Sunday, June 18, 2006


The long-awaited third book in the 'After-Christendom' series from Paternoster Press is about to be published, and is already receiving vigorous commendations from academics, politicians, journalists and religious leaders. Love it or loathe it (and people will do both), it raises some key issues.

Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy by Ekklesia's co-director (and my good friend and colleague) Jonathan Bartley comes out later this month, and is launched at a conference in Birmingham on July 2006. Addressing diverse issues from blasphemy to religious violence, the Iraq invasion, church schools and the establishment of the Church of England, it invites a realistic and hopeful response to challenges and opportunities awaiting the church in twenty-first century politics.

In particular, the book suggests that where it has previously defended the social order, the church now has a brand new opportunity to exercise its prophetic role, challenging injustice, shaking institutions and undermining some of the central values and norms on which society is built.

"With his background as a former political adviser at Westminster and now director of the Ekklesia thinktank, Jonathan Bartley, one of the smartest young evangelicals around, offers compelling insights and suggestions, based on deep thought and clear-headed research." - Stephen Bates, Religious Affairs Correspondent, The Guardian

That 'evangelical' label is interesting. Ekklesia is also accused of being 'liberal'. It prefers to try to change the terms of the debate and be radical - in the seense of being rooted in order to venture towards the frontiers.

"At a time when the whole relationship between faith, government and public policy is undergoing a historic change in every part of the world, Jonathan Bartley has made a highly intelligent contribution to a debate which citizens of all creeds, and of none, ought to be following" - Bruce Clark, The Economist

"In a ‘post Christian age’, Jonathan Bartley questions the role of institutions both political and ecclesial. He bids us consider what it is to live in a multi cultural , even secular society, where Christianity is stripped of its traditional protections of both establishment and its attendant political authority. This is not so much a book of answers but of pertinent questions. It deserves a wide reading." - Rt Rev Peter Price, Anglican Bishop of Bath and Wells

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