12 July 2024

ANAJURE lecture 2024

On monday, 8 July, I was privileged to address the seventh annual meeting of the Associação Nacional de Juristas Evangélicos (ANAJURE), or the National Association of Evangelical Jurists in Brazil. This was at the invitation of the organization's president, Edna V. Zilli. ANAJURE is made up of legal professionals and students committed to the cause of Jesus Christ in the world. The subject of my address was "Citizenship Without Illusions: hearing the Word, confessing the faith," taken from the eighth and final chapter of my next book. As always, I was heartened by the participants' expressions of gratitude for my work and for my ongoing interest in their beautiful country and its people.

I hope that a Brazilian publisher will see fit to translate Citizenship Without Illusions into Portuguese in the near future. As I do touch on Brazil's political experience in that book, it would be appropriate for its people to have access to Cidadania sem Ilusões in their own language.

27 June 2024

Israel and Gaza: nine months later

The war between Israel and Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, has lasted for nearly nine months with no signs of ending. In the meantime, innocent Palestinian civilians are caught in the crossfire. Until now I have not commented on the conduct of the war, because I am not sure I have any additional wisdom to offer beyond what others have. However, I will call readers' attention to a four-part series I wrote last year on Israel's precarious democracy. I wrote it a few months before the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel.

18 June 2024

The ex-vangelicals' idiosyncratic faith

Christian Courier has published my monthly column under the title, Draw near. An excerpt:

In North America today there is a certain first-person narrative that frequently grabs the attention of the secular media . . . . Those telling such stories are often called “ex-vangelicals,” distancing themselves from their conservative religious past. However, not all such people become atheists or agnostics. Many retain belief in God and perhaps even in Jesus Christ, but their faith has become more idiosyncratic – a matter of adjusting what they were taught as children to who they feel themselves to be today. They have made themselves the arbiters of what is and is not acceptable in the faith.

Read the rest of the article here.

17 June 2024

June newsletter online

My Global Scholars newsletter for June is now online, featuring news about my forthcoming Citizenship Without Illusions, podcast interviews, and a talk with seminary students about politics and the pulpit.

Seven essential qualities of a political leader

Last week Jason Scott Montoya interviewed me on the subject of seven essential qualities of a political leader, which he had gleaned from a previous post of mine. You can access the interview, along with ancillary material, by clicking on the link in the previous sentence. Or you can watch it here:

This is the third interview that Montoya has had with me. The others concerned my Political Visions and Illusions and the Russo-Ukrainian War.

05 June 2024

Entre Amigos interview

Two years ago I appeared on the Entre Amigos podcast hosted by my friends José (Zé) Bruno Pereira dos Santos and Rodolfo Souza, whom I met nearly eight years ago during my visit to Brazil. Last evening I appeared again on this podcast to discuss my forthcoming Citizenship Without Illusions. My translator was Lucas Vianna, who has translated for me on previous occasions. Also present was Jacira Monteiro, author of O Estigma da Cor. Here is our conversation, which lasted not quite an hour and a half.

Although it was mentioned towards the end, I have not yet been approached about a Brazilian edition of my next book. I hope that it will indeed become a reality.

03 June 2024

Local action

My monthly column appears in Christian Courier under the title, Local action. Subtitle: "Living as a responsible citizen in a way that glorifies God." An excerpt:

Several years ago, a good friend in North Carolina suggested during a phone conversation that I write a book on citizenship. At the time I was revising my first book, Political Visions and Illusions, whose second edition was released five years ago this month. I decided to take him up on his suggestion, submitting a proposal in the autumn of 2022 to InterVarsity Press. IVP accepted the proposal, and I signed a contract in January. I wrote steadily over the next months and had a more or less complete manuscript by late spring. Interviews with people featured in the book continued over the summer, and I submitted the final manuscript in September, 2023.

Read the entire article here.

31 May 2024

Trump's verdict and the American political crisis

Yesterday we received word that the jury in the Trump hush money trial has found the former president guilty on all 34 counts. Every media outlet that I've read or heard has pointed to the unprecedented nature of the conviction of a former president and current front runner in a presidential election campaign. We are in uncharted territory, as Trump is scheduled to be sentenced shortly before his party is expected to nominate him for president. Sad to say, the Trump verdict and its predictable fallout highlight nothing less than a serious crisis in America's political institutions.

