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How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  224 ratings  ·  54 reviews
How can we move forward amid such political strife and cultural contention?

 We live in a time of division. It shows up not just between political parties and ethnic groups and churches but also inside of them. As Christians, we’ve felt pushed to the outskirts of national public life, yet even then we are divided about how to respond. Some want to strengthen the evangelical
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Thomas Nelson
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4.26  · 
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 ·  224 ratings  ·  54 reviews


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Noel Adams
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lack of gospel precision has led us to equate co-belligerents in political causes with joint-heirs of the gospel. That idea has had serious consequences. Not everyone who is pro-life is a believer. Not everyone who voted for Hillary is an unbeliever. 'Co-belligerent' and 'Joint-heir' are NOT synonyms.

Finally, a book I can whole-heartedly recommend on how to engage. While Leeman doesn't explicitly make the co-belligerent vs. joint-heir argument, he does say this:
"But notice the stakes here: un
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Samuel Parkison
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A clear, balanced, flat-footed proposal. Consistently Christian in every way. If it were in the hands of every member of every evangelical church in America, nothing but good would come of it.
Joan
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had difficulty consistently comprehending this book. I began reading with great interest but soon became bogged down. The author's writing style just did not resonate with my logic encrusted brain. I found he was not concise and I sometimes lost track of what he was trying to communicate. For example, while writing about maintaining unity in the church when we differ on what the Bible says about an issue, he has us go off to think about the pastor's job description. (Loc 1437-1481/4319) Near t ...more
Russell Hawkins
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first half of this book was a bit slow for me as Leeman establishes his view of the political landscape in America as well as in our churches. Because of the slow start I thought I would rate this book a 3, but for me the second half was excellent and I would rate a 5, therefore the 4 ranking. Overall, I would highly recommend this book. While very different than what I thought it would be, Leeman does an excellent job elevating the discussion above individual political issues (while referen ...more
Ashley
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Up until recently I've preferred to avoid politics. The topic is intimidating - I feel overwhelmed by all that I don't know. How can I make informed decisions on economic policies without a degree? Also I spent a good chunk of my childhood overseas and came back with a much more global identity and an ignorance of all but the major events of the US political landscape.

I feel this tension between what we hope we can do in the world through government, while also conceding to the the reality that
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Kent
Exceeded my expectations; not the same-old, same-old. Explains, among other things, how we can separate church and state but not religion and politics, why the separation of church and state is rigged against formal religion, how politics starts in the church, how to discern which political issues the church should directly address, what the respective spheres of authority are for the government and the church, why the mission of the church isn't to transform the city or redeem the culture, and ...more
Andrea
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I would give this book 3.5. It's helpful in several areas, but I found it too basic and its arguments sometimes weak and contradictory.

A lot of the early material in the book is review for me, but is a great starting place for anyone as they think about how to interact with our culture politically. The author argues that we all worship a god, whether it's a god with a little "g" or a god with a big "G." Despite claims to the contrary, no one is neutral in their beliefs.

He goes on to argue that
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K.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Pretty abysmal. His practical suggestions are nothing new and basically amount to "treat people well, obey the law, and work for change where you can". His theoretical foundations, however, are incoherent an Antinomian. He is simultaneously Biblicist in that he relies entirely on out-of-context proof texts (he thinks Biblical political theology comes down to one whole verse) and dismisses vast swaths of Biblical political material as not usable by Christians (even though it is somehow all "relev ...more
Matt Galyon | readsandcoffee
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a helpful introduction to the intersection of Christian faith and politics. As the subtitle says, the main purpose of How the Nations Rage is to help the reader rethink faith and politics in our divided age. For the Christian, Leeman emphasizes who we are (identity in Christ) before what we do. I found this to be a helpful lens to view political engagement, as determining what we do before rightly seeing who we are oftentimes leads us astray. I'd highly recommend this to believers who a ...more
Gene
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Pastor Leeman's book is well written and well thought through. It is obvious that he understands both politics and religion deeply. His approach to the relationship between faith and the public square is well-balanced, so much so that the book isn't one of those books that overthrows the way one looks at the issues involved. Rather it nudges one toward principles we need to be reminded of in this politically polarized time.

The best point of the book is that where we really should be living out o
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Heidi Thompson
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First nonfiction I’ve ever given 5 stars on here. Not much of a nonfiction reader, I found this book easy to read and easy to understand. Enjoyed it very much and thought it was very helpful in guiding how Christians should view politics.
DeAron Washington
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book challenges our allegiances to political parties with the Gospel. It provides the reader with some gray areas to challenge their black and white thinking. It helps readers understand individual and structural racism. It was an enjoyable read.
Barry
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is a great deal of wisdom in this book.
Since I prefer reading to writing, I will offer the TGC review rather than writing my own:
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/re...
Matt
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I want all of my American brothers and sisters to read this book.
Sam Knecht
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Leeman’s book will help any person interested in politics (Christian or not) rethink the foundations of the public square. How the Nations Rage will also help the Christian disenchanted with politics to rethink their basic allegiances (nation, family, work, church, etc.).

