In what follows I will first lay out some of the most important obstacles, the challenges they pose, their respective weaknesses, and some thoughts on opportunities they offer; then I will offer some thoughts on how best to bring Christianity into engagement with American foreign policy.
Some lament the fact that we live in such a violent world, but that’s precisely the point. Because we live in a violent world, governments must take steps to deter those who can be deterred—and neutralize those who cannot.
Reinhold Niebuhr exposed the assumptions of progressive Christianity and helped create the political theology of “Christian realism”, which sought a more biblical view of how the Christian citizen can live responsibly within a civilization in crisis.
Since my commissioning in 1988 as a United States Army Chaplain Candidate, the fundamental purpose of war has changed relatively little: war generally remains a contest of wills to achieve political ends between nation-states employing military force. However, war inherently seems different today, does it not? How so?
Protestants have called the good of peace and justice that governments supply “common grace.” Why? First, it’s common to all people regardless of race or creed or geography. Second, and more controversial, it is a grace. Yes, it is grace!!
Crouch’s book is a masterful and sorely needed correction regarding the nature and possibilities of power but it stops short precisely at that place where 21st-century American Christians are most perplexed with power: politics.