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Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action Paperback – June 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0801031564 ISBN-10: 0801031567
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. Budziszewski (Ph.D., Yale University) is professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of numerous books, including the best-selling How to Stay Christian in College, Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law, and What We Can't Not Know.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801031567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031564
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bill Muehlenberg VINE VOICE on December 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
The role of evangelical Christianity in the public arena is a contentious and hotly debated topic. How should evangelicals engage with politics, culture and society? Should they? What are some biblical principles for the way in which faith should inform and interact with the public square?

These are some of the important questions addressed in this helpful volume. In it, J. Budziszewski, a University of Texas professor of philosophy and government brings together a group of experts to discuss such questions. They look at four major evangelicals who have carefully addressed the issue in the past century: Carl F.H. Henry (d. 2003), Abraham Kuyper (d. 1920), Francis Schaeffer (d. 1984), and John Howard Yoder (d. 1997).

In the first half of the book, Budziszewski provides an introduction to an evangelical approach to political and social involvement. It must of course be based upon Scripture. But he reminds us that Scripture does not provide an exhaustive nor complete set of instructions as to how this is to take place. He does lay our some biblical principles, but says they need to be supplemented by the natural law tradition, a favourite theme of his as found in his earlier works.

He then offers his own summary and assessment of these four influential evangelical thinkers. The second half of the book contains the thoughts of 4 experts who reflect on what Budziszewski had to say about each figure.

Henry of course is a wise choice in such a volume, as he was in many ways the dean of evangelical theologians. He founded Christianity Today and was a prophetic voice in urging the evangelical world to regain its social and political voice. He is arguably the most important American evangelical of the past century.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on July 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Budziszewski, J. Evangelicals in the Public Square. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006. 218 pp.

Evangelicals have come out of political hiding. Whatever faults they may have, they have captured the minds and hearts of the majority of American Christians. Despite some shallow appeals to political action--for instance, the less promising elements of the Moral Majority--Evangelicals were forced to draw upon older intellectual streams, notably those of the Reformers. It is Budziszewski's contention that for all the good Evangelicals have done in politics, they have harmed themselves by failing to draw from the natural law tradition (37). Budziszewski outlines four major thinkers as representative of the Evangelical political tradition: Carl F. Henry, Abraham Kuyper, Francis Schaeffer, and John Howard Yoder.

Budziszewski's Analysis
Budziszewski launches into a 100 page essay dealing with the pros and cons of the Evangelical political tradition. He begins with Carl F. Henry. Henry's notable achievement was sounding the trumpet for Evangelical engagement with his The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, uneasy because it had no voice to say to the world. Henry was quick to point out that the biblical message involves both personal regeneration and social transformation. Budziszewski, however, critiques Henry on the grounds that Henry's system, while allowing for the possibility of general revelation, in practice denied it. With this downplaying of general revelation comes a denial of natural law. And if natural law is denied, on what grounds will Henry engage the secular man? Budziszewski objects that Henry's call for Evangelical action amounts to little more than "evangelize.
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By Marie Butson on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This too was a class assignment, and very insightful, examining leanings of the four evangelicals that have impact on Christians' interaction in politics and the public square. It opened my eyes to the different stances within evangelicalism, and that it is by no means monolithic. Each has perspective to offer to anyone who either is Christian or isn't sure what to expect from them if you're to sure what evangelicals believe.
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