Republican Politics According to the Bible
by Laurence M. Vance
Review of Wayne Grudem, Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Zondervan, 2010), 619 pgs., hardcover, $39.99.
I remember back in the mid 1990s when I was teaching theology and Zondervan published Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. I thought it was a good book, and now see that it has sold over 300,000 copies. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw that the author recently wrote an equally massive book on politics. It is not everyday when a theologian is found to have such a different field of interest and, in the case of Grudem, expertise.
As I have mentioned in some of my other reviews of Christian books (see here, here, here, here, and here), because one of my primary interests is the intersection of religion with politics and economics, I try to read and possibly review any books on these subjects. Although I am usually disappointed, Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (hereafter just Politics – According to the Bible), although it has much to disappoint, and much I vehemently disagree with, is still an important and needful work that I can recommend to Christians interested in religion and politics, albeit with many caveats.
Wayne Grudem is Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. He was formerly Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. Grudem holds degrees from Harvard, Westminster Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge. He has served as president of the Evangelical Theological Society.
The book is very well written and organized. Grudem divides the book into three parts: Basic Principles (5 chapters), Specific Issues (10 chapters), and Concluding Observations (3 chapters). There is a brief preface and introduction, a very detailed table of contents, clear chapter divisions, footnotes, and Scripture, name, and subject indexes.
The author’s approach to the issues he discusses is threefold: arguments from direct biblical statements, arguments from broader biblical principles, and arguments that do not depend on the Bible but on an evaluation of the relevant facts in the world today.