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Political Visions & Illusions


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Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Ideology, Religion and Idolatry
Politics and Ideas
History and Definitions
Ideology in Christian Perspective
Preconditions for the Rise of Ideologies
Ideology as Religious: Toward a Definition
The Classification of Ideologies: Left and Right
Discerning the Spirits in the Ideologies

2. Liberalism: The Sovereignty of the Individual
The Meanings of Liberalism
The Liberal Creed
Late Liberalism and the Expansion of the State
The Right and the Good: Subsidizing Choices
The Spiritually Vacant State: The Privatization of Ultimate Belief
Sin and Salvation in Liberalism

3. Conservatism: History as Source of Norms
Babies and Bathwater: The Conservative Creed
The Grass Is Greener on Our Side
Which Traditions and When?
Conservatism and Christianity
Conservatism and the State

4. Nationalism: The Nation Deified
A Creed for a Century
Civic and Ethnic Nationalisms: State Versus Tribe
The Nationalist View of the State
Patriotic Loyalty: A Modest Devotion
Christians and Nationalism

5. Democracy: Vox Populi Vox Dei
Structure and Creed
From Liberalism to Democracy
The Majoritarian and Totalitarian Temptations
Democratization Without Limits
Creed and Structure Revisited: Direct Versus Representative Democracy
Representation: Followership or Leadership?
Democracy and Justice: A Final Assessment

6. Socialism: Common Ownership as Salvific
A World of Socialisms
A Transformative Vision
From Democracy to Socialism
Common Ownership and Socialist Ideology
Means and Ends: Equality and How to Get There
The Marxian Vision and Marxism
Fair Distribution of Economic Resources

7. Transcending the Ideologies: Affirming Societal Pluriformity
A Biblical Christian Response
A Christian Worldview: Creation, Fall and Redemption
Creation Order: Misconceptions Dispelled
Discerning the Spirits: Pluralisms and Pluriformity

8. Toward a Nonideological Alternative: Two Historic Christian Approaches
The Role of Catholic Social Teachings
The Principle of Subsidiarity: Affirming Civil Society
The Reformation: Calvin and Althusius
Developments in the Netherlands: Groen and Kuyper
Sovereignty in Its Own Sphere: A Nonhierarchical Affirmation of Civil Society
Dooyeweerd's Contribution

9. The State and Its Task: Doing Justice in God's World
Justice and Differentiated Responsibility
Justice and the State

Epilogue: Toward the Future

Selected Bibliography


About the Author

Koyzis (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) is professor of political science at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario.


"David Koyzis not only helps us to see the basic worldviews that give shape to a variety of political perspectives, he also makes a solid case for a uniquely Christian perspective on these matters. This excellent book is a much-needed 'discerning' tool for understanding the basic issues of political life."--Richard J. Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Political nostrums fly thick and fast in contemporary life--from print, radio, TV, pulpits and (perhaps most of all) casual conversation. David Koyzis's welcome effort uses wise biblical reasoning as well as the hard-won experience of Dutch Calvinists to winnow through the modern world's blizzard of competing politcal claims. Koyzis's analysis is both an effective survey of the world's contemporary political options and an encouraging Christian word on how to discern the critical differences. This book's combination of readable theory and wise Christian thinking is a first-order contribution to Christian political thought in its own right."--Mark A. Noll, McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College
"David Koyzis has produced a truly original book illuminating the landscape of modern political ideologies. His approach is distinctively Christian, giving him a standpoint from which to cririque liberal as well as totalitarian ideologies. Moreover, the book is up to date with the post-Cold War world. This is the place to start for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of ideological conflict in the world today."--James W. Skillen, President, Center for Public Justice
"Thankfully it is now common for Christians to believe that the gospel should shape our view not only of the goals but also of the nature of our politics, and that the theme of idolatry is key to understanding not only our personal but also our political life. But until David Koyzis's Political Visions and Illusions, this understanding has remained largely vague, tentative and intuitive. This book shows clearly and in detail how biblical insight into idolatry and ideology illuminate the most concrete dimensions of political life in a way rarely grasped by more secular political scientists."--Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Washington, D.C.

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