THL542 Political Theology (16)

This subject assists students to survey, learn and deploy Christian perspectives on politics for engagement with contemporary secular political life. Through examination of biblical, historic and recent theological engagement with governance; by familiarization with the roles and structures of Australian polity; and in conversation with contemporary public discussion, students will be encouraged to reflect upon and deeply engage with the political process using the wisdom of theological reflection.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Ming Hua Theological College

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL542. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Master of Theology and Bachelor of Theology (Honours) students only.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to recognise the organising themes of right and left political orientations; explain the usage and meaning of this polarity in Australian political discourse (and critique its validity)
  • be able to analyse provisionally political and policy discourse in terms of democratic socialist, conservative, liberal and communitarian political philosophies
  • be able to describe some mechanisms of governance and some significant political forces in modern Australia
  • be able to articulate themes in ancient and modern Christian political thought, including their accounts of the derivation, validity, purpose and limits of political authority
  • be able to draw from these themes to account for and to evaluate Australian political institutions; be able to critique Australian political life, and some policy discourse, using the terms of Christian reflection on governance
  • be able to offer persuasive, theologically-derived responses to some contemporary political issues


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The contemporary scene: An overview of Australian polity; the meaning, usage and validity of the terms left and right
  • A brief history of Christian thought: The place of the saeculum; the ordering of society; the role of rulers; Early biblical and Christian thought; the Great Tradition of Christendom; post-enlightenment conceptions; post-colonial conceptions
  • Political ideologies: Traditional approaches: democratic socialism, conservatism, liberalism, communitarianism; Late-modern themes, including: secularism; sustainability; neo-liberalism; imperialism and self-determination; realism; centrism
  • The recovery of political theology: An overview of twentieth and twenty-first century theological thought on politics, including e.g. ecclesial, post-colonial and Christian realist perspectives
  • The operation of Australian governance: Constitutional distinctions; separation of powers; levels of government; hidden currents of power; avenues of address
  • Contemporary politics and Christian praxis: Arenas of discussion (think-tanks, media, journals advocacy groups, etc); analysis of some recent discussions; the role of pastors, churches, and Christian individuals in political address; engagement with some recent public discussions


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.