Today, we’re going to take a look at nine books that I believe can help Christians think about politics in light of the difficult dilemma we will be facing as we head to the ballot box in November.
I realized after I posted my interview with third-party presidential candidate Mike Maturen that maybe I should use today’s post to take a step back. Like I said on Monday, some people are viewing this election as a necessary vote for the lesser of two evils while others are more willing to vote their conscience by voting for candidates who have a very limited chance of winning. Naturally, the consequence of voting your conscience is that perhaps the greater evil might win if people do not unite behind the lesser of two evils.
Given this complicated situation, I thought it might be useful to give you nine resources that will help you think through your vote. What I’m not doing in this post is telling you who to vote for, but I am trying to provide resources that will help frame your worldview to vote as a Christian.
If you only have time to read one politically-themed book before November, this is the one I would recommend. Guinness introduces the reader to the Golden Triangle of Freedom. It relies on the cyclical concept that freedom first and foremost requires virtue. Virtue in turn requires faith, and faith then requires freedom. If any one of these three legs is removed, then the free people have indeed given away their own freedom.
This book will challenge you to think about why the freedoms we enjoy rely on assumptions that many take for granted.
I use the phrase “ideas have consequences” all the time, and I thought it was appropriate to include this book as we consider what is essentially a contest of ideas. Certainly, our presidential election has its share of personalities, but there’s no doubt that, at the bottom of it all, there are fundamentally different visions of the future America, and people need to decide which one they are going to endorse with their votes.
This book will help Christians think through what happens when a society that denies the fact that universal truths can and actually do exist.
This is one of my favorite books, and you might think it is somewhat out of place on a list of books about politics. However, we need a society of “men with chests.” We need a society of people who are willing to fight against the temptation to reduce everything to subjective feelings. We need to vote for people who actually have convictions and beliefs.
I believe that this book serves a very similar function to Ideas Have Consequences. If politicians are denying that there is any moral authority or any moral rightness or wrongness, we need to consider the consequences of that belief before we vote.
Russell Moore wrote this book as a call for the church to reclaim the mission that Jesus Christ laid out. He urges the development of a “prophetic minority” which applies Christian teachings in all areas of life. This approach needs to infiltrate our political decisions as well. Are we actually entering the voting booth as Christians, or are we letting our culture, friends or even our own sin nature push us away from that focus?
This book will challenge you, but it helps us remember that every part of our lives needs to be influenced by our Christian worldview.
This is another book that is not explicitly political, but it speaks about the need for Christians to engage with culture. Rather than hide away in a type of monastery, Christians ought to create things for the kingdom of God. We often times think that politics are by nature a dirty business and Christians should not get wrapped up in that worldly endeavor. It must be better to withdraw.
However, when we think about political involvement as something like music or art that can also be done for the glory of God, our vote seems to take on another, healthy level of significance. We ought to engage.
I interviewed Hunter Baker about his congressional run, and in this book, he expounds on the inevitable dangers that face a society when it embraces the doctrine of secularism. There are plenty of influential people in the United States today would be eager to remove any discussion of religion from the public square. They distort the meaning of the separation of church and state for their own agenda.
Secularism is clearly a threat to religious liberty, and it is something that Christians need to take seriously. This book will help keep your eyes open on this important issue.
Skye Jethani provides an overview of three strategies Christians have utilized throughout history when they consider political engagement: Exodus, Exile or Incarnation. He proposes, among other points, that rather than cower in fear, we move forward with the love of Christ and the Incarnation.
The Voting Booth provides an important reminder that sometimes our worries lead us to less than ideal decisions. We know who is really in control, and we can have that confidence as followers of Christ.
William Wilberforce changed the British Empire by helping to abolish the slave trade. In this book, we see what happens when Christians actually take their calling seriously. As a result, it should inspire us to think about what good we can do within the political institution if we actually live up to our mission to help the helpless, serve the poor and do so many other Biblically-driven things.
I realize that this book is a little bit different than the others on my list, but by looking at the past, we can be encouraged that these battles against evil can be fought and won.
This is one of my two favorite Chronicles of Narnia, and it tells a story where evil seems to be in control. All that is good is being destroyed, and all is spiraling out of control. However, that does not mean there is no hope. Even in the darkness, we find that maintaining our testimony to the end has value.
Thinking about politics then, The Last Battle encourages me to remember where my true hope lies. Even when we have no control, we can be confident that we know who does.