Thomas Nelson, 2018. 253pp.
The United States of America is in a state of rage. The current era of divided politics is a visible outcome of this rage.
Written following the 2016 Presidential election, this book attempts to provide a conciliatory approach to the shifting, and somewhat arbitrary, changes in public politics in the United States. The great answer is that the church can remain the kingdom of God, while the citizens of God serve as ambassadors in a foreign land.
The premise is that God is sovereign (only one god will triumph). All final authority rests in the God of the Bible, as revealed in Jesus Christ and expounded upon within the Scriptures. The remedy for rage is found in Jesus Christ and the local church displaying God’s love while living righteously as determined by God in this present age.
This will mean justice for the social ills perpetrated on humankind by the fall. This will mean working as a kingdom within a kingdom to expose the wrong, and right the tilting world of rage. This will mean recognizing and living with the restrictions of the mandate of government within the common life God has given to all people. This will mean accepting that all people are made in God’s image and are to be treated with respect and dignity. This will mean the called ones (the church) will be different than the world.
Leeman’s final concluding chapter includes these words: “If there is hope for the nation, it’s through the witness and work of churches. Our congregations have opportunity to live transformed lives as a transformed culture through a transformed politics in their own fellowships right now—all for God’s glory and our neighbors’ good.” (pp. 240-241)
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
I must begin with a disclaimer! I am a Canadian. Our politics are not American politics.
This book is best for American Churches. The questions of civil religion, nationalism, racism, flash point issues of abortion and same sex marriages, and other American specific topics find rest in this volume. A global audience will find this book misses many of their current struggles.
The foundation of the book is that the local church is the change agent for a world now raging uncontrollably. I do appreciate that Leeman tries to give strong principles to direct our thoughts—he is best when he is providing lists of potential activities.
In the current debate on the mission of the church, this book will provide a well thought out perspective.
I was pleasantly surprised with Leeman’s attempt to characterize both conservative and liberal church types (both their strengths and weaknesses). These few paragraphs are worthy of reading as you seek to understand and hopefully be sympathetic towards his attempt to be a centrist, with a firm and principled approach to politics.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
This Lifeway Pastors review was written by Ron Baker, eh.