You've probably heard the advice to avoid discussing religion and politics, especially if you want to steer clear of confrontation. At Sonlight we take a different approach--seek to understand different viewpoints and engage them intelligently and winsomely.
Our recently revised Core 400 seeks to do just that with the addition of a book to the Bible portion. God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government explores four different ways Christians relate their faith to government.
This is a unique book in that it features contributions from more than a dozen experts who often interact with opposing ideas, responding to each major position presented in the book. Instead of one book by a single author making the case for a specific view of government, God and Politics offers four alternatives. Our helpful Instructor's Guide Notes also provide further insights and commentary on the book.
What four options are covered? In the order they are addressed in the book they include Theonomy, Principled Pluralism, Christian America, and National Confessionalism. While it's beyond our scope to cover the details of what each view is about in a brief summary, here's a quick overview of each approach:
Theonomy: Sometimes called Reconstructionism, theonomy emphasizes the application of God's laws, including Old Testament laws, to contemporary government.
Principled Pluralism: This view states that there are many different perspectives represented in society, leading to the conclusion that the state should ensure equal rights for all citizens, not just a particular faith.
Christian America: This approach comes in different forms, but the general thrust is belief in the Christian heritage of America, which should lead Christians to restore their faith throughout government.
National Confessionalism: Adherents of this viewpoint believe that every nation should explicitly declare allegiance to Christ in their official documents and seek to implement policies that honor the God of the Bible.
As you can see, there are a variety of viewpoints represented in the four views covered in God and Politics. Although there is disagreement among the Christian contributors to the book, there's an appendix that summarizes not only areas of disagreement, but key areas of agreement. This provides a fantastic way of underscoring Christian unity on important areas despite differences.
So what position does Sonlight follow? One of the wonderful and often unique characteristics of our approach is that we don't tell you or your children what to believe. Instead, we provide helpful information to guide you and your children as you seek to understand, evaluate, and come to your own conclusions.
What view of God and politics do you follow? How will you teach your children about the relationship between God and government? Let us know in the comments section!
If you want to learn more about the four views, pick up a copy of God and Politics.