Book review: Politics According to the Bible

The Bible and politics. Do these two words even belong in the same sentence? For Wayne Grudem, the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes.’ And I agree. If we believe the Bible speaks to every matter of life, then surely it has something to say about politics. In fact, it might surprise us to see just how MUCH God’s Word has to say about this subject.

If you’re looking for a handbook that introduces you to the U.S. Government and contemporary political issues from a Christian perspective, then a great place to start might be Politics According to the Bible.

In part one, Grudem lays down some basic principles of government and society, dealing with issues like Christian involvement, influence, rule of law, worldview, and the role of the courts. In part two, Grudem applies these principles and turns to specific issues like the sanctity of life, marriage, family, economics, environment, national defense, and first amendment rights.

This is not a comprehensive political theology, but I do appreciate Grudem’s ability to take a complicated subject and break it down into bite-size pieces. For each political topic, he offers pertinent Scriptures, a historical perspective, very contemporary examples, and interacts with case law. At times, he also provides suggested resources for further study.

Grudem is at his best when he put politics in an eternal perspective: God is sovereign. Christ will one day reign. Salvation is a work of God. And true change involves spiritual revival. On p. 601 he says the basic role of the Christian in politics is to work to protect the freedoms necessary to bring about revival, creating the legal ‘space’ in which others can act to bring true transformation. This seems consistent with 1 Tim. 2:2. But even then, our deceitful hearts can easily have our priorities mixed up. Revival must never become a means to an end (political utopia), but rather be an end in itself (forgiveness and reconciliation with God), which may bring with it certain benefits to society and government.

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