Gospel and Politics – foreword

In Australia, evangelical Christians have been blessed with many many books filled with encouraging, enlightening gospel-centred biblical and systematic theology about a range of topics; Matthias Media being the main source in recent years. I don’t think I would be the Christian I am today if it wasn’t for the wonderful service those writers have given the church.

However, one area that has been substantially neglected is the interaction between gospel-centred biblical theology and political philosophy. There are probably many reasons for this: a desire by pastors to be apolitical in their preaching; an aversion to the US-style blending of politics and churches found in the Religious Right; and apathy amongst the general Australian public are just a few potential reasons.

Within that vacuum of broad leadership of God’s people in this area, a particular form of political philosophy has taken root. In my view, the conventional political thinking (as demonstrated by guys like Bill Muehlenberg and Andrew Lansdown and groups like Saltshakers and the Australian Christian Lobby) put forward in Christian circles is a mix of conservatism, big government paternalism and nationalism, with a dose of orthodox Christian theology.

What I hope to do over a semi-regular series on my blog is to put forward an alternative to that conventional view. What I think proponents of the conventional view fail to do is to form a thoroughly gospel-centred, biblical theology oriented, evangelical view of the world and to apply it consistently to how we should understand politics. Whereas they might bring bits of the Bible to bear onto particular issues, I want to ask, “how does the Bible help us to understand the world? And how then should we view our interactions with others in the political sphere?”

My hope is that over time, I can explore a variety ideas that help us to find a better approach to how Christians do politics, and in doing so, better serve the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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