A Higher Throne: Evangelicals and Public Theology
This book is a timely contribution to the debate about the relevance of biblical theology to the increasingly secular perspective of the world’s market places. It reaches from the high throne of a Sovereign God whose word is truth into the mind-set of a godless world view where ‘we do not do God’. It addresses the age-old tension between being part of the world but not conformed to it. The dilemma faced Christians in the Roman world of Paul’s day (Romans 12:2). This is not reading for the faint-hearted. It is not a bedtime book for tired eyes!
Daniel Strange helps to define ‘Public Theology’ from an evangelical viewpoint by quoting part of the editorial of The International Journal of Public Theology: “Public Theology results from a growing perception of the need for theology to interact with public issues in contemporary society …” From the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles this relevance through tension has always been vital. “Let your light so shine …” (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). Kirsten Birkett in her valuable contribution raises some penetrating questions. How does a Christian living under the influence and in the power of the Holy Spirit deal with the life-style issues raised in the world of the ‘Old Creation’? Is a Christian carrying out … secular work with diligence and honestly doing something, which is ‘just as good’ as full-time gospel preaching? Living ‘in Christ’ and in the world involves ‘loving our neighbour …. And the greatest act of love possible is to bring people to a knowledge of the greatest act of love ever, Christ’s death and resurrection for the salvation of many’. Well said! What a challenge to our often lazy faith. For those unfamiliar with Samuel Rutherford’s Lex, Rex, and the concept of a Christian State, David Field’s article will prove informative. He assembles a series of arguments against the Confessional Christian State and provides a Rutherford response! He is generous to those who take the view that this is not a gospel matter at all. Garry Williams in the last contribution examines the place of the Cross, the atonement and penal substitution operating in the realm of law, justice and punishment. David Field, in the sermon (with which the book ends) makes a plea for the Christian mind to submit to Scripture in all things. His closing prayer is a plea for the Lord to deal with us so that He is honoured.
This book is a ‘must have’, must buy’, must read’! But for whom? It is for those Christians with a calling to live at the interface of Gospel and World without any compromise in their testimony to the word of the Lord; for those church leaders who are devoted to teaching their congregations how to live in the world as a powerful witness to Christ without fear or favour; for those thoughtful Christians who desire to serve the Lord of the High Throne without retreating into a ghetto of other-worldly inactivity. The book has a valuable bibliography. Having no index, however, makes reference difficult.