Book review: “Limits of Liberal Democracy: Religion and Politics at the End of Modernity,” Scott Moore, IVPress, 2009. -Part 2

Please be sure to read part 1 before continuing with this post, which is just the second half of an overly extended essay.

Having made this awesome and bold claim about Jesus Christ, John says in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” to make his point of the importance of hospitality, Moore needs to exposit this idea far more carefully, rather than using it as little more than an illustration of hospitality, a reaching out to dwell where people really are (John had used a picturesque word meaning “spread his tent among us.”)

So ultimately, while liking the book and the direction Moore is moving, I end my reading dissatisfied because Moore neither develops his idea of hospitality nor gives it the firm theological footing it desreves and needs.

My own view is compatible with Moore’s. Conservatism wants to hold on to what worked well in the past, though it is pretty irrelevant now because we simply no longer live in the simple ante-bellum world. Liberalism wants to plunge ahead into a future which they only dream can be controlled. It is a world based on wishes for the future just as Conservatism is a wish for the past. Neither side is well grounded in reality.

What is the reality that is neglected by both left and right? The human heart and therefore, because of the nature of humanity, the heart of our Creator. I do not mean that all America needs is for everyone to be Christian. What I do mean is that our nation was birthed into the cradle of Christianity. Most of our brightest men after Jonathan Edwards (an extremely bright early 18th century figure) had little use for the church but did believe the overarching structure of the Christian faith.

All the Founding Fathers seemed to hold three convictions in common: The world and its people have been created by a living Creator; that Creator remains attentive to and sovereign over human affairs (They tended to use the word Providence to express this); and there awaits us each and all a day of judgment before that Creator, the righteous Judge of the Universe. I do not argue that these convictions made them Christians or that they founded a Christian nation.The argument over whether America is or ever has been a Christian nation is not worth a moment’s breath, since the answer depends on nothing more than what one might mean by the phrase “Christian nation,” an idea not to be found in Scripture.

And I am fully pleased with Moore’s suggestion that the answer to the chaos of our day lies in a new kind of politic, one not dependent upon statecraft so much as the broader means of a people establishing social cohesion marked by freedom and justice. Whether hospitality is able to bear the weight Moore gives it is an open question. . .needing that second volume from Moore!


About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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