Craig's column from Cheltenham
"Theology must be political!!"
May God give us grace to find ways of remaining hopeful amidst the political challenges of our day and finding ways of nudging our cultures in the right direction.
Few of us will think about politics at O'Donovan's level. But whether and how we vote, whether and what papers we read, whether and what we agitate about to local and national representatives, what party we join or whether we remain unaffiliated - political involvement is inevitable and the only question is how we are political. The challenge for all of us is to allow the gospel to shape our thinking and actions in these areas.
This is a debate that Christians must be part of. In his awesome book on the ethics and theology of politics, Desire of the Nations, Oliver O'Donovan, Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University, writes that "Theology must be political if it is to be evangelical." He means by this that the gospel relates to all of life and politics cannot and must not be withdrawn from the Lordship of Christ. Christians need to think about and practice politics and the political aspects of our lives from a Christian perspective. O'Donovan's book is a tour de force in this respect.
I am delighted that this edition of the Big Picture is devoted to politics. We are heading in to the second democratic election in South Africa, and the lead up is not without its problems. At present I am reading F.W. de Klerk's recently published biography and it is good to be reminded again of the utterly remarkable route that South Africa has come from apartheid to democracy. Visiting Blackwell's bookshop in Oxford recently I was surprised to see how many new books have been published about South Africa, Mandela and democracy in Africa.
The Big Picture Volume 1, Lent 1999 p.5