In one recent discussion (or maybe it was one of the interviews I’ve done following my first post on Repairing Evangelical Political Theology), I was asked what were a few good books for a concerned Christian wanting to build a theological foundation for their political philosophy. It was a great question and worth exploring. So, here are my thoughts on who you should read and why. The great news is that most of the resources are available online and free.
Important Thinkers Evangelical Christians Should Read and Follow
In modern evangelical Christian theology there are three theologians you should read: Dr. Wayne Grudem, Dr. Norman L. Geisler and Dr. William Lane Craig.
Wayne Grudem has written a Systematic Theology that is the textbook for countless Systematic Theology classes. Also, Grudem wrote a superb and in-depth study of modern political issues in his work, Politics According to the Bible. Norman Geisler is one of the great thinkers of modern Christianity. He played a major role in the fight for inerrancy and apologetics. Geisler has a multi-volume Systematic Theology among countless other theological and philosophical works. Concerned Christian voters would do well to read Geisler’s work on moral philosophy. Specifically, Geisler’s Christian Ethics, second edition delves into how Christians can navigate moral decision making when in a fallen world, often God’s commands might seem to be in conflict. Certainly, we saw the necessity of understanding this type of concept during the Trump-Clinton election of 2016. To get a sample of what the book is like, you can read an excellent summary of Graded Absolutism here written by Dr. Geisler. (Editor’s note: I have a post planned attempting to incorporate Graded Absolutism into voting for Christians.)
William Lane Craig is the finest Evangelical Apologist and Philosopher of our generation. Craig’s general works on Apologetics, his deeper philosophical works and even his Sunday School class provide important Christian resources. Craig’s Defenders Sunday School class is a great place for Christians to start developing a deeper understanding of key Christian doctrine; in the class, Craig covers it all—from understanding the nature and types of revelation to Christology to Natural Theology to Eschatology. Getting these doctrines right help an evangelical get other issues—issues like politics—right. So, Craig’s podcasts and online resources are the perfect place to start. He is an amazing teacher, gifted at making any topic interesting. I recommend starting not at the very beginning (as topics like revelation can be very in-depth and intimidating), but begin listening to Defenders in a Natural Theology lecture like Part 5: Argument from Contingency. Or, the lectures on the Divine Attributes are good starting points too. This free resource for evangelicals is the perfect antidote to the growth of heresy in the church: ReasonableFaith.org. Bookmark it.
Important thinkers offering online commentary about key issues
In addition to the systematic theologians mentioned, there are many great resources and thinkers online covering key issues happening today. Three that immediately come to mind are New Testament scholar Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, Dr. Carol M. Swain and Dr. Robert Lopez.
Dr. Gagnon posts in-depth analysis on his Facebook page regarding everything from election politics (as in the case of ERLC attacks on conservative political candidates) to issues including biblical marriage. You should check out his Facebook Page and this article at Stream detailing how Christianity Today has smeared evangelical conservatives.
Dr. Carol Swain recently retired as professor law and Political Science from Vanderbilt. She appears regularly on Fox News offering commentary on politics and religion. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Swain, who is a Southern Baptist, on racial issues and politics in the Southern Baptist Convention. She’s worth reading and following online. Check out her website.
Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has long experience suffering in the culture war. While teaching in Califonria, he was attacked by progressives and was driven out of the secular university. He ended up teaching at one of the best SBC institutions of higher learning. You can read an interview with Dr. Lopez here on this site, and you should check out his blog.
Any additional suggestions as to thinkers or resources that concerned evangelical Christians should read or follow online? We need to build a resource list for committed Christians wanting to build a robust Christian worldview and engaging on the political issues of the day. I’d love to hear your recommendations.