21 May 2024

Citizenship education

Writing for the Christian Scholar's Review blog, Perry L. Glanzer, professor of Educational Foundations at Baylor University and a Resident Scholar with the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, has posted something of relevance to my forthcoming book: Christian Universities Do Little to Help Students Contemplate Excellent Christian Citizenship: Here’s the Evidence. An excerpt:

Since it is an election year, I wondered if I could find evidence that Christian universities help their students contemplate excellent Christian citizenship. As mentioned in an earlier post, my research team examined the general education requirements at 231 Protestant colleges requiring at least one Bible or theology course. We chose these institutions because they showed evidence of operationalizing the Christian identity in their general education.

17 May 2024

May newsletter online

I have now posted my Global Scholars Canada newsletter for May. Included are a tribute to Bob Goudzwaard, news of my next book, suggested books for students, and a forthcoming article on Christian nationalism.

29 April 2024

Suggested books for students

During my recent visit to Grove City College, I was given the opportunity to have lunch with some students in the cafeteria, along with Michael Coulter, my principal host in the political science department. During our conversation, Michael asked which books I might recommend the students to read. As I had just discussed Dietrich Bonhoeffer's witness the previous evening in response to a question from the audience, the first book I thought of was his Life Together, a magnificent book that emphasizes the need to love the existing Christian community, with all its warts and flaws, over our own aspirations for such community.

25 April 2024

Where would I be without Bob Goudzwaard?

Christian Courier has picked up my tribute to Bob Goudzwaard: Where would I be without Bob Goudzwaard? Subtitle: "Goudzwaard always emphasized the human side of economics. He passed away at age 90."

24 April 2024

Catholic integralism: response to a response

During my time at Calvin University earlier this month, I was invited to respond to an important book by Kevin Vallier, titled, All the Kingdoms of the World: On Radical Religious Alternatives to Liberalism (Oxford: 2023). The subject is Catholic integralism, a position calling for the state to establish the Roman Catholic Church, giving it a privileged position above other churches and religious faiths. In his book, Vallier, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University and a convert to Orthodoxy, makes a carefully argued case against integralism, effectively demonstrating its flaws with respect to history, symmetry, transition, stability, and justice. He then examines Confucian and Islamic anti-liberalisms before proposing in an epilogue his own alternative, which amounts to tolerance of "integration writ small," that is, local experiments in integralism within an adapted liberal order coupled with a more decentralized federalism: "Liberals must both unite to protect liberal order and concede some political independence to nonliberal communities of faith" (275).

23 April 2024

Bob Goudzwaard (1934-2024)

This past weekend we learned that Bob Goudzwaard has departed this life at the age of 90. Goudzwaard was a political economist who was steeped in the Christian tradition, especially in that branch of the faith downstream from Augustine, John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, and Herman Dooyeweerd. Born and raised in Delft, the Netherlands, he lived through the difficult war years. When he came of age, he studied at the University of Rotterdam and came under the influence of Johan P. A. Mekkes (1898-1987), an adherent of the school founded by Herman Dooyeweerd known as the Philosophy of the Law Idea. Eventually he would teach at the Free University of Amsterdam and also served for a time in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament with the Anti-Revolutionary Party.

22 April 2024

April newsletter online

I have now posted my Global Scholars Canada newsletter for April, which includes travels to Calvin University and Grove City College, where I spoke on sections from my forthcoming book, Citizenship Without Illusions.

18 April 2024

Grove City College stay

Not quite two weeks after my visit to Calvin University, I drove down to Grove City College, a Christian university in the Reformed tradition where my great friend Russell D. Kosits now teaches. I had, of course, heard of the place, but this was the first opportunity to see it for myself, and I very much liked what I saw. The drive from Hamilton is about four hours crossing the border via the Peace Bridge connecting Fort Erie and Buffalo. The weather co-operated quite nicely, and my time there coincided with two bright spring days, with trees on campus just beginning to flower.

Grove City College is nearly 150 years old, having been established in 1876. It once had a connection to the Presbyterian Church (USA), but no longer. It is a private liberal arts undergraduate university and has more than 2,000 young people enrolled as students.

