Evangelicals in the Public Square
Every year over the 4th we go to the charming town of Annapolis, MD. We don't see the charm much, the cobblestone and clapboard, the sails and the flags because we are cooped up in a nice hotel selling books to the participants at the Jonathan Edwards Institute's annual conference. Over the years we've sold books to folks who come to hear the likes of John Piper, Scott Hafeman, David Wells, Sinclear Ferguson or John Anderson (of Reformation and Revival ministries.) The participants come from all over, are mostly Reformed, conservative pastors and laypeople, good thinkers, hungry for Bible teaching and cultural application; they take their motto and vision from the God-drenched worldview of the famous scientist, statesmen, educator, missionary and pastor, the renowned Jonathan Edwards. It is a very special conference and we are grateful to them that they allow us to play a role, setting up a huge display of Puritan writers, contemporary sociologists, theologians and worldview writers. They are very gracious folks who love God supremely because they understand that He offers sovereign grace supremely in Christ Jesus. And they want to be well-read, mature and balanced in their whole-hearted devotion and whole-life discipleship.
This year, in a bit of a twist, the theme is all about civic life, politics, foreign affairs, citizenship, bio-ethics and the like. The speakers are renowned--Os Guinness, Ken Myers (of the very classy Mars Hill Audio), Ron Sider (of Evangelicals for Social Action), Frank Young (formerly head of the FDA, with dual degrees in science and theology) and Keith Pavlischek, a just-war theorist and political philosopher who I dare to disagree with sometimes, even though he is smarter and braver than I (he just got back from Iraq; you may have seen a review he recently did in Books & Culture about same.)
As we prepare for this, we were pleased to get in the brand new book edited and partially written by J. Budziszewski, Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action (Baker; $19.99.) This fine work surveys four responsible influences over the evangelical public mind of our generation, and then has a representative of that tradition give a further explanation and response to Bud's chapter on that person. The four are Carl F. H. Henry, Abraham Kuyper, Francis Schaeffer and John Howard Yoder. (I would guess, by the way, that Ron and I will be the only two guys in the house at JEI who have been significantly influenced by the pacifism of Yoder.)
With a good forward by Mike Cromartie (who I suspect might attend this gig; I at least hope he's there) and an important afterword by Jean Bethke Elshtain, this is a very serviceable volume, useful in many ways, fascinating and helpful.
None of these four scholars/views, I hope you understand, could be considered "the Christian right" (although Schaeffer was nearly co-opted by Falwell for a spell in the early 80's) or the "Christian left" (although the Mennonite Yoder has influenced Jim Wallis at Sojourners.) The four respondents, by the way, of the four evangelical traditions, are David Weeks, William Edgar, John Bolt, and Ashley Woodiwiss. It is a nice way to do a book and we are thrilled to tell you about it. We will have some left after JEI, so order 'em over the holiday weekend and we will honor the conference discount of 10% off. Just email us or call. Thanks.
Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action J. Budziszewski (Baker) $19.99
in honor of the Jonathan Edwards Institute Conference
order here or call 717.246.3333