The Ways of Judgment, by Oliver O’Donovan. There is simply no political theologian alive more capable than Oliver O’Donovan. An extension of his earlier book, The Desire of Nations, O’Donovan examines God’s authority, the first political act (the act of judgment), how we should form representative political institutions, and the role of Christians in politics as those who are commanded by Jesus to “judge not.” The book is a bit academic, but quite literally a masterpiece.
- The Politics of Jesus, by John Howard Yoder. You may disagree with Yoder’s pacifism, but his logic is fierce. The Politics of Jesus has shaped countless leaders, and is well worth consideration for all Christians in public service.
- Ethics, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Ethics is his masterpiece, though never finished before being executed by the Nazis. Though a bit choppy – due to it being reconstructed after his death – Ethics is a classic treatment on faith, politics and public life. Bonhoeffer challenges all comfortable Christians to live out their deepest public commitments, no matter the cost.
- The Prophetic Imagination, by Walter Brueggemann. Want to understand politics? Read the prophets. They dealt with political challenges constantly. Brueggemann is a great OT scholar – and The Prophetic Imagination continues to speak truth into our culture today.
- Generous Justice, by Timothy Keller. A fantastic work by the sage of Manhattan on how the gospel influences our view of justice.
- The Rise of Christianity, by Rodney Stark. An amazing book of history and sociology that outlines how a small Jewish sect took over the Roman empire in 300 years. The political implications for today are challenging and profound.
- The Other Side of 1984, by Lesslie Newbigin. Though this book deals with politics only briefly, it gives a helpful philosophical background for understanding our modern-day political discourse.
- A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King Jr., by Martin Luther King Jr. Obviously a classic, and should be read by politicians of all persuasions, especially Christians.