Concisely critiquing the internal contradictions and practical limitations of the social contract theory espoused by John Locke and John Rawls, Timothy Beach-Verhey presents a covenantal theory for political life based on H. Richard Niebuhr's theology of radical monotheism. Beach-Verhey challenges sectarian interpretations of Niebuhr's theology and cogently demonstrates that a properly understood, theocentric, covenantal social theory can unite a diverse people in a shared polity. In so doing, he shows how such an understanding of both liberal democratic practices and Christian norms can provoke both the moral vision and the virtues that are required for robust, open, and engaged public life. Robust Liberalism makes a powerful contribution to contemporary discussion of American public discourse.
Timothy A. Beach-Verhey is Pastor of Faison Presbyterian Church in North Carolina. He previously served as Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation at Davidson College. He lives in Faison, North Carolina.
Introduction1. E Pluribus Unum: An Augustinian Conception of Faith, Pluralism, and Public Life2. Opening the Circle: Story, Community, and Reality in Moral Reasoning3. The Universal, the Particular, and Public Discourse: Beyond Secular Liberalism and Christian Traditionalism4. The Christian Churches and American Public Life: A Particular Community Directed Through Faith Toward the Universal5. Robust Liberalism: American Democracy and the Divine Commonwealth