11 April 2024

An enduring hope

My regular monthly column for April has been posted at Christian Courier: An enduring hope. An excerpt:

When we are young, we don’t bother to think much about our eventual demise, assuming that a good half century or more stretches before us, if God is willing. During my own youth, I was more likely to worry about what I would fill those future years with so as not to waste the gifts God had given me. When I began writing this column, I was all of 35 years old, with most of my academic career still lying ahead.

But now that I approach the biblical three score years and ten, my vantage point has shifted. Over the past five years, I have lost both of my parents and both of my parents-in-law. A close friend of mine – younger than I by a good ten years or so – recently lost his wife and his father-in-law in short order. And now we have received the news that my father’s sister-in-law in Cyprus has departed this life.

Read the entire article here.

10 April 2024

Mulroney's contested legacy

Christian Courier has published my assessment of our recently deceased prime minister: Mulroney's contested legacy. An excerpt:

Becoming leader of the federal Progressive Conservatives in 1983, Mulroney put together an unprecedented coalition of often fractious groups within the party, cruising to victory the following year. For the first time since Diefenbaker’s 1958 majority government, Mulroney brought Québec into the Conservative Party, winning 58 of the province’s 75 seats in the Commons. But rather than forming an enduring national base for his party, he succeeded only in stitching together a precarious patchwork that began to pull apart during his second term.

Read the entire article here.

09 April 2024

Calvin University visit

I have just returned from nearly a week at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I attended two back-to-back conferences. The first was the annual Kuyper Conference, which lasted from tuesday, 2 April to thursday, 4 April. The second was the biennial Henry Institute Symposium, which ran from thursday, 4 April to saturday, 6 April. The Kuyper Conference was devoted to "Stewardship in the Kingdom: Business, Academy, and Society." It began with a plenary session consisting of a live podcast discussion among James Eglinton, Gray Sutanto, Cory Brock, and Marinus de Jong. This was part of their Grace in Common podcast, on which I myself appeared last year. My involvement with this conference was minimal, extending to hearing plenaries and short papers.

19 March 2024

T&T Clark Handbook of Neo-Calvinism

A new anthology has just been published, titled, T&T Clark Handbook of Neo-Calvinism, edited by Nathaniel Gray Sutanto and Cory Brock. Published by T&T Clark, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, it includes essays by several scholars well known in the Neo-Calvinist tradition, including yours truly. I wrote chapter 33, titled, "Political Theology," pp. 415-425. The subheadings in my chapter are as follows: 

I. The Place of Politics in God's World
II. Every Square Inch
III. Sphere Sovereignty
IV. The Meaning of Public Justice: Constitutional Government and Federalism
V. Concrete Political Reforms

The hardbound volume sells for $249.75, the ebook for $199.80, although Amazon is selling the hardbound for $190 and the Kindle edition for $128.49. Sad to say, these high costs will limit its readership to a very few. (Even the authors do not receive a copy!) We can only hope that the publisher will eventually bring out a paperback edition at a substantially lower price.

In the meantime, I am pleased that IVP will be selling my next book for the eminently affordable cost of $18 US, which places it in the hands of readers of ordinary means.

18 March 2024

Citizenship Without Illusions now at IVP website

My next book, due out in November, has now been posted at the IVP website: Citizenship Without Illusions: A Christian Guide to Political Engagement. It can also be found at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and even Lehmanns in Germany. It is even being sold by Amazon Brazil, but I hope that it will soon be translated into Portuguese for the benefit of a wider readership in that country.

15 March 2024

March newsletter online

I have now posted my Global Scholars newsletter for March, which includes cover art for my forthcoming book, preparations for travels next month, and educational opportunities relevant to Brazil. Thank you for your support for my work!

04 March 2024

The midnight office

The March issue of Christian Courier carries my most recent column, The Midnight Office, continuing from last month's piece on daily prayer. An excerpt:

Last month I recounted my youthful discovery of the discipline of daily prayer, also known as the daily office. According to this pattern, whose origins almost certainly extend back to God’s people of the old covenant, the entire day is divided up into approximately three-hour intervals punctuated by the several prayer offices. The number varies between five and seven, and sometimes more.

However, one of these offices puzzled me, because it occurred in the middle of the night when I assumed most normal people would be sleeping. If we are sleeping an average of eight hours per night, wouldn’t rising to pray in the middle of this period be a huge disruption? Perhaps that’s why the daily office was relegated to the monks, who were accustomed to cultivating heroic disciplines for the sake of their Saviour.

