Tag Archives: Politics

Five Sentence Review: The Altman Code by Robert Ludlum & Gayle Lynds

the-altman-codeThis is the fourth book in the Covert One Series created by Robert Ludlum. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite novel within the series so far, and it’s solidified my faith in Gayle Lynds as a good thriller novelist. Set largely in China, this novel came alive in it’s accurate portrayal of both that country and the shaky alliance that his been formed between America and the East in recent years. A recurring theme in Ludlum novels is the potential evils of unchecked capitalism and the military industrial complex when they become too tightly interwoven into the fabric of Washington’s politics. Suffice it to say that The Altman Code seems to comment upon both the Bush administration and Dick Cheney as the story of greed and warmongering progresses.

Fun to Read.

 

4 of 5 cups of black coffee.

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All this Washington Budget Crisis Stuff is Silly…

ron-paulThese days I try not to be too political (especially as a pastor) because it can be so divisive and take people’s minds off of God’s Kingdom – which is what truly matters.  However, I thought I’d jump in on this budget stuff and quote a little Ron Paul (the only politician I trust).  If I offend you with these opinions, please let me know and let’s talk about it.  I certainly didn’t mean to.

“One might think that the recent drama over the debt ceiling involved one side wanting to increase or maintain spending with the other side wanting to drastically cut spending, but that is far from the truth. In spite of the rhetoric being thrown around, the real debate is over how much government spending will increase. No plan under serious consideration cuts spending in the way you and I think about it. Instead, the cuts being discussed are illusory and are not cuts from current amounts being spent, but cuts in prospective spending increases. This is akin to a family saving $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda.”

– Ron Paul

The rest of the article can be found here.

You see the vast majority of Washington is ridiculous, and these debates are not Republican versus Democrat, but numbskull versus numbskull.

Five Sentence Review: City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era – Michael Gerson & Peter Wehner

city-of-manI received this book from my brother for Christmas and was initially very intrigued because Tim Keller, a man whom I greatly respect, wrote the forward. Gerson and Wehner (the authors of the book) are not theologians, rather they are right-leaning politicians who happen to be Christians and care deeply about both faith and politics. The good thing about this book is that it’s not the same-ole’, same ole’ story from two Christians who have wholesale bought an unchallenged, stale Republican vision for how to make this country “God’s nation.” Gerson and Wehner lay a foundation for how Christians should understand both the role of their faith and the role of the government within a democratic society. My one caveat is that they fail to fully address many issues, and despite their intentions to move beyond the mistakes of the Religious Right, at times they still seem a bit short-sighted.

Verdict: A good introduction to the discussion of faith and politics, but a little too brief.

 

Three of Five Cups of Black Coffee.

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Brief Book Review/Rant: The Revolution by Ron Paul

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Between Now and Eternity

Let me start out by saying that the ultimate hope for any government is only Jesus.  On this side of eternity, every political theory is lacking.  The only perfect government will be the future one, where Jesus is king and the heart of every individual has been made perfect.  Until that glorious kingdom is fully made known, every government will be less-than-perfect.  Political party affiliation, political candidates, and political ideas will all be found lacking.  So I don’t put an exorbitant amount of hope or time into politics.  However, I do think we are called as Christians to live out the implications of the gospel to the various cultures that we find ourselves in, and this includes the political culture within America.  Between now and eternity, I want to recommend the ideas of Ron Paul as a good solution to a lot of America’s problems.

A.S.A.P.

To be perfectly honest with you, to fully review this book would be a waste of your time and mine.  To fully say all that I wish to say about the book, would be to quote the whole book.  Rather than writing a lengthy review, I would rather you just read The Revolution.  In fact, if you want to stop reading this review right now (which honestly is not much of a review anyway), and instead go read Ron Paul, I would applaud you.  There is no portion of The Revolution that I wish to synopsize.  I like every word.  There is no part I disagree with.  It’s all good.

The two political parties, as they currently exist, both promote a future for America that is heading towards total and complete futility.  Ron Paul offers an alternative path.  Bush was an awful president.  Obama seems no better.  Does either one intend to lead America into futility?  No.  But the politics they promote are like a heavy weight tied around the ankle of this country.  The nation is drowning.  These days America is not the America that we wish it to be.  It is not the America that the founding fathers wished it to be.  And personally speaking, I like the America that they envisioned better than they one we currently have.  So I’m recommending this book.

