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The chapters of this book offer informed perspectives on a "theology of the world," exploring the question How does/should the church relate to the secular world? The standard dogma of the 1960s was Let the world set the agenda! Such a perspective has often caused the American church merely to reflect, rather than to inform and lead, the society in which it lives. Surely, say the authors of this volume, it must be the other way around.
Using the biblical image of the earthly city and the heavenly city, Robert Benne, Carl E. Braaten, Robert W. Jenson, Gilbert Meilaender, Christopher R. Seitz, Anthony Ugolnik, George Weigel, and Robert L. Wilken discuss such subjects as natural law, politics, the academy, economics, and marriage. Each essay boldly asserts that the church's most faithful service in the world begins and ends with her life in the communion of the triune God. The first task of the church is to be true to her own self as the Body of Christ in the world. As such the church is a sign and agent of the heavenly city within and for the earthly city.