More than ten years ago, I learned something that solved the puzzle.

Read the entire article here.

29 February 2024

The Heidelberg Catechism in the RCUS

More than four decades ago, I purchased a little-remembered but significant book at an antiquarian bookshop in or near South Bend, Indiana: The Heidelberg Catechism in its Newest Light, by the Rev. Prof. James I. Good, and published by the Publication and Sunday School Board of the [German] Reformed Church in the United States in 1914. Good taught at the denomination's Central Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. As I noted in a previous post about the Evangelical and Reformed Church, the RCUS eventually united with the Evangelical Synod in North America in 1934 and later with the Congregational and Christian Churches in 1957 to form the United Church of Christ. However, one group within the old RCUS remained outside the merged body in 1934 and retained the denominational name. Originally the Eureka Classis within the larger body, today it is simply called the Reformed Church in the United States, a highly confessional body holding to the Three Forms of Unity.

27 February 2024

Shaw on democracy

George Bernard Shaw 
The internet is filled with websites listing famous quotes by famous people, but few of them bother to provide the actual sources for these quotes. In some cases, the quotes are falsely attributed to their supposed authors, but because the world wide web is effectively a planetary-scale rumour mill, the connection between a particular author and a particular saying multiplies endlessly until everyone believes it.

A case in point is an observation widely attributed to the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950): "Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." Clever indeed and boasting more than a measure of truth. We might well include it in our standard undergraduate political science textbooks as an easily verifiable principle.

20 February 2024

Daily prayer

My latest contribution to Christian Courier is titled, Daily Prayer, subtitled, "Devotions as daily practice taken from ancient patterns." Here is an excerpt:

When I was in my early twenties, I visited the bookstore of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and purchased a copy of The Daily Office, edited by Herbert Lindemann and published by Concordia in 1965. A small volume, it nevertheless runs to nearly 700 pages and includes liturgies for morning and evening prayer organized according to the church calendar. This ancient practice, usually associated with monastic communities, was unfamiliar to me, but it transformed my prayer life.

Read the rest of the article here.

15 February 2024

February newsletter online

My Global Scholars newsletter for February has now been posted. Included is news about my forthcoming book, two recent podcast interviews, future opportunities in the US and Brazil, and a largely forgotten metrical psalter from the 16th century.

12 February 2024

Rhapsody in Blue

I don't usually write about music in this blog, but I cannot allow this significant anniversary to pass without comment. Exactly one-hundred years ago tonight, George Gershwin's classic piano and orchestral work, Rhapsody in Blue, premiered at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. The composer was all of 25 years old, and his audience included the likes of Sergei Rachmaninov, John Philip Sousa, Jascha Heifetz, Leopold Stokowski, and actress Gertrude Lawrence. The occasion was a concert by Paul Whiteman's orchestra, titled, "An Experiment in Modern Music." Whiteman had invited Gershwin to compose a piece for this event, and Gershwin thought he had declined the offer. But Whiteman went ahead and included him in the lineup anyway, inducing something of a panic in George when he learned about it only weeks in advance. Here's the rest of the story:

05 February 2024

The Christian Underground Podcast

At the weekend I was interviewed by Joseph Shehan for The Christian Underground Podcast, and the interview has now been posted. This is the description from the YouTube channel: "Does Political Ideology offer a false salvation? Can Christians fall prey to this form of idolatry? Our interview with Dr. David T. Koyzis, political philosopher, and author of Political Visions and Illusions, seeks answers [to] these questions and more."

Despite some technical glitches, we had a great conversation. I anticipate more such conversations with Shehan in the coming months, including after the publication of my next book.

01 February 2024

Citizenship Without Illusions: updated table of contents

Here is an updated table of contents for my new book, Citizenship Without Illusions: A Christian Guide to Political Engagement, forthcoming in November. The manuscript is currently with the copy editors at InterVarsity Press.


1    Introduction

Belonging: benefits and responsibilities
A Clash of Ideologies
Plan of the book

25 January 2024

Disarming Leviathan Podcast: part 2

Caleb Campbell has now posted the second part of his interview with me: The Political Visions & Illusions of Christian Nationalism (part 2). Campbell's book, Disarming Leviathan, is due out in July. I look forward to reading it.


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