Dr. Jonathan Chaplin - Director

Dr. Jonathan Chaplin is the first Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, a position he took up in September 2006. He is Member of the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge University, and was Visiting Lecturer at the VU University, Amsterdam from 2007-2011.

He is a specialist in Christian political thought, and has authored or edited eight books and reports and many articles in this field. Recent publications include God and Government (SPCK 2009), co-edited with Nick Spencer, God and Global Order, co-editor (Baylor 2010), Multiculturalism: A Christian Retrieval (Theos, 2011) and Herman Dooyeweerd - Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society (Notre Dame, 2011). He is currently working on a book provisionally entitled Faith in Democracy? Towards a Post-secularist Settlement.

From 1999-2006 he served as Associate Professor of Political Theory at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, holding the Dooyeweerd Chair in Social and Political Philosophy from 2004-6, and acting as Academic Dean from 2005-6. From 1990-1997 he was Tutor in Politics at Plater College in Oxford, and from 1997-8, Fellow in Christian Political Thought at Sarum College, Salisbury. In 2006 he was appointed Senior Fellow of the think-tank Cardus in Hamilton, Ontario, and writes regularly for Cardus’s online journal, Comment. He is a consultant researcher for the UK think-tank Theos and writes for Guardian CiF Belief. He read PPE at Pembroke College, Oxford, received an MPhil in Political Theory from ICS and a PhD from London School of Economics and Political Science. He has served on the board or advisory councils of several organisations working on the relationship between Christian faith and public life, including the Movement for Christian Democracy, Citizens for Public Justice (Canada), the Social Action Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the theology committee of the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Committee, and the Civitas Program of the Center for Public Justice (USA). In the 1990s has was a regular contributor to Third Way magazine and served a term on the Editorial Advisory Board. He was a member of the UK Evangelical Alliance’s Theology and Public Policy Advisory Council from 2007-2011. He is a member of the Advisory Panel of the International Journal of Public Theology, a manuscript reviewer for Studies in Christian Ethics, Political Theology and Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Evangelical Review of Society and Politics.

He is married to Dr. Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, a specialist in Christian aesthetics, and they have two children, Paul, who works for Friends of the Earth, and Lucia, a trainee doctor and active in SPEAK.

Herman Dooyeweerd

Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society

Selected Publications

Editor, Politics and the Parties (When Christians Disagree) (Leicester, UK: Intervarsity Press, 1992).

Co-editor with P. Marshall, eds., Political Theory and Christian Vision: Essays in Memory of Bernard Zylstra (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1994).

Co-editor with Craig Bartholomew, Al Wolters, & Robert Song, A Royal Priesthood: Using the Bible Ethically and Politically. A Dialogue with Oliver O’Donovan (Paternoster/Zondervan, 2002). Vol. 3 of ‘Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar’ series.

Talking God: The Legitimacy of Religious Public Reasoning (Theos, January 2009).

Co-editor with Nick Spencer, God and Government (SPCK, 2009).

Editor, with Robert Joustra, God and Global Order: The Power of Religion in American Foreign Policy (Baylor University Press, 2010).

Herman Dooyeweerd: Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011).

Multiculturalism: A Christian Retrieval (Theos, 2011).

Articles and chapters

‘Subsidiarity and Sphere Sovereignty: Catholic and Reformed Conceptions of the Role of the State,’ in F. McHugh & S. Natale, eds., Things Old and New: Catholic Social Teaching Revisited (Lanham, NY: UPA, 1993), 175-202.

‘How Much Cultural and Religious Pluralism Can Liberalism Tolerate?,’ in J. Horton, ed., Liberalism, Multiculturalism and Toleration (London: Macmillan, 1993), 32-49.

‘Government,’ entry in New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology (Leicester: IVP, 1995), 415-417.

‘Dooyeweerd’s Notion of Societal Structural Principles,’ Philosophia Reformata (60/1, 1995), 16-36.

‘Christians and the Public Realm,’ in T. Cooling and J. Shortt, eds., Agenda for Educational Change (Leicester: IVP/Apollos, 1997), 57-75.

‘Catholic Political Thought: What Can Evangelicals Learn?’ Transformation (July, 1997), 10-14.

‘Subsidiarity: the concept and the connections,’ Ethical Perspectives (Leuven) 4/2 (1997), 117-130.

‘Christian Theories of Democracy,’ in J. Stanyer, ed., Contemporary Political Studies 1998 (Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association, University of Keele, April 1998), 998-1003.

‘Faith in the State: The Peril and Promise of Christian Politics’ (Inaugural Lecture, November 1999) (Institute for Christian Studies, 2000).

‘Beyond Liberal Restraint: Defending Religiously-based Arguments in Law and Public Policy,’ University of British Columbia Law Review (Special Issue on Law, Morality and Religion) 33/2 (2000), 617-646.

