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Five Views on the Church and Politics…

Five Views on the Church and Politics (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

by Amy E. Black (Editor)

Other authors: J. Brian Benestad (Contributor), Robert Benne (Contributor), Bruce Fields (Contributor), Stanley N. Gundry (Series editor), Thomas W. Heilke (Contributor)1 more, James K. A. Smith (Contributor)

Series: Zondervan Counterpoints

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Five Views on the Church and Politics is an excellent introduction to how five denominations view the intersection of their church and politics. Each of the five give an overview of their theology and how it applies to the topic at hand, then the other four respond with the differences and similarities between the the two denominations. This format is ideal for an academic setting but is also accessible to a layperson who wants to learn about various theologies.

This reminds me of the Bedford Critical Editions within the literature discipline. Those books present a work, usually a novel, then present explanations of various schools of thought, each followed by a critical essay demonstrating how that school of thought might approach the novel in question. Both the Bedford series and this Counterpoints series provide explanation as well as compare-and-contrast opportunities for learners to better distinguish differences.

While intended, I believe, for an academic audience, this would certainly be a wonderful addition to the library of anyone who likes to better understand the views of other people. The disagreements within the book are presented positively and not in a particularly confrontational manner and should be read as educational and not argumentative. The argument can only really begin after one has honestly tried to understand another viewpoint, so read each with a mind toward understanding, not responding, then revisit with an eye toward responding. This will broaden your understanding of both these denominations as well as your own should it not be included here.

I found no entry with which I was in complete agreement yet gained much from understanding these views even if I changed very little of my personal view.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  pomo58 | Jun 16, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Black, Amy E.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benestad, J. BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benne, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fields, BruceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gundry, Stanley N.Series editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heilke, Thomas W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, James K. A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0310517923, Paperback)

Few topics can grab headlines and stir passions quite like politics, especially when the church is involved. Considering the attention that many Christian parachurch groups, churches, and individual believers give to politics—and of the varying and sometimes divergent political ideals and aims among them—Five Views on the Church and Politics provides a helpful breakdown of the possible Christian approaches. Readers will find themselves equipped to think more deeply about the relationship between church and state in a way that goes beyond mere policy debates and current campaigns.

General Editor Amy Black brings together five top-notch political theologians in the book, each representing one of the five key political traditions within Christianity: 

     Anabaptist (Separationist)—Thomas Heilke

     Lutheran (Two Kingdom)—Robert Benne

     Catholic (In Tension)—J. Brian Benestad

     Reformed (Integrationist)—James K. A. Smith

     Black Church (Prophetic)—Bruce Fields

Each author addresses his tradition’s theological distinctives, the role of government, the place of individual Christian participation in government and politics, and how churches should (or should not) address political questions. Responses by each contributor to opposing views will highlight key areas of difference and disagreement.

Thorough and even-handed, Five Views on the Church and Politics will enable readers to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the most significant Christian views on political engagement and to draw their own, informed conclusions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 10 Dec 2015 09:11:25 -0500)

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