“Conservative Liberalism” after Christendom

Today I have a review of David VanDrunen’s brilliant and important work, Politics After Christendom, up at Public Discourse.

Here is an excerpt.

Debating the merits of religiously oriented approaches to politics is not typically an exhilarating experience, but that has changed in recent years. We now find ourselves in a robust debate between conservatives over whether they should stand by the liberal democratic tradition or move beyond liberalism toward a more holistic and integrated state that is capable of enforcing the social and moral—if not religious—norms that they embrace. Most of the participants in this debate have been Catholics, with few evangelicals offering substantial contributions. For this reason, the release of David VanDrunen’s latest book, Politics after Christendom, could not have been better timed. VanDrunen is a Reformed evangelical and serves as professor of systematic theology and ethics at Westminster Seminary California. While his work does not take direct aim at current skirmishes, VanDrunen delivers a meaningful contribution to that ongoing conversation by outlining his own approach to political engagement after Christendom.

Political Theology and Political Ethics

VanDrunen’s work is careful, lucid, and thorough. He successfully mines the depths of Scripture to offer a biblical account of political engagement, both a framework for approaching questions of politics and government and an application of that framework to a host of contemporary issues. The book concludes with his reflections and evaluation of the traditions of classical liberalism and conservatism. Following his examination of both, VanDrunen ultimately endorses a “conservative liberalism” that attempts to apply the best of both traditions, while avoiding what he sees as the pitfalls of nationalism and progressivism.

You can read the rest here.