Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views

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Abortion. Physician-assisted suicide. Same-sex marriages. Embryonic stem-cell research. Poverty. Crime. What is a faithful Christian response?

The God of the Bible is unquestionably a God of justice. Yet Christians have had their differences as to how human government and the church should bring about a just social order.

Although Christians share many deep and significant theological convictions, differences that threaten to divide them have often surrounded the matter of how the church collectively and Christians individually ought to engage the public square.

What is the mission of the church? What is the purpose of human government? How ought they to be related to each other? How should social injustice be redressed?

The five noted contributors to this volume answer these questions from within their distinctive Christian theological traditions, as well as responding to the other four positions. Through the presentations and ensuing dialogue we come to see more clearly what the differences are, where their positions overlap and why they diverge. The contributors and the positions taken include
Clarke E. Cochran: A Catholic PerspectiveDerek H. Davis: A Classical Separation PerspectiveRonald J. Sider: An Anabaptist PerspectiveCorwin F. Smidt: A Principled Pluralist PerspectiveJ. Philip Wogaman: A Social Justice Perspective
This book will be instructive for anyone seeking to grasp the major Christian alternatives and desiring to pursue a faithful corporate and individual response to the social issues that face us.

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Editorial Reviews

Darrell Cole for Journal of Church and State
"Each contributor is well chosen and provides a concise and readable presentation, making the book an excellent introduction to the issues of church and state."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830827961
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 5/11/2007
  • Series: Spectrum Multiview Book Series
  • Pages: 254
  • Sales rank: 845,821
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul C. Kemeny (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; Th.M., Duke University; M.Div., Westminster Seminary) is professor of religion and humanities at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Kemeny has taught at Calvin College and was a research fellow at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He belongs to the American Academy of Religion, the American Historical Association, the American Society of Church History and the Conference on Faith on History. Other books by Kemeny include Princeton in the Nation's Service: Religious Ideals and Educational Practice, 1868-1928 (Oxford University Press, 1998) and American Church History: A Reader (coedited with Henry Warner Bowden, Abingdon Press, 1998).

Clarke E. Cochran is a professor of political science at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. At Texas Tech, he teaches courses in political philosophy, religion and politics, and public policy. Cochran is very active in his community and serves on the Board of Directors of Covenant Health System, Lubbock, Texas. He has received numerous honors, including the Best Teacher Award from Pi Sigma Alpha, the AMOCO Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, and others.

Davis is director of the J. M. Dawson Insitute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Smidt is professor of political science and director of the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Theologian and social activist Ronald J. Sider is the founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, a think-tank that publishes Prism magazine and seeks to develop biblical solutions to social and economic problems. He is also professor of theology, holistic ministry and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania and is a founding board member of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

Sider has published over 22 books and has written over 100 articles in both religious and secular magazines. He is the author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and Just Generosity. He received a BA in European history from the University of Waterloo in Ontario and a Master of Divinity and PhD in history from Yale University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction by P. C. Kemeny
1. Life on the Border: A Catholic Perspective, by Clarke E. Cochran
2. The Classical Separation Perspective, by Derek H. Davis
3. The Principled Pluralist Perspective, by Corwin Smidt
4. The Anabaptist Perspective, by Ronald J. SIder
5. The Social Justice Perspective, by J. Philip Wogaman
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