Journal of Christian Studies volume II, issue 2 will be shipping to subscribers soon! The theme of the issue is The Church and the Polis. Below is the editor's note and a list of contributors. If you haven't subscribed to JCS yet, be sure to do so today to ensure you receive your copy!
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Along with money, religion and politics are two subjects to avoid in polite conversation, according to a piece of folk wisdom. Yet, these two subjects are of perennial concern, and they pertain to important matters: proper devotion and allegiance, justice, public morality, and the general orientation of society. These are matters to which the Christian faith speaks and about which Christians cannot outsource our thinking to our culture in any age, much less our own secularizing one. Rather, we must draw on the deep reservoirs of wisdom in the Bible, the work of Christian scholars, and other writings in the Western tradition, in order to think well about politics in the post-Christian Babylon.
Christians are divided over political and social issues. How should we think about politics in a post-Constantinian, post-Reformation, and post-Christian world? What theologically-sound, pastorally sensitive, politically savvy strategies can help us navigate this challenging environment? Prominent thinkers, both Protestant and Catholic, advance “postliberal” theories aiming to align our politics with Christian truth, abandoning liberal neutrality about the good. Others emphasize the need to build Christian communities that can withstand social pressures or persecution, preparing Christians for faithful witness even to the point of martyrdom. This issue addresses the question of Christians and politics in the post-Christian polis.
We sought contributions that address perennial theoretical questions: What is the relationship between church, state, and society? How engaged should we be in earthly politics? Given our membership in the Kingdom of God, should Christians participate at all? If politics is the art of the possible, how much pragmatism should we endorse? What biblical teachings and resources in the Christian tradition should inform our politics? To what extent should Christians advocate for Christian principles in law and policy? How should ministers address political issues?
We also invited writers to address particular issues confronting Christians in the post-Christian West and beyond: How should we assess the political activism of the Christian right? What are the priorities for Christian political activity going forward? How can we promote love for our neighbors, near and far, in the context of contemporary politics?
While these essays are by North American authors and pertain most directly to issues pertinent to U.S. politics, they address questions and raise considerations we hope will be instructive and edifying for Christians not only in the U.S. and Canada, but beyond.
I thank our authors for contributing their work and undergoing the review and revision process to prepare these essays for publication. I also extend my thanks to JCS Chief Editor and Executive Director of the Center for Christian Studies, Dr. Keith Stanglin, for the opportunity to serve as guest editor for this issue, working with him and Dr. Todd Hall to present this collection.
A. Scott Bledsoe (Lipscomb University), "Belief, Belonging, and Affective Polarization: An Exploration into Contemporary American Evangelicalism."
David C. Innes (The King's College, NYC), "Christian Civic Duty and the Idea of Citizenship."
Jason Jewell (Faulkner University), "The Christian Imperative of Political Decentralization."
Zachary McCartney (Hillcrest Church of Christ) and Ben Peterson (Abilene Christian University), "Embracing the Daniel Option: Seeking Peace in the Post-Christian Babylon."
James R. Rogers (Texas A&M University), "Cultural Christianity and the Moral 'Prisoner's Dilemma' Facing American Churches."