Simply put, and I know this sounds awfully dogmatic, I dare you to read this book and consider its ideas honestly.  Maybe you’ll disagree with some of them, but I think you’ll agree with a lot of them.  And that at least will be a step in the right direction.

P.S.

This is an awfully good audiobook (concise, about 5.5 hrs), that’s how I read it.  But, I’m thinking of buying a physical copy so I can go back and underline some stuff (see previous post).

You Should Probably Read The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

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A Review of The Audacity of Hope:  Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Abridged) by Barack Obama

A Halt in Normalcy

Due to the halt in normalcy that the Nashville Flood of 2010 brought these last two days, I listened to the audiobook version of Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope:  Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.  It was only upon the completion of the book that I realized it was a much-loathed abridged version.  However, after rescanning audible.com, I realized that there was not an unabridged version of the audiobook available, and that somehow made me feel less cheated.  I also discovered upon further investigation, that only one chapter, “The World Beyond Our Borders,” seems to have been left out of the abridged version.  So I feel even less cheated, or at the very least, more secure in my assumption that I missed little of the content in full version of the book.  Besides, the audiobook version is enhanced over the written form because Obama performs the narration himself.  So I’m happy.

As the title of my review indicates, I believe you should probably read this book.  And I believe that you should probably read The Audacity of Hope for at least three reasons:  understanding, respect, and challenge.  Reason number one:  understanding. Barack Obama is our president, and the power and authority that he possesses greatly influence the lives of all Americans; we should understand his thinking if we can.  And I might add, a book seems to allow him to explain himself in a more well-rounded way than a speech or a debate.  Reason number two:  respect. Despite your opinion about the politics of Barack Obama, he is a real person just like you and me.  This book will, I believe, help readers to more readily respect him as a person, even if they disagree with his brand of politics.  I grew up hating Bill Clinton, in fact villainizing him, because he was a Democrat.  That’s a poor reason to despise someone.  We should try to separate personal attacks from political opinions when possible.  That is what I would appreciate if I were in the fishbowl-public-eye like President Obama.  Reason number three:  challenge. This text, whether you agree, disagree, or partially agree with its opinions, will cause you to think deeply about political issues in America.  Obama’s candor makes The Audacity of Hope easy to read, but it is still challenging to think about.  Obama will make your political opinions sharper.  For all these reasons and more, I say you should read The Audacity of Hope.

Review

I’m honestly not really sure that I have the patience or the time to fully review all of the contents of this book.  So like usual, I’m going to highlight a few topics that have me arguing with myself, and I hope to involve you in that discussion.

Complexity

Much of Obama’s dream about how politics should be approached in America are quite admirable.  He talks about “different politics,” politics that are less partisan, less composed of concrete idealism, and more understanding of each side’s point of view.  To quote him, “A government that truly represents these Americans, that truly serves these Americans, will require a different kind of politics.  That politics will need to reflect our lives as they are actually lived.  It won’t be prepackaged, ready to pull off the shelf.  It will have to be constructed from the best of our traditions, and will have to account for the darker aspects of our past” (00:32:00).  The description of “prepackaged politics” is what especially rings true to me in this quote.  I have ideas, especially regarding moral issues such as abortion (i.e. murder),  upon which I will not bend.  There is no grey on this issue.  Murder is wrong; abortion is wrong.  However, despite my strong opinion on this issue, I agree with Obama that much of the debate within politics is less certain.  It is less black and white and more complex.  And I appreciate that Obama realizes this complexity.

Postmodernity

I posted a link to an article about a year ago that highlighted the idea that Barack Obama might be our first postmodern president.  I agree with many of the thoughts expressed in that article, and after listening to The Audacity of Hope, I’m more convinced that Obama sees truth through a very postmodern lens.  For instance, he highlights the different manners in which people interpret the Constitution.  As he explains, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia argues that the Constitution has a single meaning, and only a single meaning, and that it should be interpreted based on the original intent of the authors.  While other Supreme Court justices, such as Breyer, argue that the Constitution is a “living document,” and that the founders taught us mainly “how to think, not what to think.”  This second view, the one that Obama takes, is extremely postmodern.  It maximizes the reader’s role in determining the meaning of the document, and minimizes the writer’s role in determining the meaning of the document.  This postmodernistic interpretational method is essentially relativism in disguise.  To quote Obama, we should view our democracy “not as a house to be built, but a conversation to be had” (1:57:00).  While this sounds amazing, and quite Rob Bell-esque I might add, it’s anti-logical and self-defeating.  If everything has multiple meanings, then how can anything have actual meaning?  It sucks when what you said is reinterpreted to mean something totally different from what you originally meant, and then you are denigrated for saying something that is quite the opposite of what you actually said, but were determined to have said by others who reinterpreted your words.  Even Obama bemoans an article that he wrote for Time Magazine that was later taken out of context and reinterpreted by Peggy Noonan.  And yet Obama’s own precepts of epistemology preclude this as a valid complaint if everything has various meanings.

