Book Review: Politics According to the Bible

Title: Politics According to the Bible

Author: Wayne Grudem

Recommended for: Christians interested in politics in America

download (1)Grudem is best known for his magisterial modern systematic theology, and he applies the same organization and thoroughness to this fat reference tome analyzing what the Bible says about current political issues. Part 1 deals with the foundational ideas that Grudem believes should guide an American Christian’s understanding of politics. The second part covers in detail ten major issues in modern politics, including abortion, economics, the environment, and freedom of speech. The third applies the first two parts to the current political parties and ends on a pastoral note of encouragement to faith in God in the midst of changing circumstances.

This is not a book about politics in general. This is a book about America. Grudem quotes from the founding documents nearly as often as  from the Bible, and even his ‘Basic Principles’ section includes sections like “Churches and the IRS.” As a Canadian living in China, I had hoped for discussion of politics on a global scale. Still, an application of biblical principles to American issues is welcome, and the points that Grudem makes are generally salient and reasonable.

Some of the basic questions that the book deals with, however, seem to me to have far less scriptural support than he assumes. In the section “Governments should safeguard human liberty,” asks the all-important question, “What freedoms should be protected by civil government?” His answer comes entirely from the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights. Yet it is the answer to this question that is one of the crucial separators between nations. Does the Bible have nothing to say about it?

I would recommend this as a great reference volume for American Christians and as a discussion starter on the Bible and human society, but not as the last word on politics according to the Bible.


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