Live? Tyndale, 1999.
Dreher, Rod, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. Sentinel, 2017.
Eidsmoe, John, God and Caesar: Christian Faith and Political Action. Crossway Books, 1984.
Esolen, Anthony, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture. Regnery, 2017.
Evans, Tony, How Should Christians Vote? Moody, 2012.
Forster, Greg, The Contested Public Square. InterVarsity Press, 2008.
Forsythe, Clarke, Politics for the Greatest Good. InterVarsity Press, 2009.
Grant, George, The Changing of the Guard. Broadman and Holman, 1995.
Grudem, Wayne, Politics According to the Bible. Zondervan, 2010.
Grudem, Wayne, Voting as a Christian: The Economic and Foreign Policy Issues. Zondervan, 2012.
Grudem, Wayne, Voting as a Christian: The Social Issues. Zondervan, 2012.
Guinness, Os, A Free People’s Suicide. IVP, 2012.
Guinness, Os, The Global Public Square. IVP, 2013.
Guinness, Os, Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization. IVP, 2016.
Guinness, Os, Last Call for Liberty. IVP, 2018.
Guinness, Os, Renaissances. IVP, 2014.
Guinness, Os, ed. Unriddling Our Times: Reflections on the Gathering Cultural Crisis. Baker, 1999.
Gushee, David, ed., Christians and Politics Beyond the Culture Wars. Baker, 2000.
Gyertson, David, ed., Salt and Light: A Christian Response to Current Issues. Word Publishing, 1993.
Hunter, James Davidson, Culture Wars. Basic Books, 1991.
Kennedy, James and Jerry Newcombe, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994.
Leeman, Jonathan, How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age. Thomas Nelson, 2018.
Monsma, Stephen, Pursuing Justice in a Sinful World. Eerdmans, 1984.
Neuhaus, Richard John, The Naked Public Square. Eerdmans, 1984.
Niebuhr, H. Richard, Christ and Culture. Harper Torchbooks, 1951.
Norman, Edward, Christianity and the World Order. Oxford University Press, 1979.
Parshall, Janet and Craig, The Light in the City. Thomas Nelson, 2000.
Ramm, Bernard, The Right, the Good and the Happy. Word Books, 1971.
Reno, R. R., Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society. Regnery, 2016.
Robb, Edmund and Julia Robb, The Betrayal of the Church: Apostasy and Renewal in the Mainline Denominations. Crossway Books, 1986.
Schaeffer, Francis, A Christian Manifesto. Crossway Books, 1981, 1982.
Schaeffer, Francis, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. Fleming H. Revell, 1976.
Schaeffer, Franky, Bad News For Modern Man: An Agenda For Christian Activism. Crossway Books, 1984.
Schaeffer, Franky, A Time For Anger: The Myth of Neutrality. Crossway Books, 1982.
Schall, James V., Christianity and Politics. St. Paul Editions, 1981.
Schlossberg, Herbert, Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and Its Confrontation with American Society. Thomas Nelson, 1983.
Schmidt, Alvin, Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization. Zondervan, 2001.
Smith, Gary Scott, ed., God and Politics: Four Views of Reformation and Civil Government. Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989.
Stanley, Lynn, Combat Ready: How to Fight the Culture War. Huntington House, 1995.
Stanmeyer, William A., Clear and Present Danger: Church and State in Post-Christian America. Servant Books, 1983.
Sweetman, Brendan, Why Politics Needs Religion. InterVarsity Press, 2006.
VanDrunen, David, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture. Crossway, 2010.
Webber, Robert, The Church in the World. Zondervan, 1986.
Whitehead, John, The Stealing of America. Crossway Books, 1983.

Obviously the great majority of these authors encourage believers to get involved in the culture, in politics, and in society. However, there have always been some evangelicals who have tended to look down on Christian political involvement and have urged us to just ease up on political engagement and the culture wars.

They do this not so much because they are of the Anabaptist persuasion, but because they think the Christian should mainly engage in evangelism and personal salvation. They see this as our primary calling, and basically urge us to butt out of politics. Some of those works would include the five titles:

Christian Political Involvement – The ‘No’ Case
Fisher, John, What on Earth are We Doing? Vine Books, 1996.
Horton, Michael, Beyond Culture Wars. Moody Press, 1994.
Lutzer, Erwin, Why the Cross Can Do What Politics Can’t. Harvest House, 1999.
MacArthur, John, Why Government Can’t Save You. Word, 2000.
Thomas, Cal and Ed Dobson, Blinded by Might. Zondervan, 1999.

Suffice it to say that I disagree with these folks. That case I have made in many dozens of articles, such as these:

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/1997/10/10/the-case-for-christian-social-involvement/

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/09/08/why-christians-should-be-interestedinvolved-in-politics/

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2006/12/02/is-it-time-for-believers-to-pull-out-of-politics/

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/06/christianity-and-political-involvement/

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/06/christianity-society-and-false-dilemmas/

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2013/07/31/changing-hearts-laws-or-cultures/

But see my review of one of those books, and my critique of it: billmuehlenberg.com/2001/11/28/a-review-of-why-government-can%E2%80%99t-save-you-by-john-macarthur/

But for those interested in how Christians might think about our responsibilities in society, our role in government and the state, and how we can effectively be salt and light in our culture, the books listed above are helpful volumes worth looking at. Happy reading.

via Christian Involvement in Politics, Culture and the State: Recommended Reading — CultureWatch

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