Additionally, Obama is very sensitive in attempting to understand the individual views of different people upon every issue.  He sees, (and I’m not attempting to put words in his mouth here), the good and the bad of each person’s opinion.  While there is nothing wrong with empathizing in this way, it sometimes ignores the larger issue of actual truth, actual facts.  If there is a right and a wrong, then the question is not about my opinion, or your opinion, but about the facts of the situation.  Personally speaking, I want to strike a balance between recognizing truth and understanding different viewpoints.  Postmodernity can’t strike this balance.  As I stated above, not everything in politics is tidy, and I like that Obama recognizes this fact, but I think that many times he may ignore the actual truth, in order to understand how someone else feels.

Faith

I appreciate much of what Barack Obama says about the intersection of faith and politics.  He is right, I believe, when he says that, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation.  We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers” (4:20:00).  Personally speaking, it’s frustrating for me to hear the old chant of the religious right that “America is a Christian nation.”  Do the chanters of such a statement even understand what they mean by “Christian nation?”  I mean what is a Christian nation?  Is it a nation composed of a majority of Christians?  That’s not America.  Is it a nation based on Christian principles?  That’s only partially true of America.  Is it a nation where the Bible is held by all to be the only standard of truth?  That’s not true of America either.  So I agree with Obama that we are not a Christian nation.  In fact I recognize, as does Obama, that the phrase “separation of church and state,” is a good thing.  It’s a principle that Baptists (my own upbringing) helped fight for hundreds of years ago.  It’s a needed understanding of the intersection of faith and government, so that the beliefs of others, including my own, are not infringed upon by the government.

The hairy-ness of this separation clause comes in to play when we try to apply it to policy making.  How do we make policies that allow religious liberty for everyone without somehow assenting to a common religious / faith-based view that trumps all others?

Obama sees the public sphere as one in which faith is included, but not used as the sole foundation for which to determine policy.  As he explains, people of faith need to translate their moral arguments into universal arguments so that they can be discussed by everyone, even those who do not share your personal brand of faith.  In this way faith is involved in our discussions, but those of differing faiths, or no faith at all, can still enter into the political discussion and argue on a level playing field.  The idea being discussed has been reworded into non-faith language and is now accessible to everyone.  This makes a certain amount of sense to me, but I’m not sure it can truly happen without assigning religion a secondary status and removing it from the conversation altogether (which is the very thing Obama is striving to avoid).

The logic of Obama’s argument is this:  I cannot expect another person, who disagrees with me that the Bible is true, to accept my opinion about war if I base my argument solely on my biblical arguments.  I need to translate the principles of my argument into non-Christian terms, so that others can then enter into the discussion about the fitness of my argument.  In this way I have argued for the truth of the Bible, without using the Bible as my source of morality.

My problem with this stance is that it forces a false dichotomy between faith and science.  Obama argues that faith and science play by different sets of rules.  Faith is unprovable, while science, he argues, is provable.  But this is simply not true.  Evolution is theory.  Gravity is a theory.  Electricity is a theory.  These theories seem to explain truth, but they are not completely provable.  Science is based on set of presuppositions.  Without science’s presuppositions, it cannot operate.  Religion too is based on a set of presuppositions.  Obama wants to take all religious language and translate it into scientific / logical language when it is used in the public sphere because he “believes” science to be provable and religion to be  unprovable.  In this way he reveals that his trust is actually placed more in science than it is in religion.  Despite his attempts to accept both as equally valid, he places science / logic (with its own unprovable presuppositions) as his framework for truth, and in turn places religion in a secondary place of importance.  His faith becomes more of a fairytale faith.  Unprovable.  What’s good for you is good for you.  And what’s good for me is good for me.  But we shouldn’t try to prove each other right or wrong.  We can’t because this is all just “religious talk.”

