Christianity, Politics, and the Predicament of Evil overcomes a defining divide in contemporary Protestant political ethics created by two contrasting conceptions of politics. The first, exemplified in the work of Reinhold Niebuhr, construes politics as a matter of statecraft that utilizes the power of government to secure the greatest possible order and justice for society as a whole. The second, most prominently articulated by Stanley Hauerwas, maintains that politics concerns itself with the cultivation of virtue; consequently, it finds not the "well-ordered state" but the church to be the exemplar of politics.
Not only illuminating the divide between politics-as-statecraft and politics-as-soulcraft but also redeveloping the conceptual space between them, this book reconceives politics within a theological framework in which the eschatological City of God, rather than the well-ordered state or the faithful church, functions as the paradigm of political life. At the same time, it simultaneously recognizes that the existence of evil, which corrupts individual wills and social structures, inhibits human beings from building the City of God in this world. Analyzing, criticizing, and drawing resources from Niebuhr and Hauerwas, as well as looking beyond to Augustine, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, this book specifies the respective roles of soulcraft and statecraft in a political ethic capable of guiding Christians as they witness to God's eschatological intention to establish the City of God in a world currently mired in the predicament of evil.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 268
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 238 x 158 x 27 mm
This book is a brilliant construction of political ethics at the borderlines of theology and political theory. The book offers a valuable approach to political theology and deftly maps the terrain of the ideological debates between liberal and conservative Christians on the important question of state and society relations in the United States. This is an essential book for Christian social ethics and America's political thought. -- Nimi Wariboko, Boston University
Christianity, Politics, and the Predicament of Evil offers a fresh take on an old debate about the nature and purposes of politics given eschatological hope under conditions of sin. Critically rooted in classical theology as well as Protestant social ethics, Burroughs' hybrid Augustinian-Wesleyan approach to soulcraft and statecraft loosens the grip of familiar alternatives in speaking to the concrete challenges of a new generation. -- Eric Gregory, Princeton University