Where do Christians fit in a two-party political system?
The partisan divide that is rending the nation is now tearing apart American churches. On one side are Christian Right activists and other conservatives who believe that a vote for a Democratic presidential candidate is a vote for abortion, sexual immorality, gender confusion, and the loss of religious liberty for Christians. On the other side are politically progressive Christians who are considering leaving the institutional church because of white evangelicalism’s alliance with a Republican Party that they believe is racist, hateful toward immigrants, scornful of the poor, and directly opposed to the principles that Jesus taught. Even while sharing the same pew, these two sides often see the views of the other as hopelessly wrongheaded—even evil. Is there a way to transcend this deep-seated division?
The Politics of the Cross draws on history, policy analysis, and biblically grounded theology to show how Christians can protect the unborn, advocate for traditional marriage, promote racial justice, care for the poor, and, above all, honor the gospel by adopting a cross-centered ethic instead of the idolatrous politics of power, fear, or partisanship. As Daniel K. Williams illustrates, both the Republican and Democratic parties are rooted in Christian principles, but both have distorted those principles and mixed them with assumptions that are antithetical to biblical truth. Williams explains how Christians can renounce partisanship and pursue policies that show love for our neighbors to achieve a biblical vision of justice.
Nuanced, detailed, and even-handed, The Politics of the Cross tackles the thorny issues that divide Christians politically and offers a path forward with innovative, biblically minded political approaches that might surprise Christians on both the left and the right.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Different Kind of Politics 1. The Protestant Moralism of the Republican Party 2. The Secularized Liberal Protestantism of the Democratic Party 3. Abortion 4. Marriage and Sexuality 5. Race 6. Wealth and Poverty Afterword: The Politics of the Cross and the Preservation of the Nation
Daniel K. Williams is professor of history at the University of West Georgia. His other books include God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right and Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro- Life Movement before Roe v. Wade. His published work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Christianity Today, First Things, and The Gospel Coalition.
“If you relish the inane partisanship that characterizes American political life, The Politics of the Cross is not for you. But if you are looking for a judicious assessment of the deep history and contemporary challenges of Christian faith and American politics, this is the book you've been waiting for.” — Thomas S. Kidd author of Who Is an Evangelical? The History of a Movement in Crisis
“Daniel Williams is one of our finest historians of evangelicals and politics. In The Politics of the Cross, he draws on his previous works, but takes us even deeper into these issues through timely theological reflections on how evangelical Christians should engage in public life. His chapter on abortion alone is worth the price of the book.” — John Fea author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump
“We live in a time when far too often partisan politics and catchy slogans replace thoughtful Christian engagement. Fiery rhetoric is often detached from fair-minded assessment of the past and present. It occurs on both sides of the aisle. Thankfully we have people like Daniel K. Williams, who offers both the nuance of a historian and the concerns of one committed to the fullness of ancient Christian concerns. This book will at times surprise, but also hopefully inform and encourage, those seeking to more faithfully navigate the debates of our age.” — Kelly M. Kapic Covenant College
“Partisanship in the United States has reached unsustainable levels. With characteristic care and earnestness, Daniel K. Williams proposes a practical and satisfying way forward for our national discourse that is deeply informed by history, Scripture, and Christian tradition. Operating from the assumption that church and state interests need not be at odds, and Democrats and Republicans need not be mortal enemies, Williams offers a needed voice of wisdom, compassion, and maturity to a nation that seems on the brink of moral, political, and spiritual collapse. If ever such a voice was needed in American civil discourse, it is now. And if ever there was an example of a Christian thinker for such a time as this, it is Daniel K. Williams.” — John D. Wilsey The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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