Since everyone is going to disagree on the presuppositions that are the most tenable in the public sphere, what is the foundation upon which we should decide policy?  My argument is that it has to be the Constitution.  The Constitution, imperfect as it is, must be the foundation of our policy decisions.  Anything beyond what the Constitution describes must be written into law based upon the opinions of the people.  The will of the people will determine new policy, and the people are free to use religious or non-religious reasoning in their argumentation for or against policy.  This seems to make sense to me.  I could be off my rocker, but it seems to make sense.  Ultimately, this will mean that our government is faulted because its policies will often be anti-biblical.  But isn’t this already the case?  Obama’s assumptions about truth necessarily give religion a secondary status within public debate, and I believe assigning religion that secondary standing cuts through the heart of its power.

I Could Go On

I could go on with further ideas about Barack Obama and his book The Audacity of Hope.  I still haven’t touched his ideas about the economy, healthcare, or race.  And he has some good ideas about these subjects.  But it’s now 3:00AM in the morning and “I must be lonely,” and I’m making pop song references, so I’m going to stop.  If you are so inclined to read this book, I’d appreciate your personal feedback.  My opinions may be idiotic, and your musings (provided they are kindly expressed) may help me to think less idiotically.  At the very least, I’m sure my thinking could use some refining that your thinking might encourage.

Book Review: Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

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I just finished the audiobook version of Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.  The audiobook was read by Brian Emerson, who is one of my favorite readers.  (I believe even a bad book could sound interesting if Emerson was reading it.)

I can safely say that this book will change the way that you view politics and the economic situation in the world, if you choose to read it.  Confessions of an Economic Hitman is Perkin’s autobiography, his confession, about his involvement as an economic forecaster for a now-defunct company called Chas T. Main.  Chas T. Main was a large, U. S. engineering firm which specialized in designing infrastructure plans for utility industries around the world.  It was bought, and the name changed, in the late 80’s due to mismanagement.

Perkins explains that while his official job title may have been “chief economist for Main,” his real job was to act as an economic hitman.  An economic hitman, or EHM (as Perkin’s calls it), is an economist whose purpose is to produce inflated infrastructure predictions for third world countries.  These inflated forecasts are produced in order to justify the millions of dollars that foreign countries will have to borrow in order to hire American construction companies to build modern utility infrastructures within these third world countries.  Based on these predictions, the world bank grants loans that these countries will never be able to repay.  The country becomes mired in debt, and only a few, privileged people benefit.  In this way, the American “corporatocracy” continues to grow rich, and economic pressure due to debt keeps the governments of third world countries in-check politically.  At the end of the day, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, thousands of indigenous peoples are exploited, and America continues to build its global empire.  Economic hitmen, and the CEO’s of large corporations, work unofficially in conjunction with the NSA to control foreign nations.

Whether you buy all this or not (see the wikipedia entry about Perkins for the controversy surrounding the book), it’s great, thought-provoking, conscious-altering reading.  Much of what Perkins describes about the way in which the U. S. government uses the private sector, free-trade agreements, and economic pressure, seems (in my mind at least) to match real life.  Perkins’ insights into the administrations of several of our past presidents is eye-opening for sure, and he confirms a lot of my own suspicions about the reasons for the Iraq War and the Bush/Cheney regime.  I will say however, that any critique of the Clinton presidency is completely absent from this book, which may point towards some of Mr. Perkins’ political leanings (although I would be remiss to say that I find him a complete leftist).

Perkins ends the book with an epilogue of suggestions about how we, as Americans, can fight the global empire and leave a better world for our children.  As a Christian, I’m inclined to see “the way forward” a little differently than Perkins.  In my opinion, the main reason the global empire of America exists is greed.  Many of the ideals at the heart of democracy, capitalism, and a global economy are sound (not perfect, but sound), except that people are greedy.  The problem with capitalism is that companies nearly always act based on the bottom line.  They hardly ever consider the best interests of others.  They are greedy.  They run over the poor, especially the poor of other countries.  The rich get richer, and the poor are exploited.  Unregulatized capitalism would work perfectly if everyone had a changed heart, but we don’t, so it doesn’t.  Neither will the alternative to capitalism work (i.e. – socialism).  They are both faulted systems because of faulted people.

We need Jesus to do the masterful work of heart transformation.  On its own, this world will always tend towards depravity, and the American government and its capitalistic, self-serving policies, are most definitely included.  I’m not saying that we should do nothing.  We should try to fix the government.  We should try to put men into office that don’t simply support the wishes of a few rich men that help fund their campaign.  We should work hard, promote justice, and involve ourselves in charity.  But more than any of that, we should embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only true, transformational hope that our world has.