Everyone pursuing certain political goals is serving their god or gods: the god of self-expression, the god of tradition, the God of the Bible, the god of privacy, etc. And the sooner we are honest about our foundational gods an
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Kent
Listened to this audio just after finishing reading the book. (See my review of this book under the hardcover edition.) Helped me grasp better some of the concepts.
Kelton Zacharias
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Top contender for book of the year.
Alex Rea
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Timely and pragmatic. Leeman doesn’t simply bemoan the current state of affairs but proposes a way forward, particularly one that is gospel-centered.
Clayton Keenon
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are some things that I would have organized or presented in a different way, and I know that in a book like this you are not going to agree with everything, but this is a far better place to start thinking about faith and politics than what most Christians are getting.
Alex Boyd
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this one, but I ended up just liking it. It was all over the place, and had a hard time focusing on one concept at a time. By the time I finished, I felt like I had a bunch of half finished puzzles that kind of made sense. Also, I was really hoping he’d present ways that Christians and non Christians can engage and get along with each other. I know there’s ample political division within the church, but if we only know how to get along with each other, what good does that ...more
Ryan Hawkins


I enjoyed the book and am thankful I wrote it, but I also wonder if it could’ve had so much more. In one sense, it was impressive and insightful to me. I haven’t thought this in depth about how politics and faith interact, and so his connections, arguments, and details were truly new and interesting. Yet in another sense, it seemed like he could’ve had so much more Scripture and so much more application. So I had a love-dislike relationship with the book at times.

That being said, I give it 4 sta
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Christine Wingate
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read! Leeman presents a sound, well-reasoned examination of how Christians can think about and participate in politics according to biblical principles. The chapters deal, respectively, with the role of the public square, the heart, the Bible, governments, churches, Christians, and justice.

I would recommend this to any Christian who is feeling confused and "politically homeless" in today's divisive climate, or who has taken a side but wants a Biblical framework for evaluating their
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Joel Mitchell
The author states that, “The primary goal of this book is not to help Christians make an impact in the public square. It is not to help the world be something. It is to help Christians and Churches be something” (p. 33).* Rather than pushing a partisan agenda, Leeman warns us to “…be leery of being too captivated by any political worldview. Your tight-gripped principles should come from Scripture, not ideology” (p. 157). He reminds Christians that our primary identity is who we are in Christ acc ...more
Brandon Wilkins
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book on Christians and politics. It is needed, as well, to lead to a re-think of how evangelicals relate to society and politics.

It seems like the 'returns' on 30 years of discipleship about politics are starting to come in, and the results are not encouraging. We need to return to first principle, and be willing to consider that we have been doing it wrong for decades.

Those are my words, not Leeman's. But Leeman does point to the reality of a bitterly divided country, and at
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E
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a sort of book for which it would probably be worth doing a page-by-page review. This is such a vital topic for Christians today to think about, and few have lead the way better than has Jonathan Leeman. It is better, and more important, than The Benedict Option, for instance. Leeman covers a lot of ground in only 250 pages. He discusses how there is no such thing as a "neutral" public square; everyone has God/gods/idols that they are seeking to serve in their public opinions, decisions, ...more
Zach Barnhart
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book comes at a crucial time not only for the broad culture we live in, but for the local church. Arguably more than ever for America, we are seeing how Presidents and parties and politics are affecting the religious psyche of churchgoers, and their feelings about one another as well. This is an insightful book that hopes to chart the course that follows Scripture's leading on our understanding of authority, cultural engagement, justice, peace, and so forth.

Leeman's book is a very American
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Jon Pentecost
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church, 2018, politics
Truthfully, I feel conflicted about this book. It is tremendously helpful in clearing the brush in the American landscape to help American Christians think more biblically about how to evaluate and hold to political ideas and allegiances.

But the first half of the book (most of the brush-clearing) is so American specific, it means there's just no way I could recommend this book to folks in my church (who are not American, and don't know much about American civil government or the current American
...more
Paul
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Here's the most important statement in this book: “Everyone is a theonomist.” (Who could have predicted at the beginning of this century that by now baptists, of all people, will begin to talk about theonomy?)
Jonathan Leeman left a career in the DC political world to become a pastor, and his goal in this book is “to make sure we are thinking rightly, acting rightly, loving rightly, even worshipping rightly in our political lives” (13).
The thesis of the book is that all politics is religious in n
...more
Todd Bryant
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I doubt anybody but the author will agree with every word of this book - that's how politics is, unless you're completely sold out to a party. But I'll give Leeman credit, he has chosen to trod where few have attempted to trod.

This truly is a fascinating read. Every American Christian (at least) needs to read this book. It will challenge Democrats and Republicans alike. There isn't a word in it that seeks to commit anybody to join a party or forsake a party. Our brother in Christ se
...more
Joshua Ray
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
When it seems that we as a nation are only getting more and more divided and more and more polarized, how do Christians engage in the political process? Do we withdraw completely, washing our hands of the nation and its direction? Do we dive in and play the game according to the rules and parties as they stand, buying into "our" side's cause and narratives without second thought?

Or is there another way?

Jonathan Leeman argues that there is a distinctive and uniquely Christian way to engage with
...more
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JONATHAN LEEMAN is the editorial director of 9Marks, which involves him in editing the 9Marks series of books as well as the 9Marks Journal. He has written a number of books on the church, including Reverberation, and he teaches theology at several seminaries. Jonathan lives with his wife and four daughters in a suburb of Washington, DC and serves as an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Wash ...more
“There is more political power in the gospel and in being the church than there is in electing a president, installing a Supreme Court justice, or even changing a constitution.” 0 likes
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