Resources for a Christian worldview

James W. Skillen pages


James W. Skillen is the former president of the Center for Public Justice and is author of numerous books on politics.

He received his B.A. from Wheaton College in philosophy and a B.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary. After graduate study in philosophy at the Free University of Amsterdam, he completed his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, both in Political Science. He is married to Doreen, the Center of Public Justice's administrator. They have two children. 

An interview by Bruce Wearne with Jim Skillen is available here

An intereview regarding his book The Good of Politics is here

An interview on his God's Sabbath with Creation is here

On the April 2016 Providence Podcast he speaks about what it means for Christians to place themselves in the Biblical story as they engage civic justice  

God's Sabbath with Creation: Vocations Fulfilled, the Glory Unveiled

Wipf and Stock, 2019

The biblical story is about more than sin and salvation. It is about the creator’s purposes and the fulfillment of those purposes in the climactic revelation of God’s glory in Sabbath with creation.

Christ Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the one through whom all things are created and all things are fulfilled. We are creatures made in God’s image, called to develop and govern the earth in service to God. The exercise of human responsibility in this age plays a major part in the revelation of God’s glory. Every vocation matters for creation’s seventh-day fulfillment: family, friendships, worship, civic responsibility, and our work in every sphere of life.

The Son of God became one with us. He died for sinners while they still rebelled, and he was raised to life as the last Adam—the life-giving Spirit of the age to come. Christ is reconciling all things to God, including all that belongs to the responsibility of God’s sixth-day royal priesthood. That is why God’s promise in Christ is that those who die in the Lord will rest from their labors and their deeds will follow them. 

The Good of Politics: A Biblical, historical and contemporary Introduction

Baker Academic, 2014



Part 1: The Biblical Drama

1. God's Kingdom Coming

2. The Revealing Image

3. Citizenship in the Kingdom

Part 2: Key Historical Developments

4. Constantine, Augustine, and the Fraught Future of "Christian"


5. From Augustine to the Splintering of Christendom

6. Nations, States, and Protestant Reformers

7. From the Reformation to Contemporary Engagement

Part 3: Engaging Politics Today

8. Viewpoint as Standpoint: Where Do We Begin?

9. Engagement for What Kind of Political Community?

10. Citizenship as Vocation

11. Family, Marriage, and Education

12. Economics and the Environment

13. Politics in One World


Selection of books, articles and essays

Bruce Wearne's 2021 update to his Skillen bibliography
Public Justice For All  is here.

Biblical Studies

"Civic responsibility for Christians" New Horizons October 1994 3-4 (228).

 Covenant to Keep - Meditations on the Biblical Theme of Justice Grand Rapids, CRC Publications, Center for Public Justice. 2000 (285)

"Reading the Bible in Public" Comment, March 3, 2006 (335)

"Imaging God in Caring for Creation" in Logos Bulletin (Surabaya, Indonesia) 2011 (432).

"The Seven Days of Creation" Calvin Theological Journal, April, 46:1, 111-139, 2011 (433)

Calvinism, neo-Calvinism, Reformation

with Stanley Carlson-Thies, "Religion and Political Development in Nineteenth-Century Holland" Publius, Summer 1982 43-64, (73)

"From Covenant of Grace to Equitable Public Pluralism: The Dutch Calvinist Contribution" Calvin Theological Journal 31 67-96 (1996) (245)

"Reformed … and Always Reforming?" in Sandra F Joireman (ed) Church, State and Citizen - Christian Approaches to Political Engagement Oxford Univ Press 2009. (337, 405).

"Semper Reformanda in All of Life" Pro Rege September 2010, 16-25 (420).

Christian politics, parties and organisation, civic education

Christians Organizing for Political Service: A Study Guide Based on the Work of the Association for Public Justice Washington: DC, APJ Education Fund 1980 (57)

"The Gift of Administration" Christian Legal Society Quarterly 9:3 Fall 1988, 26 (156)

“Politics for Government, or Politics for Politics?” Prism Sept/Oct 1994, 16-20 (233)

"When Citizens Can't Agree" Christian Legal Society Quarterly Winter 1994, 18 (234)

“Christian Politics in the 21st Century” published in a booklet with responses and Korean translation Seoul, Korea, May 19. 1998 (274)

"Educating Christian Citizens: Where Do You Start" in Logos Bulletin (Surabaya, Indonesia). 2010 (431 & 329 [2004-5])

Christian social-political thought

"Augustine and Contemporary Evangelical Social Thought" The Reformed JournalJanuary 1979, 19-24 (40).