My advice:  Read this book.  Involve yourself in politics as a concerned citizen.  Think beyond party lines.  Act like a Christian.  Trust Jesus and the life change that He brings most of all.  And, spend the majority of your time focused on the Gospel because it is the real change-agent in the world.

Review: A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

A-Christian-ManifestoA Christian Manifesto by Francis A. Schaeffer
copyright 1981

Initially
I was born in 1980; the product of a Southern Baptist upbringing.  Although – and I feel it’s necessary to make this disclaimer – it was a good Southern Baptist upbringing.  A bad Southern Baptist upbringing would be one where I was taught to do it the “Baptist Way” just because it’s the right way.  That was not my experience!  The type of upbringing I received was one that encouraged me to not-be a Southern Baptist per se, but rather to be a person who thinks carefully about the Bible, tests the teachings of others against the Bible’s revelation of itself, a person who treasures God above all, and who lets my actions and words speak in everyday life.  That was what I was taught, and I’m grateful.

I’m relating all of this because this book has helped me to more fully put some of my own worldview pieces together, and to better understand the worldview of the previous generation.  I feel I now have a better handle on the religious-political thought of the 1980’s.  I was born in 1980, raised around the ideas of the “Moral Majority,” and a product of much of this type of thinking.  I’ve watched my opinions about how the church should engage culture and government change quite a bit during my short life, and I’ve wondered how so many Christians of the previous generation got so screwed up. This book helped me to understand those differences a little better.

Schaeffer’s Premise
Schaeffer’s basic premise is that America and its government were founded on a Judeo-Christian Worldview.  He says “The Reformation in Northern Europe not only brought forth a clear preaching of the gospel, but also brought forth distinctive governmental and social results” (134, emphasis mine).  He further claims that humanism is now the prevailing worldview represented by the American government, the media, and American schools. In Schaeffer’s opinion this worldview “would never have given the form and freedom in government we have had in Northern Europe (including the United States)” (43).  In other words, according to Schaeffer, the United States, the Constitution, and the freedom we enjoy are all products of the Bible.  They would never have come into existence apart from the founding fathers embracing it as their own worldview.  From this central premise Schaeffer goes on to recount the destruction that humanist thought has wrought upon Western thinking, and he outlines a plan for proper resistance to the humanist takeover of America and abroad.

Reaction
From my perspective this book appears a lot more militant than I expected it to be.  Schaeffer advocates picketing, civil disobedience, and other means of resisting secular society that honestly have a black eye in the thinking of many turn-of-the-century twenty-somethings.  Many young Christians are sick of political maneuvering, the Moral Majority, Republicanism being equated with Christianity, and other methods that this book advocates.  They seem like flawed methods that were doomed to failure.

Post-Modernity
That being said, I don’t want to sell Schaeffer short.  I’m not sure he would have agreed with all the political action that Christians have taken in the last 30 years.  I think it’s also safe to say that society has changed quite a bit in 30 years too.  Many in American culture have morphed from a modern, concrete understanding of truth towards a postmodern, less-concrete, “your opinion is just as valid as mine,” understanding of truth.  This change, whether helpful or not, has led to different approaches by Christians who are seeking to engage culture and government in meaningful ways.

People of my generation are more likely (I think) to engage culture through meaningful art and meaningful relationships.  Rather than try to change law to make sure it endorses a Christian worldview, Christian twenty-somethings are more apt to try and change individual people.  This change in approach is due in part to a shifting towards post-modernity, but it may also be due to a feeling that the battle for the government seems hopeless and misguided to begin with.

I’ve heard it argued most of my life that America was founded on a Christian worldview, but I’ve never heard it argued effectively by anyone until I read this book.  My generation’s shift in epistemological understandings has led me in the past to say that “the claim that America was founded on a Judeo-Christian understanding is short-sided,” but Schaeffer has made me consider otherwise.  The Constitution does seem to have been founded almost primarily on a Christian-esque understanding of the world, the law, and human rights.  Having conceded that truth, I can understand why Schaeffer and others have so ardently sought to fight against the total secularization of government through political means.  It makes sense once I’ve conceded Schaeffer’s premise.

