International relations are in constant turbulence. Globalisation, the rise and fall of superpowers, the fragilisation of the EU, trade wars, real wars, terrorism, persecution, new nationalism and identity politics, climate change, are just a few of the recent disturbing developments. How can international issues be understood and addressed from a Christian faith perspective? In this book answers are presented from various Christian traditions: Neo-calvinism, Catholic social teaching, critical theory and Christian realism. The volume offers fundamental theological and Christian philosophical perspectives on international relations and global challenges, case studies about inspiring Christian leaders such as Robert Schuman, Dag Hammarskjöld, Abraham Kuyper and prophetic critiques of supranational issues.
Simon Polinder MA (1983) studied history (BA), international relations (MA) and Christian philosophy (MA). He is senior researcher (‘associate lector’) Christian Profession at the Christian University of Applied Sciences Ede (CHE) and a Ph.D. candidate at the Vrije Universiteit on Religion and International Relations Theory.
Govert J. Buijs, PhD VU-Amsterdam (1964) studied political science, philosophy and theology and currently holds the Abraham Kuyper Chair for Political Philosophy & Religion at the Faculty of Humanities of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Next to this he holds the Goldschmeding Chair for Economics & Civil Society.
In these pages lies a landmark statement of the “Amsterdam School” of international relations thought, deftly developing the tradition of Reformed theology initiated by Abraham Kuyper and Herman Dooyeweerd. More widely, the volume contributes to Christian political thought an original vision of international order. Even more widely, it helps to restore the place of Christian theology to international relations theory, a tradition in which thinkers such as Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Wight once played an integral role but have long been eclipsed by the secular pursuit of scientific knowledge. International relations theorists, both Christian and secular, do well to investigate the consistently fascinating essays that Buijs and Polinder have assembled. — Daniel Philpott, Professor of Political Science,
University of Notre Dame.
This volume engages in a fresh and inspiring way with the ‘religious turn’ in international politics since the late twentieth century, and with the new attention for religion in international relations studies. The arguments in the sixteen contributions resonate the Christian realism of Augustine and R. Niebuhr or the neo-Calvinist ‘created order’-tradition of A. Kuyper and H. Dooyeweerd, but tread new grounds in discussion with historical and contemporary viewpoints. The authors evaluate the religious turn as necessary and reflect on the role of religion in the discipline and in international politics. They stress the multifaceted contribution of religions, from the prophetic voice to the realistic notion that the earth is not heaven. — George Harinck, Professor of Neocalvinism,
Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Notes on Contributors
Govert Buijs and Simon Polinder
Part 1: International Relations and Christianity: Assessing the State of the Debate
1 International Politics in an Era of Kaleidoscopic Change and Uncertainty
James W. Skillen
The Enduring Value of Christian Realism Eric Patterson
3 Reformational Insights for the Study of International Relations Jonathan Chaplin
4 Living Critically and Living Faithfully in the Global World of the Twenty-First Century Scott M. Thomas
Part 2: Fundamental Perspectives from Christian Philosophy and Theology
5 Common Grace as a Hermeneutical Approach to Globalization? Kuyper’s Teaching of Common Grace in Current Public Theological Reflection on Globalization Frederike van Oorschot
6 Solidarity, the Common Good and Social Justice in the Catholic Social Teaching within the Framework of Globalization Roman Gruijters
7 An End to Evil: An Eschatological Approach to Security Beatrice de Graaf
Part 3: Inspired Political Leaders
8 Abraham Kuyper among the Nations Robert Joustra
9 Robert Schuman’s Commitment to European Unification: The Inspiring Role of His Roman Catholic Faith Margriet Krijtenburg
10 The Quest for Maturity. Dag Hammarskjöld: International Civil Servant, Inner Person, Moral Leader Monica Bouman
Part 4: Applications of Insights of the ‘Amsterdam School of Christian Philosophy’ to International Relations
11 The Distinct Nature of the European Union Sander Luitwieler
12 Security Studies: Towards a Reformational Approach Lucas G. Freire
13 Revisiting Sphere Sovereignty to Interpret Restrictions on Religious Freedom Dennis P. Petri and Frans Veerman
Part 5: Prophetic Critique in an International Context
14 The Protestant Dimension of the Ethical Critique of Carbon Commodification Menno R. Kamminga
15 Churches and International Policy: The Case of the ‘War On Drugs’, a Call to Metanoia Katherine Irene Pettus
Part 6: Concluding Reflections
16 Christian-philosophical Reflection and Shalom-searching Wisdom Govert Buijs and Simon Polinder
All interested in the relationship between Christian faith, philosophy and international relations; topics such as European Union, terrorism, globalization, religious freedom; and inspiring Christian leaders such as Robert Schuman, Dag Hammarskjöld and Abraham Kuyper.