Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Pastor Matt: five books Christians should read to understand politics and public policy

I agree with this list by Pastor Matt.

About Pastor Matt:

Hello, my name is Matt and I am a book addict (i.e., well read, sophisticated, sad and lonely here is evidence).  But I want my sickness to help you.  I have been a political junkie since 1992 when I was recruited by my then Congressman to work for him. I then ran several campaigns including helping a businessman win a seat in the U.S. House in 1994.  I spent two years working in the House during the Gingrich years of 1995-1997.  I then attended seminary and law school but have remained a political and public policy junkie.  During this week’s political dust-ups, I read a lot of statements from Christians that qualify as “bumper sticker” logic at best.  So, for those interested, here are five books every Christian leader should read if they want to truly understand politics and public policy.

The list:

  1.  A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
  2. The Heritage Guide to the Constitution by Ed Meese, Ed. (Regnery 2005)
  3. Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell (Basic Books 2010)
  4. Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem (Zondervan 2010)
  5. The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus (Crossway 2013)

I think it’s nice to see that pastor Wayne Grudem appears twice in the list. He has a PhD from Cambridge University and is the best theologian who writes books about economic and political issues. (Notice how I left room for Pastor Matt to be the best overall on economics and political issues!)

Here’s the detail on number three:

Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell (Basic Books 2010).  Most Christian leaders (and apparently most Americans) have a poor understanding of economics.  Most seem to believe wealth is fixed (it isn’t), incentives and effectiveness are secondary to fairness (they aren’t), etc. Sowell, a long time professor of economics who has taught at Cornell and UCLA, has penned a long but very reader friendly work that you should take chapter-by-chapter.

On this blog, I feature Thomas Sowell a lot. The good thing about him is that even if you can’t buy his book, you can read lots of his current events stuff for free. In fact, he wrote a great column recently explaining the government shutdown that I think everyone should read. You can also get great sermons on politics and public policy from Wayne Grudem’s “Essentials” class.

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2 Responses

  1. Good to know. Sat in on my “son’s” eco class Thursday night. A lot of talk about “corrupt” political practices in Washington. However, as I have said before, everyone practices political coercion. The only difference between what Joe down the block does and Jack Abramoff did is a question of scale. Usually, the one with promising the greatest personal financial return wins. You’d think that would mean that a threat to end someone’s political career would hold the most sway. That is true, unless the public official can be offered so much in perks and lucrative post-office jobs that he no longer fears the wrath of his constituents. This is modern Washington. Even if Mr’ Smith were to go there today, he would find himself having to choose between working for someone in office or having his re-election defunded and being out after one term. Then he’d start rationalizing that at least if he stayed and only made a few small compromises he would still be better than most.
    In the end, then, we, the people, who fall for slick ads and fail to research and select the best candidate over the best funded one are the cause of bad government as much as the deep pockets bribers.

  2. WorldGoneCrazy says:

    I learned about number 4 here on WK’s site. It is an excellent read and a strong source for apologetics work. Highly recommended.

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