The Contested Public Square: The Crisis of Christianity and Politics

The Contested Public Square: The Crisis of Christianity and Politics

By Greg Forster

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This book introduces the history of Christian political thought traced out in Western culture--a culture experiencing the dissolution of a long-fought-for consensus around natural law theory.

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Christian thinking about involvement in human government was not born (or born again!) with the latest elections or with the founding of the Moral Majority in 1979. The history of Christian political thinking goes back to the first decades of the church's existence under persecution. Building on biblical foundations, that thinking has developed over time.

This book introduces the history of Christian political thought traced out in Western culture--a culture experiencing the dissolution of a long-fought-for consensus around natural law theory. Understanding our current crisis, where there is little agreement and often opposing views about how to maintain both religious freedom and liberal democracy, requires exploring how we got where we are. Greg Forster tells that backstory with deft discernment and clear insight. He offers this retrospective not only to inform but also to point the way beyond the current impasse in the contested public square.

Illuminated by sidebars on key moments in history, major figures and questions for further consideration, this book will significantly inform Christian scholars' and students' reading and interpretation of history.


 

"Greg Forster recognizes that political philosophy is older than Christianity and independent of the Old Testament. This fact does not deny that both Testaments have something to say about politics. He has avoided the temptation of trying to explain the Christian tradition as if it began in the twentieth century, or even in the sixteenth. The very existence of revelation as its own coherent whole implies that the public square at some points should be 'contested,' even for it to be itself. In the beginning, he cites C. S. Lewis's coy devil to warn us that 'social justice' can well be our first step away from God. That step is a very current temptation that defines in large part the real 'crisis' that Forster sees in the public square. The book is well worth a careful read." (James V. Schall, S.J., professor, Department of Government, Georgetown University)

"This book is an astonishing achievement. With a mastery of the historical material and a keen appreciation of the changing forms of the problem through the centuries, Dr. Forster illuminates for Christians and others the present crisis of public virtue and just government." (Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief, FIRST THINGS)

"A quarter-century after Richard John Neuhaus's Naked Public Square, Greg Forster has given readers a guide in The Contested Public Square: The Crisis of Christianity and Politics. Like Neuhaus, Forster has documented the decline of natural law thinking. But beyond that declension, Forster offers an ambitious survey of the rise of Christian political thought from its inception some two millennia ago to its present 'crisis.'" (Jeffry H. Morrison, associate professor of government, Regent University)


Additional Information

ISBN 083082880X, 978-0830828807
Page Count 254
Publisher Inter Varsity Press
Year Published 2008
Book Excerpt N/A
SKU 1146

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