Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views

Front Cover
P. C. Kemeny
InterVarsity Press, Sep 20, 2009 - Religion
Abortion. Physician-assisted suicide. Same-sex marriages. Embryonic stem-cell research. Poverty. Crime. What is a faithful Christian response? The God of the Bible is unquestionably a God of justice. Yet Christians have had their differences as to how human government and the church should bring about a just social order. Although Christians share many deep and significant theological convictions, differences that threaten to divide them have often surrounded the matter of how the church collectively and Christians individually ought to engage the public square. What is the mission of the church? What is the purpose of human government? How ought they to be related to each other? How should social injustice be redressed? The five noted contributors to this volume answer these questions from within their distinctive Christian theological traditions, as well as responding to the other four positions. Through the presentations and ensuing dialogue we come to see more clearly what the differences are, where their positions overlap and why they diverge. The contributors and the positions taken include
  • Clarke E. Cochran: A Catholic Perspective
  • Derek H. Davis: A Classical Separation Perspective
  • Ronald J. Sider: An Anabaptist Perspective
  • Corwin F. Smidt: A Principled Pluralist Perspective
  • J. Philip Wogaman: A Social Justice Perspective
This book will be instructive for anyone seeking to grasp the major Christian alternatives and desiring to pursue a faithful corporate and individual response to the social issues that face us.

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User Review  - rholland - LibraryThing

An interesting book. But only if you want to delve into the most obscure of church doctrine on the nation state. I think this would be a very hard read for the general reader, I certainly struggled ... Read full review

Selected pages


Classical Separation Response
Principled Pluralist Response
Anabaptist Response
Social Justice Response
The Classical Separation Perspective
Catholic Response
Principled Pluralist Response
Social Justice Response
The Anabaptist Perspective
Catholic Response
Classical Separation Response
Principled Pluralist Response
Social Justice Response
The Social Justice Perspective
Catholic Response

Anabaptist Response
Social Justice Response
The Principled Pluralist Perspective
Catholic Response
Classical Separation Response
Anabaptist Response
Classical Separation Response
Principled Pluralist Response
Anabaptist Response
Index of Names

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About the author (2009)

Paul C. Kemeny (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; Th.M., Duke University; M.Div., Westminster Seminary) is professor of religion and humanities at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Kemeny has taught at Calvin College and was a research fellow at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He belongs to the American Academy of Religion, the American Historical Association, the American Society of Church History and the Conference on Faith on History. Other books by Kemeny include Princeton in the Nation's Service: Religious Ideals and Educational Practice, 1868-1928 (Oxford University Press, 1998) and American Church History: A Reader (coedited with Henry Warner Bowden, Abingdon Press, 1998).

Clarke E. Cochran is a professor of political science at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. At Texas Tech, he teaches courses in political philosophy, religion and politics, and public policy. Cochran is very active in his community and serves on the Board of Directors of Covenant Health System, Lubbock, Texas. He has received numerous honors, including the Best Teacher Award from Pi Sigma Alpha, the AMOCO Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, and others.

Davis is director of the J. M. Dawson Insitute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Smidt is professor of political science and director of the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Theologian and social activist Ronald J. Sider is the founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, a think-tank that publishes Prism magazine and seeks to develop biblical solutions to social and economic problems. He is also professor of theology, holistic ministry and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania and is a founding board member of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. Sider has published over 22 books and has written over 100 articles in both religious and secular magazines. He is the author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and Just Generosity. He received a BA in European history from the University of Waterloo in Ontario and a Master of Divinity and PhD in history from Yale University.

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