Citizenship Without Illusions: A Christian Guide to Political Engagement, By David T. Koyzis

Citizenship Without Illusions

A Christian Guide to Political Engagement

by David T. Koyzis

Citizenship Without Illusions
  • Length: 168 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: November 26, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0862
  • ISBN: 9781514008621

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How can Christians live as citizens of God's kingdom while also fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens of political communities? David Koyzis, author of Political Visions and Illusions, offers a brief, practical guide on political engagement and citizenship.

During numerous conversations with students and readers of his books in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, Koyzis has heard the same questions repeated. Can Christians participate in the public square without buying in to political illusions—ideologies that become idolatrous? Is it better to avoid politics than risk ethical compromise or division among believers? In Citizenship Without Illusions, Koyzis presents a case for political engagement as a way to love our neighbors that doesn't require our full devotion to parties or ideologies. He explores key topics such as:

  • the responsibilities of citizens
  • how to vote
  • mobilizing for political action
  • citizenship under less-than-ideal circumstances
  • the importance of both local and global engagement
  • the role of the church in society

Using examples from various eras and places, Koyzis guides readers to make the best of their own political situations, make thoughtful decisions, and promote societal diversity while respecting those who disagree. With clear understanding and confidence in their ultimate allegiance, Christians can employ their citizenship for the greater good.

"In an age of heightened political division and widespread insistence on individual rights, often to the detriment of a vision for the public good, this primer on the task of being faithful Christian citizens is a breath of fresh (principled!) air. While reflecting the erudition of a senior political science scholar, Koyzis's book is eminently readable, theologically grounded, and insightfully practical for anyone wanting better to live in the tension between the heavenly kingdom of God for which we pray and the broken earthly political and social contexts in which we all live."

David Guretzki, president, CEO, and resident theologian, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

"Citizenship Without Illusions is the best one-stop treatment of political citizenship written by the most significant evangelical political theorist of our day. In it, Koyzis makes a case for political engagement as a divine vocation in which our allegiance to Christ is primary and our allegiance to political parties and platforms is secondary. His ability to turn complex political realities into practical frameworks for action is second to none. Highly recommended."

Bruce Riley Ashford, senior fellow at the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology

"One wonderful, essential thing about David Koyzis is that he takes politics seriously without making an idol of it. This book reflects the generosity of spirit and intellectual care that have characterized David's career. Once again, David has offered us a tremendous gift with this book. Read it closely. Consider it deeply. Dispel political illusions. Love God and love your neighbor."

Michael Wear, founder, president, and CEO of the Center for Christianity and Public Life and the author of The Spirit of Our Politics: Spiritual Formation and the Renovation of Public Life

"David Koyzis has done all Western Christians concerned with their civic, political, and social obligations a great service. Rather than accept faulty assumptions about the nature of citizenship, the nation-state, and the relationship between church and state that run rampant today, Koyzis engages with these ideas historically, philosophically, and theologically before ever turning to concrete guidance. This is an outstanding book worthy of serious consideration."

Trey Dimsdale, executive director of the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy at First Liberty Institute



1. Understanding Citizenship
2. How to Be a Citizen
3. When Kingdoms Collide
4. How to Vote
5. Mobilizing for Political Action
6. Progressives and Conservatives
7. Global Citizenship
8. Prayer, Politics, and Church

Discussion Questions
Selected Bibliography


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David T. Koyzis

David T. Koyzis is affiliated with Global Scholars Canada and is engaged in an international academic ministry of writing, researching, lecturing, and conversing with readers of his books. He is the author of Political Visions and Illusions and We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God. He taught undergraduate political science for thirty years and lives with his family in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.