A New, Old Approach
However, I’m not sure that those same methods still make sense.  In light of America’s current political-social-religious landscape, fighting to return American law to a Judeo-Christian interpretation through political means seems hopeless.  I understand that it’s justifiable, but I’m just not sure it’s a worthwhile cause.  To be honest, maybe I do think it’s worthwhile, but I think we’ve been going about it the wrong way.  Somewhere along the line a lot of Christians quit thinking about the totality of the political spectrum and began just voting along party lines.  More than ever the Republican party simply does not represent Christian thought.  Christians must approach politics agreeing and disagreeing with aspects of both of the main two parties.  And we also must admit that the political front is only one aspect of living for Jesus.  What little I understand of Schaeffer makes me think that this actually was his approach.  Unfortunately many in the previous generation seem to have advocated only a political approach.  They reduced Christian political activism to voting Republican, and they ignored other ways that Christians can engage culturally.  Our approach should be political, but not just Republican, and our approach should go beyond politics, and be relational and artistic as well.

This approach:  “The Lordship of Christ over every area of life,” is what Schaeffer advocated.  Somewhere along the way many within pop-Christianity got confused.  They forgot the arts and the importance of personal relationships, and they relegated our fight completely to politics.  Hopefully we can re-learn the art of embracing the Gospel in every area of life.  If we can’t, then the pendulum will swing too far the other way and Christians in 30 years will be wondering, “What the heck were the turn-of-the-century Christians thinking!”  I for one hope that we’re learning to be balanced.

This is a good book.  Some of the forms of civil disobedience Schaeffer advocates seem a little over the top to me, but maybe Schaeffer is just taking the Bible more seriously than I am.  In the end this book gave me a lot to chew on, and it encouraged me to think about the ways in which I am embodying the Christian life politically.

The Kingdom of Christ by Russell D. Moore

the-kingdom-of-christI began reading The Kingdom of Christ (TKoC) about two years ago, and was throughly enjoying the book at the time, but for some reason (that I can no longer remember), I failed to finish it in its entirety. Currently however, I am in one of those modes where I’m enthralled by reading, learning, and synthesizing, so I just finished rereading the entire book.

The Kingdom of Christ is a deeply theological book that is not an easy read, but is well worth the endeavor. One of the reasons that this is a hard read is the length of the chapters. The entire book is only five chapters long, actually four chapters, because the fifth chapter is only a brief conclusion. The four main chapters are lengthy and technical, which makes reading individual chapters a little-at-a-time a bad idea, because it’s hard to reenter the author’s flow of thought if your reading has paused for a significant amount of time. The book also assumes that its readers have a basic understanding of things like covenant theology, dispensational theology, the Kingdom of God, the social gospel, and the evangelical movement. These issues: the length of chapters, technicality of the language, and assumed pre-knowledge of the reader are the only real negatives of the book. And honestly, these aren’t negatives as much as they are just factors that narrow the book’s audience. And let’s be honest, not every book is for every person.

In TKoC Moore does an unparalleled job of tracing the theological concept of the “Kingdom of God” as it has evolved in both the dispensational and covenant theological camps. In each chapter, Moore unpacks how “Kingdom of God” theological construct has had profound implications on: eschatology, soteriology, and ecclesiology. In all of these theological areas, covenantal and dispensational theologians have developed wider agreement due to a deeper understanding of Bible’s teaching about the Kingdom of God. Moore’s intent is to question the social and political ramifications of evangelical action within the public sphere based on this wider theological agreement. The book asserts that modern evangelicalism’s discussion of social and political action began with the publication of Carl F. Henry’s, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. In chapter one, Moore delves into Henry’s writings, and then traces the theological history of the Kingdom of God to the current time. According to Moore’s conclusion, though larger evangelicalism now agrees more wholeheartedly on “Kingdom of God” theology, it now faces larger theological disagreements on perhaps even more primary issues such as epistemology, inerrancy, and the sovereignty of God. This is evidenced by the increasing influence of movements such as evangelical feminism and open theism.

I walked away from TKoC with a much deeper understanding of covenantal theology, dispensational theology, the writings of Carl F. Henry, the Bible’s teaching about the Kingdom of God, and the mission of the church in society. This book is profoundly relevant to the questions now being addressed by the modern church. In many ways, the emerging church movement is repeating the mistakes of the social gospel liberation theology of the 1960’s. And most likely, this is in part a reaction to the unhealthy politicization of Christianity by the Religious Right. Church leaders need to continually assess how to be the “city on the hill” that Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount. TKoC is an important read in that assessment. Having read TKoC, I yearn for a practical book dealing with how churches can be salt and light in the public sphere, that takes into account Moore’s research, but is geared to a larger audience. I would love to hear any suggestions about books of this nature.