Chapter 5 "Public Justice and True Tolerance", 54-62 in Confessing Christ and Doing Politics APJ Education Fund (No 42, 69 and 143)

"Pluralism as a Matter of Principle" in Richard Madsen and Tracy B Strong eds The Many and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World Princeton, Princeton University Press, 257-268. 2003 (319).

“The Revelatory and Anticipatory Character of Politics" CPJ Background Paper #95:5 1995 (239, 279)

Christian world-view

"Politics and Eschatology: Political Action and the Coming of God's Kingdom"AACS Conference paper 1978 republished as "Christian Action and the Coming of God's Kingdom", in Confessing Christ and Doing Politics 1982, 88-103 (36 & 69)

"Step into My Office" Christian Legal Society Quarterly 9:2 Summer 1988, 29 (154)

"Don't Just Do Something; Sit There!" Christian Legal Society Quarterly 7:3 Fall 1986, 31-32 (122)

"The Mandate for Justice" Christian Legal Society Quarterly 8:4 Fall 1987, 31 (137)


“Democracy and Social Reform” - Chinese translation in B Fulton and C Yau (eds)Faith and Freedom - Christian Contributions to the Development of Modern Democracy Pasadena, China Ministries International, 56-66 1990 (177)

“Toward a Contemporary Christian Democratic Politics in the United States” in J Witte ed Christian and Democracy in Global Context Boulder, Westview 1993, 85-99. (219)

 "Political Parties" in Encyclopedia of Christianity Vol.4 Eerdmans 2006, 76-7 (336)

"Christian Democracy"—an Oxymoron? Root and Branch 9, November 19, 2007 (372)

US Politics and International Affairs

"Don't Just Do Something; Sit There!" Christian Legal Society Quarterly 7:3 Fall 1986, 31-32 (122)

The Scattered Voice: Christians at Odds in the Public Square * Grand Rapids, Zondervan 1990 (190)

"Is there a place for 'Christian Politics' in America?" May 8th 1997 (450)

In Pursuit of Justice: Christian-Democratic Explorations Lanham Rowman and Littlefield 2004 (328)

Kuyper Lecture 2000 "American Statecraft: A New Art for the 21st Century" 2000 (291)

"American Statecraft, the United Nations, and Iraq" Pro Rege March 2003, 1-12 (320)

With or Against the World: America's Role Among the Nations Lanham Rowman and Littlefield 2005 (331). Excerpt Chapter 2 Forgotten Depths" here and Chapter 10 "What Role Among the Nations?" here

Education, schooling

Disestablishment a Second Time (with Rockne McCarthy and William Harper) Christian University Press and Eerdmans 1982 (76)

"Justice for Education" Christian Legal Society Quarterly 8:2, Spring 1987, 31 (129)

"Thomas Jefferson and the Religious Character of Education" Religion and Public Education 14:4 Fall 1987, 381-385. (138)

“Religion and Education Policy: Where Do We Go From Here?” The Journal of Law and Politics 6:3 Spring 1990, 503-529 (187)

“Parental Freedom of Education Choice” in William B Ball, ed., In Search of a National Morality: A Manifesto for Evangelicals and Catholics Grand Rapids, Baker, 172-181 (215)


 (with Stanley Carlson-Thies) A New Vision for Welfare Reform: An Essay in DraftWashington, Center for Public Justice 1994 (225). This is contained as appendix to 244 (see below No. 41 this list). See web-site of Center for Public Justice for details.

 “The Question of Being Human in Assessing the Requirements of Welfare Policy Reform“ pp. 119-144 in J W Skillen and S W Carlson-Thies (eds) Welfare in America: Christian Perspectives on a Policy in Crisis Grand Rapids, Eerdmans 1996 (244). For details see web-site of Center for Public Justice

"Christian Counselling in the Public Square: Principled Pluralism for the Common Good" Edification: Journal of the Society for Christian Psychology Vol. 3, Issue 2, 2009 pp. 5-38 (413)

 "Civil Society and Human Development" in Roland Hoksbergen and Lowell Ewert eds Local Ownership, Global Change: Will Civil Society Save the World? World Vision/MARC 2002, 183-202. This essay subsequently Chapter Two in In Pursuit of Justice - Christian Democratic Explorations 2004, 19-40 (see No. 31 above) (328).

