Politics After Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Politics After Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World


David VanDrunen


Zondervan Academic (an imprint of Zondervan)

Publication Date:

April 21, 2020




400 pages


With American politics becoming very polarized and many sides claiming to be the sensible Christian option, it’s hard for believers to know which stance to take. Ultimately, many of these concerns boil down to how much can governments can really reflect Christian principles. Previous eras have sometimes assumed the church could merge religious and political authority (as in Christendom, the prevailing medieval government model). However, as David VanDrunen points out in this book, the Bible frequently describes Christians as citizens of two kingdoms and emphasizes that Christians will always be sojourners and exiles on this earth. In addition, many Christendom ideas are actually guidelines on how the church should operate and therefore don’t apply to secular governments. VanDrunen argues that Christians should look to the God’s covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:8-17 as the model for how governments should operate. He shows how the Noahic covenant is made between God and humanity in general (unlike later covenants) and therefore lays the groundwork for what power governments have. He then considers how the Noahic covenant’s ideas play out in the rest of the Bible and its connection to natural law. From there, he shows what Christians should expect from government based on the Noahic covenant. He finishes by considering what the Noahic covenant says about how governments should operate, including:

  • Religious liberty’s role in pluralistic societies
  • How much governments should dictate family and commerce policies
  • What it means for justice to be done and what rights people have
  • Whether local customs are ultimately closer to natural law than the official laws
  • What authorities can legitimately demand from people and when resistance is valid
  • How the classical forms of “liberalism” and “conservatism” apply to this topic

VanDrunen takes a complicated topic and moves through it very carefully, always using unemotional language to make his point. This naturally means the book is a bit dense, definitely a text for scholars rather than laymen. VanDrunen seems to realize this, since he begins each section with a few sentences summarizing what he’s about to explain. Once one gets used to this style and treatment, VanDrunen’s ideas turn out to be quite excellent. He makes a compelling case that although Christians will always desire a government that is more like the church, ultimately that’s not possible this side of eternity. Still, the Noahic covenant presents the promise of creating and sustaining common governments that still follow good standards. VanDrunen wisely backs this idea up by connecting it to natural law, a concept Protestant theologians haven’t explored much which helps explain how secular communities still have basic moral standards.

A wonderful exploration of what Christians can actually expect governments to accomplish.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Scholars interested in natural law theory and its connections to God’s covenant with Noah, as well as scholars seeking a discussion about what the Noahic covenant implies about governments’ reach and proper roles.

Christian Impact

This book will help readers take a sober-minded assessment of how much Christians can expect from governments, and what it means to be a citizen of two kingdoms (Philippians 3:20).

Politics after Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: