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 nine books and reports, and many articles, in this field. His most recent publication is God and the EU: Faith in the European Project, co-editor (Routledge, 2016). He is currently writing a book called 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. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies (CIRIS) based at Clare College. 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 has written 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 Council of Philosophia Reformata and 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 PoliticsHe appeared in the list of 100 Top UK Christians 2014 on the Archbishop Cranmer website, nominated for 'beavering away on the intersection between theology 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 junior doctor. He attends St. Paul's Anglican Church, Hills Road, Cambridge.

Herman Dooyeweerd

Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society

Selected Publications

Books and reports

Co-editor with Gary Wilton, God and the EU: Faith in the European Project (Routledge, 2016).

Co-editor with Colin Bell and Robert White, Living Lightly, Living Faithfully: Religious faiths and the future of sustainability (Faraday Institute/KLICE, 2013).

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

Multiculturalism: A Christian Retrieval (Theos, 2011).

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Articles, chapters and reviews

'The Tories "won" - but the system lost, again', KLICE Comment (May 2015).

'Evangelicalism and the Language(s) of the Common Good,' in Peter McGrail and Nicholas Sagovsky eds., Together for the Common Good: Towards a National Conversation (SCM 2015).

'Reformational Insights for the Study of International Relations', Philosophia Reformata 8.1, 40-55.

‘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, 2015).

'Who is My Neighbour? - the Church of England finds a new voice', KLICE Comment (February 2015).

'Multiculturalism, Religion and Justice', in P. Vos and O. Zijlstra, eds., The Law of God: Exploring God and Civilization (Studies in Reformed Theology) (Brill, 2014), 44-63.

'Beyond Pantomime Politics: KLICE pauses for thought before May 2015', KLICE Comment (December 2014).

'Scotland Decides - but about what?', KLICE Comment (September 2014).

'Evangelical Contributions to the Future of Anglican Social Theology', in Malcom Brown, ed., Anglican Social Theology: Renewing the Vision Today (Church House Publishing, 2014), 102-132.

Review of Nicholas Wolterstorff, The Mighty and the Almighty: An Essay in Political Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Studies in Christian Ethics 27.3 (2014), 378-381.

Contributor to Good News for the Public Square: A Biblical Framework for Christian Engagement (Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, 2014), edited by Timothy Laurence.

'Subsidiarity and Social Pluralism', in Global Perspectives on Subsidiarity, edited by Michelle Evans and Augusto Zimmermann (Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice 37) (Springer, 2014), 65-84.

Review of Sebastian Kim, Theology in the Public Sphere: Public Theology as a Catalyst for Open Debate and Miroslav Volf, A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good, in Studies in Christian Ethics 27.1 (2014), 103-108.

'Towards a Bibical Social Gospel: A Twelve-step Programme for Recovering Evangelicals', KLICE Comment (January 2014).

'"The Full Weight of Our Convictions": The Point of Kuyperian Pluralism', Comment (online journal of Cardus) (November 2013).

'It isn't going away, we're just looking away', KLICE Comment (November 2013)

Guest editor, ‘God, Justice and Society – A Colloquium on Biblical Law’, special issue of Political Theology 14.5 (2013), and Guest Editorial, 593-600.

'The role of "faith" in multicultural integration', in Public Spirit (University of Bristol) (September 2013).

'Veiled Threat?', KLICE Comment (September 2013).

Contributor to Renewing Canadian Public Policy: Can Subsidiarity Provide the Framework? by Milton Friesen (Cardus White Paper, 2013).

'Nicholas Wolterstorff, Justice in Love – a review and response', Ethics in Brief 18.6 (2013).

'The Church of England and the Funeral of Baroness Thatcher', Fulcrum website (April 2013).

'Theocracy After Christendom, Welby-style', KLICE Comment (April 2013).

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

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

'Religious Freedom', KLICE Comment (July 2012).

‘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.

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

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

'Do we know why we are all equal?', KLICE Comment (March 2012).

'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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

'Coalitions, Cuts and Compromises: The UK Government Six Months On’, Comment, 24 December 2010.

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

'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.

‘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 (Regent Press and Geneva Society, 2009/Paternoster Press, 2010), 49-68.

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

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

‘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.

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

‘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.

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).

'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.

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

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.

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

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

'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 (Scarecrow Press, 2008).

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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

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

'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.

'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 (University Press of America, 2006), 214-238.

'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.

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

‘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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

‘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.

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

'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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘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 (University Press of America, 1993), 175-202.

    Jonathan Chaplin (Director)

    Genevieve Wedgbury
    (Development Officer)

    Colin Bell (Administrator)

Advisory Council


Honorary Research Fellows

    Rev Dr Andrew Goddard

    Prof Oliver O'Donovan

    Prof John Wyatt

    Tom Miller


Research Associates