Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Thomas Manteufel

Scripture References in this Resource

Galatians 2:21; Matthew 22:37–39


Madson, Mark, J. “The Gospel in Singapore: The Impact of Civil Religion and Civil Law.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2015. 240 pp.

The author explores the development of civil religion in the Republic of Singapore, paying special attention to its sources in English common law, Confucianism, and the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) ideology of economic pragmatism. Colonial and modern civil religious law, including the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act of 1990, serve as the basis for analyzing the interaction of the state and traditional religious traditions. The Singapore Story, as told by Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP, provides a narrative context for interpreting the terms of Singaporean civil religion. The concepts of harmony and self-cultivation are explored within traditional Confucianism and civil religion. The active righteousness of this civil religion is then compared and contrasted with the passive or spiritual righteousness of Christianity using confessional Lutheran theology. Because civil righteousness is promoted by an authoritarian government so pervasively, it puts at risk a proper understanding of Christian righteousness. Therefore, the Church must respond to civil religion with a public theology. The narrative of this theological response includes distinguishing the passive righteousness of faith from all other forms of righteousness. This public theology need not attempt to Christianize law and society but it must clearly delineate the dual rule of God and the created orders which take on a unique form in Singapore. Finally, some considerations of the limits of obedience to political authority and the direction of service within the orders of Singaporean life are outlined.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.