Book Review: Politics According to the Bible – by Wayne Grudem

As I read the early chapters of this book, I thought I would probably give it three stars in my review. The author, Wayne Grudem, writes well and his material is well-organized. He also supports his points with researched material, even if he does so in a totally one-sided manner. In the book’s early chapters, he uses a lot of Bible quotes in demonstrating that it’s good for Christians to be involved in politics. And he makes good use of the Bible in the areas where the Bible actually does lend strong support to the Republican stance on a given issue.

Unfortunately, the last two-thirds of the book has very little to do with the Bible. Grudem uses Romans 13:4’s quote that government “is a minister of God to you for good” as an excuse to argue the Republican stance on every issue under the sun. He covers everything from cap and trade to foreign policy, to activist judges, to gun control, to his desire to abolish public schools, to the money supply, to his claims that the media has a liberal bias. And he doesn’t just mention these things in passing, he argues the Republican view on them in great detail. I honestly cannot thing of a single political issue he failed to address. This book does nothing more than take advantage of Christians who were looking for biblical guidance in politics. Once Christians are lured into reading it, Grudem bombards then with the Republican stance on everything.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who reads the preface. In it, Grudem reveals how the book came to be: “Alan Sears and Ben Bull of the Alliance Defense Fund [an extreme right-wing litigation group] first approached me several years ago with the interesting idea of writing a book like this. They were able to provide helpful funding for some aspects of the research and editorial work…” In other words, the Republicans paid him to write this book!

Grudem gives away his Republican bias even more in the book’s disastrous economic section. He repeatedly quotes economists from the right-wing Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, but fails to look up the numbers for himself to see if they are deceiving. For example, he quotes the Heritage Foundation saying that the 2001 Bush tax cuts actually increased tax revenues in 2005, thus proving that tax cuts always pay for themselves. But anyone who examines Table 6, column 2, of the IRS Data Book can see that we lost over 100 billion dollars a year in tax revenues in 2002 and 2003, thus proving the Bush tax cuts added to our debt. The CBO calculated that they cost us 2.8 trillion dollars in tax revenue in the first ten years. Thus Grudem deceived his readers by relying on Republican research only.

Most appalling of all is Grudem’s repeated arguments to abolish the public school system and replace it a with a voucher system to fund private schools. What he fails to mention is that the reason our colleges are so expensive is that Pell Grants and student loans enable colleges to charge more, because they’d be stupid to pass up all of that free government money. Republicans argue against Pell Grants for this reason, but they fail to mention that Pell Grants are vouchers, where the government gives everyone money to spend where they want. A private school voucher system will make k-12 education unaffordable for most people. Plus, the logistics of driving and busing kids to schools when they are scattered all over the place also puts lower income Americans at a disadvantage and would be a huge headache.

There are many other points I could argue, but that would take too much of your time. My recommendation is that you not waste your time with this book. In the end, it’s just a political book that uses the Bible where convenient.