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Behaving in Public
How to Do Christian Ethics
POD; Published: 1/6/2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6400-0
Price: $ 19.99
142 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Opens up a way forward for Christian ethics in the public sphere

Too often, says Nigel Biggar, contemporary Christian ethics poses a false choice -- either "conservative" theological integrity or "liberal" secular consensus. Behaving in Public explains both why and how Christians should resist these polar options. Informed by a frankly Christian theological vision of moral life and so turning toward the world with openness and curiosity, Biggar's succinct argument charts a third way forward.
Jean Porter
— University of Notre Dame
"How can the church witness effectively in public debates in modern, mostly secular societies, without either losing its integrity or imposing its perspectives on others? In this important new book Nigel Biggar maintains that the integrity of the Christian message should not be confused with distinctiveness. . . . Offers a nuanced yet demanding position on the public role of the church, cutting through unhelpful dichotomies and reminding us that theological seriousness need not be sectarian or intolerant."
Werner G. Jeanrond
— University of Glasgow
"Clear in thought, elegant in expression, and generous in dialogue, this book offers a new and convincing approach to Christian ethics. . . . Biggar argues for the integrity of a mature, discriminating, nonmoralizing Christian ethics which is inspired and equipped for critical engagement with the church and the wider public and which cares about the flourishing of both."
Robin W. Lovin
— Southern Methodist University
"Behaving in Public shows people who care about public life how to combine theological integrity and political effectiveness. . . . This is a theology that offers an alternative to today's polarized politics."
Charles Camosy
— Fordham University
"This is an important book that can help Christian ethicists come out of our camps and engage the public without sacrificing theological integrity."
Nicholas Wolterstorff
— Yale University
"Common sense is usually bland and boring. Nigel Biggar's book Behaving in Public, however, is full of common sense that is anything but bland and boring. That's because Biggar employs his common sense polemically to show what's deficient in one and another position on speaking as a Christian in public, and to point to alternatives. Over and over I found myself saying, 'Yes, of course; he's right.' This is a wonderfully fresh, perceptive, and sensible discussion."
Modern Believing
"There is much that is sensible and sound in what Biggar argues. The book is a sort of primer for scholarly Christian ethicists who might find themselves sitting on boards with non-Christians."
"In this fine, clearly written book, Nigel Biggar shows Christians how to engage in social witness in a secular society. . . . Well-read parishioners will find this uncommonly sensible book tremendously helpful and clarifying. Pastors will also find this book a great source in their preaching and teaching ministries. Theological ethicists will find this to be a clear statement of their vocation from someone who holds Barth in one hand and Aquinas in the other."
First Things
"Any thoughtful Christian could profit from reading this book, and one hopes many will."
Journal of Church and State
"Biggar's clarity and conciseness make this a quick and enjoyable read."
Anglican Theological Review
"This engaging treatment of important contemporary issues is an excellent resource for scholars, pastors, and laypeople alike."
Church of England Newspapers
"This short and well-written book deserves to be widely read. It should certainly be high on the reading list of bishops and others who are called upon to articulate a Christian view in a public place."