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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  395 ratings  ·  86 reviews
How can the church move forward in unity amid such political strife and cultural contention?

As Christians, we’ve felt pushed to the outskirts of national public life, yet even within our congregations we are divided about how to respond. Some want to strengthen the evangelical voting bloc. Others focus on social justice causes, and still others would abandon the public squ
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Thomas Nelson
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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
...more
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
Katie
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Across my lifetime, I have been pretty messed up by politics within the church. I've been in churches where the American flag is at the front and patriotic songs are sung during worship and sermons told me to vote Republican or else stand in God's judgment. I've gone to the exact opposite extreme in which I no longer salute the flag and feel like a little crazy anarchist when anyone would ask my political thoughts during the 2016 election. I live in a slight anxiety of condemnation from people w ...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
...more
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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Adrienne
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-me-in-2020
No way to give this book more than 5 stars? I am a Christ follower and read this book after being encouraged to by my church leadership and found it so helpful in creating in me a more Christ-centered lens through which to view my nation and politics. Though I do lean to one side of the aisle, my politics are not my true identity and this little book helped crystallize that even further for me. Interestingly enough I finished this book during our national Coronavirus events and it helped me gain ...more
Jeremy Mueller
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Leeman’s book, How the Nations Rage, asserts that the governments of this world are fundamentally raging against God’s divine order based on an examination of Psalm 2. Due to this reality, Leeman insightfully admonishes and encourages Christians to exercise “politics of a new creation by offering peace and mercy.” This book is especially relevant today as we consider the deep divide in our nation over politics. This impacts not just individuals but the church as well.
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...
...more
Matt
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I want all of my American brothers and sisters to read this book.
Matthew Rushing
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the best book I’ve read on Christians and politics. It’s a must read for any American believer.
Sam Knecht
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
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
...more
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.
Nate Weis
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Kind of a mixed bag. I would give it three and a half stars. Some really solid, biblical principles that didn’t lead to strong application. Leeman seemed very hesitant to take strong stances on particular issues and also put a little too much in the “Christian freedom” category.

All in all a solid book with good thoughts on engaging with the culture politically.
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
Colin Buchanan
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a timely, timeless book!

You might expect a Christian book on politics to seek to navigate the perfect path through partisanship, to unlock the secret way of conciliation into political perfection. Or perhaps a prophetic clear felling of all political persuasion, a theocratic vision of God-honouring government or biblically justified disengagement so God’s people can get on with the God stuff...

Of course, Jonathan Leeman does no such thing. The book is timely because Leeman’s pastoral radar
...more
Jonathan Franzone
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian, physical
There are some really good things in here, but in the end Leeman jumps on the "Racist!" bandwagon. Even in the midst of his discussion about that issue, there are some really good points, but I'm disappointed that the book leaves me feeling like his answer to "what's wrong with politics?" is racism.
Lauren DuPrez
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The conversation about faith and politics is often heated amongst Christians. As a pastor and resident of Washington D.C., author Jonathan Leeman is no stranger to this fact. His book, How the Nations Rage, is a primer of sorts to help Christians know how to engage in these conversations in a manner that honors God and is loving toward other individuals regardless of whether or not one agrees with their political ideologies or alliances.

The book derives its title from Psalm 2:1 which states, “Wh
...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
...more
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
...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

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Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
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“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.” 1 likes
“I remember bragging to one of my pastors, Thabiti, that I didn’t think of my good friend Christopher as black. Thabiti challenged me: “Huh, that’s interesting, because Christopher certainly experiences life as a black man in America. And you’ve never asked him about that? You must not be a very good friend.” Ouch. But yes, that makes sense.” 0 likes
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