Episode 84 | Scripture and the Public Square

Scripture and the Public Square

The language of the Bible has often been invoked in American political discourse through the centuries. Quoted by suffragists and secessionists, invoked in arguments for (and against) American independence, the Civil War, and cited by virtually every President across parties.

So how should we discern a faithful application of scripture in public life from instrumentalizing the Bible for political purposes? What can we learn from America’s history of using the Bible in politics?

Theologian, speaker and author Kaitlyn Schiess helps us think more carefully and clearly about our history and these challenging questions on our latest podcast:

When I look throughout history and when I look at other communities of Christians throughout even our own history in our own country, I see instances, especially of people that are not the main focus of most of the church history textbooks that I read in seminary, who were faithful, who interpreted scripture well, who acted well in history.

And that’s been really surprisingly hopeful to me, I know now to go to other Christians in other times and places around the world too, and see instances of faithfulness. 

As our election cycle continues to twist and turn toward the ballot box in November, we hope this conversation will provoke new ways of thinking about scripture and its faithful application for the common good.

This podcast is an edited version of an online conversation recorded in 2023. Watch the full video of the conversation here, and learn more about Kaitlyn Schiess here.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:
The Ballot and the Bible, Kaitlyn Schiess
Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of Our Neighbor, by Kaitlyn Schiess
John Winthrop

Related Trinity Forum Readings:
City of God, by Augustine
The Federalist Papers
Who Stands Fast, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Children of Light and The Children of Darkness, by Reinhold Niebuhr 

Related Conversations:
A New Year With The Word with Malcolm Guite
Music, Creativity & Justice with Ruth Naomi Floyd
Pursuing Humility with Richard Foster and Brenda Quinn
Reading as a Spiritual Practice with Jessica Hooten Wilson
Walking as a Spiritual Practice with Mark Buchanan
Making as a Spiritual Practice with Makoto Fujimura
Connecting Spiritual Formation & Public Life with Michael Wear
The Kingdom, the Power & The Glory with Tim Alberta
A Life Worth Living with Miroslav Volf
Towards a Better Christian Politics
Christian Pluralism: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference
What Really Matters with Charlie Peacock and Andi Ashworth

To listen to this or any of our episodes in full, visit ttf.org/podcast and to join the Trinity Forum Society and help make content like this possible, join the Trinity Forum Society

Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork.