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Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft (Christian Worldview Integration) Paperback – March 2, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Beckwith's book Politics for Christians is most definitely helpful for those who want a solid introduction to politics and who are ready to ponder the believer's place in the rough and tumble work of statecraft." (Scot McKnight, Jesus Creed, August 2010)

About the Author

Francis J. Beckwith (PhD, Fordham University) is professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he is also a fellow and faculty associate in the Institute for Studies of Religion. He was the 2008-2009 Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture and was a 2002-2003 Madison Research Fellow in Politics at Princeton University, where he has served since 2003 as a member of the James Madison Society. Beckwith is the author of numerous books such as Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic; Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice; Law, Darwinism & Public Education: The Establishment Clause and the Challenge of Intelligent Design and Do the Right Thing: Readings in Applied Ethics and Social Philosophy. His articles have been published in a number of academic journals across a variety of disciplines, including Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, International Philosophical Quarterly, Public Affairs Quarterly, Social Theory & Practice, American Journal of Jurisprudence, Journal of Medical Ethics, San Diego Law Review, Nevada Law Journal, Journal of Social Philosophy, Philosophia Christi and Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. Beckwith has been a speaker for numerous Christian ministries (both Protestant and Catholic) throughout his career, including Summit Ministries and the Catholic Apologetics Academy, where he has served on their faculties since 1996 and 2013 respectively. He and his wife, Frankie, live in Woodway, Texas.

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Product Details

  • Series: Christian Worldview Integration
  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; First Edition edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830828141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830828142
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Morgan on April 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Beckwith describes his book as an introduction to politics - an introduction that should inspire continued study for the Christian. Beckwith looks at politics through the lense of liberal democracy. Although Liberal Democracy has been absent for most of Christian History, it has been embraced enthusiastically by Christians in the modern era for four major reasons: (1) it affords Christians the liberty to worship, (2) it protects the people's power to hold the government accountable, (3) it allows citizens to participate by voting, forming political parties, running for office and / or campaigning for causes and candidates, (4) it seems consistent with and supported by a Christian understanding of the human person as well as the natural law and natural rights tradition that spring from that understanding.

In other words, liberal democracy seems to enhance many of the ideals the Christian faith does.

Beckwith takes care to define liberal democracy, liberal referring to the liberties or freedoms the government is supposed to guarantee, and democracy covering both a government that is accountable to the people, and has a developed civil society.

The question Beckwith seeks to answer is what does it mean to be a Christian citizen in a liberal democracy, and how should we interact with politics in relation to our faith. Beckwith's plea is not necessarily that ALL Christians should become involved politically, but that ALL Christians should be politically AWARE. They should understand the effects of legislation that is passed by governments and make measured responses to any injustice or hindrance such legislation may make, especially upon the gospel.
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Format: Paperback
Politics has always been something that I never really took an interest in. But since bioethics, one of my main interests, is often intertwined with political and jurisprudential issues, I figured that it was about time that I started studying it. Until recently, my main source of political knowledge came from television news stations such as CNN, Fox, and NBC. I happened to stumble upon Francis Beckwith's new book while searching for an introduction to politics from a Christian perspective.

As it turns out, politics is a general term that covers a large number of various sub-disciplines. These include political theory (The study of the nature of government), comparative politics (The study of other political systems), political economy (The study of how politics and the economy relate to each other), and public law (The study of how different entities relate to each other). Chapter one deals with these various divisions within politics.

In the following chapters, Beckwith covers the relationship between the Christian citizen and liberal democracy. In Matthew 22, Jesus instructed that because the image of Caesar was present on the coin presented to him, we have a duty to obey earthly governments. To disobey government, which is an institution established by God, thus equates to disobeying God himself. Implicit in this, however, is the other realization that because the image of God is present on us that we also have a duty to obey God. Thus, while Christians are subject to government authority, it is permissible in certain circumstances to disobey governments which are at conflict with Biblical values.

Beckwith also correctly notes that in some situations, it is permissible to support non-Christian candidates for political office (Mitt Romney, for example).
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Francis J. Beckwith is Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University. In his book Beckwith explores a framework through which Christians might engage deeply in the activity of forming political commitments. Below is my point by point review.

1) Well Done: Beckwith simply has done his homework. It is evident throughout the book that he is knowledgeable and has thought through the Christian Worldview implications on politics. These is much to be learned from him and this book. Spend the time reading this and you will be extremely blessed by how your worldview will begin to change in regards to political life.

2) Arguments Well Constructed: The reader will learn from the introduction what Beckwith's arguments are and how be plans to prove them. This is the mark of any good writer. He lays out chapter by chapter what he intends the reader to understand and how he challenges the Christian to think about government.

3) Longer?: I rarely say this about many books but i wish this was longer, it does a great job but me personally, I want to know more. It is the perfect length or a weekend read and maybe that's what he intended it to be. BUY THIS BOOK!!!
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Format: Paperback
I had selected this book for my Amazon Wish List, and then forgot about it. A couple years later I began my graduate studies at Liberty University, and this book was one of the texts for PPOG 501 - Foundations of Public Policy. It laid a wonderful foundation on which to compare the works of Frederic Bastiat, Francis Schaeffer, and Saul Alinsky, and build a well-rounded understanding of public policy from a Christian worldview. I highly recommend this book (and the class) to Christians who want to be political junkies like me, or political junkies who want to be Christians.
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