‘Silencing the Silencers: Reclaiming a Public Voice for Christian Faith,’ Pro Rege XXIX/1 (Sept. 2000), 1-10.

‘Prospects for an ‘Evangelical Political Philosophy,’ Evangelical Review of Theology, 24/4 (Oct 2000), 354-373.

‘Political Eschatology and Responsible Government: Oliver O’Donovan’s Christian Liberalism,’ in A Royal Priesthood (2002), 265-308.

‘Defining Public Justice in a Pluralistic Society: Probing a Key Neo-Calvinist Insight,’ Pro Rege (March, 2004), 1-10.

Review essay on M. Stackhouse et al, God and Globalization, vols. 1, 2, 3 (Trinity Press International, 2000-2002), Political Theology 5/4 (October 2004), 493-500.

‘Toward a Social Pluralist Theory of Institutional Rights,’ Ave Maria Law Review 3/1 (2005), 147-170.

‘Suspended Communities or Covenanted Communities?: Reformed Reflections on the Social Thought of Radical Orthodoxy,’ in James K. Smith and James H. Olthuis, eds., Creation, Covenant and Participation: Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition (Baker Academic, 2005), 151-182.

‘Political Theology,’ in Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of Scripture, ed. K. J. Vanhoozer (Baker Academic, 2005), 597-600.

‘Rejecting Neutrality, Respecting Diversity: From “Liberal Pluralism” to “Christian Pluralism,”’ Christian Scholar’s Review (35/2, Winter 2006), 143-175. Recipient of ‘Charles J. Miller Christian Scholar’s Award’ for the best article in 2006.

‘Toward an Ecumenical Social Theory: Revisiting Herman Dooyeweerd’s Critique of Thomism,’ in That the World May Believe: Essays on Mission and Unity in Honour of George Vandervelde, eds. M. Goheen & M. O’Gara (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2006), 214-238.

‘Law, Liberty and Plurality: The Political Problem of “Interculturality,”’ in Sander Griffioen et al, Een weg gaan: cultuurfilosofie tussen West en Oost (Damon, 2006), 72-80.

‘Herman Dooyeweerd,’ in New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics (Leicester: Intervarsity Press, 2006), 224-226.

‘Christian Justifications of Democracy’, Ethics in Brief 11/3 (2006), 1-4.

Review article on D. Farrow, ed., Recognizing Religion in a Secular Society (McGill-Queens, 2004), and T. Cuneo, ed., Religion in the Liberal Polity (Notre Dame, 2005), Philosophia Reformata 72/1 (2007).

‘Living With Liberalism’, Comment (December 2006).

‘Are we a little bit confused about discrimination?’, feature article in Church of England Newspaper, 9 February 2007.

‘Understanding liberal regimes of toleration’, Ethics in Brief 11/5, March 2007.

‘Communicating the Vision’, Engage (publication of Jubilee Centre) 16 (Spring 2007), 4-5.

Review article on Oliver O’Donovan, The Ways of Judgment (Eerdmans, 2005), Scottish Journal of Theology 61/4 (2008), 477-493.

‘State and Civil Society: the Neo-Calvinist Perspective,’ in Jeanne Heffernan Schindler, ed., Christianity and Civil Society: Catholic and Neo-Calvinist Perspectives (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2008), 67-96.

‘Public Justice as a Critical Political Norm’, Philosophia Reformata 72/2 (2007), 130-151.

‘Christian Public Engagement in a Secularised Society’, The Bible in Transmission, Bible Society (Winter 2007), 9-12.

‘Speaking from Faith in Democracy’, Evangelical Review of Society and Politics 2/1 (2008), 16-31.

‘Has Multiculturalism Had Its Day? Towards a Christian Assessment’, Ethics in Brief 12/2 (2008), 1-6.

‘Law, Faith and Freedom: a critical appreciation of Archbishop Williams’ Lecture’, Fulcrum website (February 2008).

Review article on: Evangelical Alliance, Faith and Nation (2006); Nick Spencer, Doing God (Theos, 2006); Jonathan Bartley, Faith and Politics After Christendom (2006), Stuart Murray, Post-Christendom (2005) in Studies in Christian Ethics 21 (2008), 145-153.

Review of Ad de Bruijne, Levend in Leviatan (on Oliver O’Donovan’s political theology), Philosophia Reformata 73 (2008), 108-110.

‘Mediating Structures,’ and ‘State, Catholic Thought on,’ entries in Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy: An Encyclopedia, ed. Joseph A Varacalli et al (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008).

‘Representing a People: Oliver O’Donovan on Democracy and Tradition’, Political Theology 9/3 (2008), 299-313.

‘Legal Monism and Religious Pluralism: Rowan Williams on Religion, Loyalty and Law’, International Journal of Public Theology 2/4 (2008), 418-441.

Co-author of review article on Kristen Deede Johnston, Theology, Political Theory and Pluralism: Beyond Tolerance and Difference (Cambridge University Press, 2007), in Evangelical Review of Society and Politics 2/2 (October 2008), 30-49.

‘Beyond Multiculturalism - but to where?’ Philosophia Reformata 73/2 (2008), 190-209.

‘Toward A Social Pluralist Theory of Institutional Rights’, in B P Frohnen and K L Grasso, eds., Rethinking Rights: Historical, Political and Philosophical Perspectives (University of Missouri Press, 2009), 212-240.

Editor, with Brian Brock, of papers from the 2009 KLICE Book Colloquium on Brian Brock, Singing the Ethos of God (Eerdmans 2008), European Journal of Theology (October 2009).

‘Calvin and Politics: Divine Sovereignty or Popular Sovereignty?’ in T. D. Alexander and L. S. Kirkpatrick, eds., John Calvin 1509-1564: Reflections on a Reformer (Union Theological College, 2009), 113-128.

‘Conclusion: Christian Political Wisdom’, in God and Government, co-edited by Nick Spencer and Jonathan Chaplin (SPCK, 2009), 205-237.

‘The Place of Religious Arguments for Law Reform in a “Secular” State’, Law and Justice: The Christian Law Review 162 (Hilary/Easter, 2009), 18-35.

‘Can Nations Be Christian?’ in Theology (November/December 2009), 410-424.

'How Should Christians Vote in 2010', Ethics in Brief 15.2 (2010).

‘God, Globalization and Grace: An Exercise in Public Theology’, in M. Goheen and E. Glanville, eds., The Gospel and Globalization: Exploring the Religious Roots of a Globalized World (Vancouver: Regent Press and Geneva Society, 2009/Paternoster Press, 2010), 49-68.

'The Concept of “Civil Society” and Christian Social Pluralism’, in The Kuyper Center Review Vol.1: Politics, Religion, and Sphere Sovereignty (Eerdmans, 2010), 14-33.

'Loving Faithful Institutions: Building Blocks for a Just Global Order', The Other Journal 14 April 2010. (

‘Coalitions, Cuts and Compromises: The UK Government Six Months On’, Comment (online journal of Cardus), 24 December 2010.

‘From “Big State” to “Big Society”: Is British Conservatism Becoming Christian Democratic?’, Comment, 9 July 2010.

‘Politics in Worship? It’s not very English’, in The Reader (Spring 2010).

Commissioning co-editor with David Landrum, series on Christianity and British political parties: Stephen Backhouse, Experiments in Living: Christianity and the Liberal Democrat Party; Paul Bickley, Building a New Jerusalem: Christianity and the Labour Party; Joshua Hordern, One Nation but Two Cities: Christianity and the Conservative Party. Published by Bible Society and KLICE, 2010.

Guest Editorial with Joshua Hordern, Studies in Christian Ethics (special issue on Nicholas Wolterstorff, Justice: Rights and Wrongs), 23.2 (2010), 115-117.

‘Why a Just Society must also be a Big Society’, Cardus Policy in Public (Summer 2011), 7-18.

‘We don’t do God? Well, Mr Campbell, nowadays you’d miss a trick if you didn’t’, Parliamentary Brief (30 September 2011).

'Integrity In Solidarity: Christian Professionals in a Plural Public Sphere’, in Bridging the Gap: Connecting Christian Faith and Professional Practice, eds. B. de Muynck et al (Dordt College Press, 2011), 13-24.

‘Politics’, in Living Witness: Explorations in Missional Ethics, edited by Andy Draycott and Jonathan Rowe (Apollos, 2012), 198-216.

‘Response to Nigel Biggar and Robin Lovin’, Studies in Christian EthicsThe Future of Theological Ethics – a Symposium (May 2012), 149-152.

‘Why We Can Talk to Each Other: Response to Robin Lovin' [‘Consensus and Commitment: Religious Reasons, Real People and Public Discourse],’ in Kenneth L. Grasso and Cecelia Rodriguez Castillo, eds., Theology and Public Philosophy (Lexington, 2012), 119-126.

'A Time to Marry - Twice', Fulcrum website, 10 July 2012.

‘Law, Religion and Public Reasoning’, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 1.2 (2012), 319-337.

Entry on ‘Ethics’, in New Dictionary of Theology, revised ed. (IVP, forthcoming).

‘Governing Diversity: Public Judgment and Religious Plurality’, in The Authority of the Gospel: Essays in Honour of Oliver O’Donovan, edited by Robert Song and Brent Waters (Eerdmans, forthcoming).

(Last updated April 2013)

Jonathan Chaplin (Director)

Andrew Goddard (Associate Director)

Enid Instone-Brewer (Administrator)


Advisory Council

Honorary Research Fellows

Prof Oliver O'Donovan

Prof John Wyatt

Tom Miller

Research Associates