I received in the mail last night a new book by Dr. Wayne Grudem, research professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary. Politics – According to the Bible is Grudem’s latest offering, published by Zondervan. It’s a thick book—weighing in at more than 600 pages.
What I find fascinating in this book is that it is—that it exists. Conservative theologians don’t usually dive into politics with the fervor of their left-wing opponents (think seminary-trained, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Jim Wallis). To be sure, there are plenty of conservative Christians who speak and write about political life from the right—Chuck Colson, Marvin Olasky, Ann Coulter, Britt Hume, Cal Thomas, Kerby Anderson, to name a few. But these folks are not theologically trained; Mike Huckabee is (one year at Southwestern Baptist Seminary), but he’s the exception to the rule. But to have a full-fledged conservative theologian offer a serious volume on American politics is exceptional.
Grudem has been for a long time an outspoken defender of conservative thought—both theologically and politically. He has impeccable credentials—Harvard BA, Westminster MDiv, Cambridge PhD. Many readers of this blogsite will recognize his name from his well-known and justly-revered Systematic Theology. Whatever else one wants to say about Grudem’s take on politics, he or she must wrestle with the fact that Grudem is a serious theologian who desires to ground his views in scripture at every turn. In other words, this is a book not to be taken lightly, not to be dismissed, not to be rejected as though it comes from a Fox News pundit.
Grudem takes on the theological right-political left capably (for example, Jim Wallis is discussed or cited on 24 pages). Characteristic of his writing style, he is clear, forthright, and biblical. Grudem has been a lightning rod on numerous issues—the role of women in the church, the continuation of the gifts, and now conservative politics. I am interested in seeing the responses to this book. It no doubt will engender much heated debate. In the end, I hope that evangelical Christians will measure it against the Bible as our ultimate authority.
From what I’ve read so far, I can tell you that this will be a fascinating read. It’s a book I would recommend to any Christian concerned about the state of American politics today, regardless of where he or she stands on the political continuum.