The proceedings of our 2014 Convivium Irenicum were originally published in November 2014, now updated in this fresh new edition available now. The doctrine of creation concerns our beginning, but also our destiny, since the world to come is the new creation. But Christians have long debated: how much does the first creation have in common with the last? And what does this mean for Christians, who live even now with a foot in both? Our answer to these questions conditions our answer to many others: the relationship of philosophy to theology, of the church to the saeculum, of the kingdom of Christ to the visible church. This volume brings together the careful investigations of established and emerging historians and theologians, exploring how these questions have been addressed at different points in Christian history, and what they mean for us today.
The volume contains some excellent and even ground-breaking contributions to issues as diverse as the relation of Christianity and pagan culture in antiquity (E.J. Hutchinson), John Calvin’s two-kingdoms theology (Matthew Tuininga), and contemporary Reformed debates over presuppositionalism (Laurence O’Donnell) and the two kingdoms (Benjamin Miller). The volume is headlined by two fine essays on Abraham Kuyper’s politics from Prof. James Bratt, perhaps the leading expert on the subject currently writing in English. Anyone interested in contemporary debates over the relationship of philosophy to theology, of the church to the saeculum, or of the kingdom of Christ to the visible church, will want to peruse the essays in this volume, ably introduced by Peter Escalante.
“For the Healing of the Nations contains excellent scholarship and persuasive reasoning on issues confronting the Christian community. I’m particularly pleased that the authors seek to avoid encouraging factionalism. I hope that this volume attracts many readers and sound practical applications in church and society, for the glory of Jesus throughout the world.”
—Prof. John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“The initial publishing foray of The Davenant Institute is a great one. . . . The published versions of the conference papers are uniformly excellent. Each demonstrates a deep scholarly familiarity with its subject matter and an even deeper concern to address topics relevant to a wide sweep of neo-Calvinist thought in America. While every reader will not be equally interested in each essay, collectively the essays are important to anyone who takes seriously the effects of thinkers such as Dutchmen Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck as well as Americans who followed in their tradition including Cornelius Van Til and Rousas Rushdoony.”
—Prof. C. Scott Pryor, Professor of Law at Regent University
“Abraham Kuyper’s neo-Calvinism, with its communitarian and pluralist vision for social existence, served as a clarion call to cultural and political involvement by conservative Christians in twentieth century Europe and America. These essays demonstrate both the complexity and the continued vitality of this tradition as Christians today wrestle with the possibilities and limits of social transformation.”
—William B. Evans, Younts Professor of Bible and Religion, Erskine College
There are few areas where the church today falls so far short of our Protestant forefathers as the field of political thought.
For the Reformers, their 17th-century successors, and indeed thoughtful Protestants right up through the last century, the vocations of minister and magistrate may have been strictly separate, but the accomplished theologian was usually a master of jurisprudence and political philosophy as well. Many wrote classic treatments in both the fields of theology and law, with a keen sense of both the distinctions of these disciplines and their unity. Today’s Protestants are rarely so fortunate, with most evangelical engagements with political theology betraying a painful naiveté and a profound historical myopia.
Together, the essays in this volume challenge us to recognize the breadth and depth of our heritage of Protestant political wisdom, and the complexity and contingency of civic life to which its principles must be artfully applied, which rules out any attempt to inscribe any particular instance of Christian politics as a model for all time. May they also provoke renewed reflection on how to faithfully apply our Protestant principles to the challenges facing our polities today.