The Intellectual in Canada Who Unmasked Political Idolatry in America

Bruce Ashford | March 24, 2017

Editors’ note: Taking the advice of C. S. Lewis, we want to help our readers “keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds,” which, as he argued, “can be done only by reading old books.” So to that end we continue our Rediscovering the Forgotten Classics series as we survey some forgotten and lesser-known Christian classics. Given the political upheaval in recent weeks and months, we asked Bruce Ashford to highlight an overlooked work of political theology that uniquely encourages and equips Christians today.

The 2016 election cycle put on full display the dysfunctional, vitriolic travesty that is American politics and public life. Any person with only the dimmest spark of critical reflectiveness can recognize the social, cultural, and political breakdown in our nation.

Of course, the more difficult task is to identify the causes of that breakdown and offer a way forward. For that task, the work of Canadian political scientist David Koyzis is especially helpful. In Political Visions and Illusions: A Survey and Christian Critique of Contemporary Ideologies (2003), he argues that the problem with modern politics isn’t found principally in political parties, disputes, candidates, or policy issues. Rather, it’s discovered in the deeper, more pervasive phenomenon of idolatry.

According to the Bible, idolatry is absolutizing…

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