The Good of Politics: A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Introduction

James W. Skillen. Baker Academic, $22.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8010-4881-4
A theologian and founder of a nonprofit think tank, the Center for Public Justice, Skillen is interested in the intersection of faith and public policy. Here he takes issue with those who would argue that Jesus came to usher in a spiritual kingdom unrelated to the life of this world. He makes the case that Christianity is compatible with the practice of politics and that thinkers from St. Augustine to retired Duke theologian Stanley Hauerwas have it wrong when they sideline politics as separate from the life of faith. When Christians in public office advance justice for all, even when it means going to war, they are doing God’s bidding, Skillen argues. The book’s long detours on Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and others make for a slow read, and may get in the way of its central purpose, which is to argue for Christian engagement in the U.S. political arena. On that count, its analysis of clashing Puritan and African-American narratives on the role of good government is far more interesting. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/10/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
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Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4412-4499-4
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