AW: Can you describe the way in which your Christian worldview has informed your political worldview?

MT: My Christian worldview is that humanity is by nature totally depraved and completely dependent on God’s grace.  Political arrangements that ignore this realty inevitably result in disastrous human suffering.  The American/British model of limited, divided government has been successful, to the extent any human system has been, because its architects understood, with James Madison, that men are not angels.

AW: Where in culture are Christians not having any effect? Positive effect?

MT: Well, I’m told there are Christians involved in the entertainment industry, but it’s hard to discern their influence!  Recently I was ill and stayed home from work watching lots of television and was really surprised how trashy mainstream network television is even during the early evening time once called the “family hour.”  It’s hard to see how children can watch network television any more, or most movies.  The themes are not just off color, they’re often nihilistic.

AW: As a Christian, why not Marx?

MT: Karl Marx assumed humanity can be perfected, through human effort.  Essentially Marxism is self-deification and its consequences have been catalysmic.  It’s still shocking that so many Christians were at some point during the 20th century blind to its evils.

AW: As a Christian, why the Free-Market?

MT: Paraphrasing Michael Novak, the free market allows God to laugh at the Devil by turning human acquisitiveness into a force for productivity, service, and improvement for whole societies.  The free market also facilitates industriousness and creativity, allowing each person to pursue his or her own vocation uniquely.

AW: Why does a belief in limited government fare better with Christian belief?

MT: Limited government is premised on the understanding of a transcendent Authority higher than the state.  And that Higher Authority has ordained other human institutions such as the family, the church, private business and philanthropy, that vitally restrict the state’s proper responsibilities.

AW: Does Christianity speak to the ever-present threat of tyranny?

MT: Very much so.  Tyrants are attempting displace God with their own despotic authority.  Loyalty to God as Creator, Judge and Savior precludes absolute submission to any temporal power.

AW: Where are the most latent forms of tyranny in our political culture/system according to your observation?

MT: Much of the drive to impose same-sex “marriage” seems almost totalitarian in its zeal for suppressing all dissent and enthroning one overpowering political correctness.  But nearly all the impulses for Big Government represent, however subtly, a remorseless drive to displace liberty with conformity to centralized power.  God’s original design for the Hebrews was not for a temporal king, and the lesson for us should be instructive!

AW: As an evangelical, where exactly do you see evangelicalism falling on the political and conservative landscape?

MT: The latest elections results show that evangelicals remain overwhelmingly conservative, to the great consternation of the much-striving Evangelical Left.  So far, the Evangelical Left seems mostly confined to the elites of academia and some of the missions and parachurch groups.  But we should remember that the Left’s early 20th century take-over of Mainline Protestantism never commanded majorities of the lay membership.  It was always a movement of the elites, primarily the academics and their clergy followers.

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Posted by Andrew Walker

Andrew T. Walker is an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


  1. I’d really like to see more of these answers unpacked and detailed. I am cautiously conservative in that I don’t want to hold political views as tight as what I think the Bible does speak clearly about…and I don’t think that the Bible speaks much at all on political and economic issues. The Mosaic covenant provides an example from a cultural and historical context distant form our own, but still ultimately based on the character of God and timeless truths. I am cautious about conservative values because many of the things we value such as limited and divided government, free markets, etc. seem to be products on the enlightement (which doesn’t automaticlaly make them bad). If these things are THE way Christians should do government why do they come along so late in history?


    1. Matthew Lee Anderson March 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      @Casey, I agree with you about wanting more detail. Sometimes the answers only raise more questions. : )


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