Religion and Politics

"Religion and Politics" Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World.  Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove 2002, 103-106 (309)

"Islam and the USA: Contrasting Visions of the End of History" in Michael W Goheen and Erin G Glanville eds The Gospel and Globalization: Exploring the Roots of a Globalized World Vancouver, Regent College Press 2009, 217-230. (410)

"Three Zionisms in the Shaping of American Foreign Policy" in J Chaplin with R Joustra (eds) God and Global Order - the Power of Religion in American Foreign Policy Waco, Baylor University Press 2010. Chapter 4, 87-109. (416)

"Shari'a and Pluralism" in Rex Ahdar and Nicholas Aroney Shari'a in the West Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010, 91-102. (417)

International relations and globalization

International Politics and the Demand for Global Justice Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt College Press 1981 (67). An early form of Chapter 4 "Unity and diversity among states" and Chapter 5 "Three Contemporary Views of International Unity and Diversity" found here.

"The Expansion of Our Shrinking Globe" Christian Legal Society Quarterly,Summer 1991 4-6 (205)

"Politics on One World" Philosophia Reformata 66, 117-131 2001 (304)

 "To Look at the World Entirely Afresh" (Editor's Introduction) and "Contending Ways of Life" (Conclusion) in Prospects and Ambiguities of Globalization: Critical Assessments at a Time of Growing Turmoil Lexington Books, Lanham 2009, 1-8, 107-123 (406).

Political science, political theory

 "Toward a Comprehensive Science of Politics" in J Chaplin and P Marshall (eds) Political Theory and Christian Vision: Essays in Memory of Bernard Zylstra Lanham, University Press of America 1994, 57-80 (229 & 153 [see Philosophia Reformata1988]).

 "Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea: Herman Dooyeweerd's Political and legal Thought" The Political Science Reviewer XXXII 2003,318-380. Revised version in "The Pluralist Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd" in Jeanne Heffernan Schindler (ed) ­Christianity and Civil Society: Catholic and Neo-Calvinist PerspectivesLexington Books, Lanham 2008,97-114 (323 & 379) (Download copy available fromIntercollegiate Review publisher of The Political Science Reviewer.)

"The Necessity of a Non-Reductionist Science of Politics" paper presented at the conference sponsored by Metanexus Institute, "Subject, Self, and Soul: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Personhood" Madrid Spain July 13-18. 2008. A revised version is "Is A Science of Politics Possible?" The Global Spiral 2009 (384 & 387). Paper Transdisciplinarity in Science and Religion No. 6, 2009, 377-389.


Christians Organizing for Political Service: A Study Guide Based on the Work of the Association for Public Justice APJ Education Fund, 1980.

Confessing Christ and Doing Politics APJ Education Fund 1982
Chapter 5 “Public Justice and True Tolerance” pp.54-62
Chapter 7 “Christian Action and the Coming of God’s Kingdom” pp.88-103

'Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea: Herman Dooyeweerd’s Political and Legal Thought' The Political Science Reviewer XXXII pp.318-380. [with permission of The Politcial Science Reviewer]


  • 2004. In Pursuit of Justice: Christian-Democratic Explorations (Rowman and Littlefield and Center for Public Justice, 2004).

  • 2001Co-editor with Rockayne McCarthy, Political Order and the Plural Structure of Society(Eerdmans, 2001)

  • 2000. A Covenant to Keep: Meditations on the Biblical Theme of Justice (Grand Rapids: CRC Publications and the Center for Public Justice, 2000).

  • 1996. Co-editor with with Stanley Carlson-Thies,  Welfare in America: Christian Perspectives on a Policy in Crisis (Eerdmans, 1996)
  • 1990.The Scattered Voice: Christians at Odds in the Public Square (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990);
  • 1991. Co-editor with Rockne M. McCarthy, Political Order and the Plural Structure of Society(Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991), No. 2 in Emory University Studies in Law and Religion, ed. by John Witte, Jr.

Annotated bibliography

On-line (off site) resources