Bruce Ashford chatted with Paul Ridgeway on Feb. 2, 2016 about his new book, One Nation Under God. You can listen to the interview above. Here are the highlights:
On what makes One Nation Under God different.
“Most politics books people read focus exclusively on individual issues: What should we think about abortion, same-sex marriage, race relations, immigration, just war, the economy, the constitution, and so forth. What we wanted to do is to ask a question that we think needs to be asked prior to that, which is what does the Bible say about the worth and value of political interaction? Should we do it, should we not? And if we do it, how should we do it? What should our approach be?”
On Christians needing to be engaged in politics.
“We live in a Democratic Republic, which is different from what the early church lived in, it’s a different situations that many Christians have lived in throughout history.
But in a democratic republic, part of submitting to authorities (Romans 13) is voting and actively speaking and having a voice on these political issues. So if we want to honor the Lord, if we want to honor the Constitution, and if we want to love our neighbor, we have to be involved politically.
What does ‘One nation under God’ mean?
“‘One nation under God’ is a theological fact and a moral aspiration. It’s a theological fact that our country (and as a matter of fact every country in the world) — every nation is a nation under God and under God’s lordship and his ultimate kingship.
But I think for many of us in America, for those of us who are evangelical Christians, it’s also a moral aspiration. We want our country to more consciously align with God’s will for a people. So it’s a fact he’s Lord over us, and it’s also an aspiration that we want to get ourselves in alignment with him and his will.”
On the separation of church and state.
“We would say that church and state should be separate, but religion and politics should not….
We don’t want the church as an institution controlling the government…. On the other hand, we want to avoid statism. That’s when the government steps out of its lane and wants to control the church. Government has no business telling a church who they can hire as a pastor, what we can believe, what preach, and they need to stay out of our affairs. The church needs to stay in its slim lane, and the government in its.”
On challenges to religious liberty
“We can’t separate our private and our public lives. We can’t just say ‘I’m going to believe something in my heart but contradict it in the way I live.’ Some of these mandates are an attempt to curb or restrict our ability to operate according to our own consciences.”
On people who are tired of culture wars
“We have laid aside a God-given calling when we as evangelical believers are not willing to represent the Lord Christ in public, and to speak public truth on public issues for the good of our neighbors and the good of our fellow citizens.”
On where the book falls on the political spectrum
“The gospel helps us transcend political partisanship.”