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ss triple helix - winter 2014,  Good news for the public square

Good news for the public square

A biblical framework for Christian engagement
Edited by Timothy Laurence
  • Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, 2014, £8.99, Pb 126pp, ISBN 9780950645438
  • Reviewed by Steven Fouch, CMF Head of Nursing

Christian political and social involvement has a long and rich history, but leaves many believers today confused. Some churches' teaching and some secularists' campaigning have left many Christians asking if we should engage with the public square at all, let alone why and how we should.

This theologically and philosophically dense but concise book seeks to give a broad framework to address these questions. Distilled from lectures organised by the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, it sets out the four sides of the public square as 'public authority', 'public truth', 'public good' and 'public hope'. In these four dimensions the divine mandate to governments and authorities are biblically explored, and the limitations of these mandates and the deeper reality of the gospel's implications for conduct of the church and individual Christians are made clear. The focus is Christ as King, the supreme authority under which all human and spiritual authority is delegated, and what this means for our own engagement with the public square.

This could come across as quite abstract, so there is an attempt to illustrate these concepts with historical examples. The book comes alive at these points, and could have done not only with more examples, but with more contemporary ones. Overall, this is a good starter for anyone wanting to think biblically and critically about public debate around contemporary issues.

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