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Five Views on the Church and Politics (Counterpoints


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Introduction A brief overview of the five main views on church and state, the historic contexts of Christian reflection on politics, the significance of the topic for the contemporary church, and the key questions each contributor has been asked to cover. 1. Separationist (Anabaptist) Christian goals are only advanced through the church, and Christians only participate as believers in the church. 2. Two-Kingdom (Lutheran) Christians operate in the realms of both church and state as believers; however, they have different roles and goals in each realm. 3. In-Tension (Catholic) The church both cooperates with and challenges the state in order to bring about Christian social goals. 4. Integrationist (Reformed) The church seeks spiritual redemption while the church seeks social redemption, yet these goals overlap and complement each other. 5. Prophetic (Black Church) An integrationist perspective similar to the Catholic and Reformed views, but marked by an emphasis on the church's role in challenging the state and by a unique blend of theological conservatism married to political liberalism. Conclusion Each view is placed within the context of contemporary politics and compared to the goals and policies of the Democratic and Republican parties, so that readers can see clearly how both parties align and conflict with the five Christian traditions of political thought.

About the Author

J. Brian Benestad (PhD, Boston College) is the D-Amour Chair of Catholic Thought at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. The editor of Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, his published works include The Pursuit of a Just Social Order and Church, State, and Society: An Introduction to Catholic Social Doctrine. Robert Benne (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Jordan-Trexler Professor Emeritus and research associate at Roanoke College. He founded the Roanoke College Center for Religion in 1982 and is the author of twelve books including Good and Bad Ways to Think About Religion and Politics, Reasonable Ethics, and A Christian Approach to Social, Economic, and Political Concerns. Bruce L. Fields (Ph.D., Marquette University) is associate professor of biblical and systematic theology and chair of the biblical and systematic theology department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of Introducing Black Theology: Three Crucial Questions for the Evangelical Church. Thomas W. Heilke (Ph.D., Duke University) is associate dean of graduate studies and professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. He is author, co-author, or co-editor of more than 40 publications, including Voegelin on the Idea of Race and Nietzsche's Tragic Regime: Culture, Aesthetics, and Political Education. James K. A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. The author of many books, including the award-winning Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring the Kingdom, Smith is a Cardus senior fellow and serves as editor of Comment magazine. Amy E. Black (Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is professor of political science at Wheaton College. She is the author of Honoring God in Red or Blue, Beyond Left and Right, and Helping Christians Make Sense of American Politics, as well as many articles, reviews, and commentaries that have appeared in publications such as Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and the Christian Science Monitor. Stanley N. Gundry is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.

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