Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Ten propositions on political theology

by Kim Fabricius

1. The doctrine of the ascension is the basis of all political theology – and why there can be no such thing as apolitical theology. The church cannot be a cultus privatus because Jesus of Nazareth, “crucified under Pontius Pilate,” reigns and his edict is public truth. Remove Christ from the forum and it does not remain empty: nature abhors a vacuum; idols love one and soon fill it.

2. God is political. Cut the political bits out of the Bible – as Jim Wallis and some friends once did – and you’re left with “a Bible full of holes.” God is political – and God takes sides. In the Old Testament, Yahweh’s exodus and covenant “bias / preferential option for the poor” is now a well-worn phrase – but an undeniable fact. And the New Testament – Luke in particular – doesn’t drop the ball: the Magnificat and the Jubilee Manifesto suggest the game plan.

3. In my view it is legitimate to speak of an “epistemological privilege” of the excluded and oppressed. Bonhoeffer, writing in prison, was avant la lettre of liberation theology: “We have for once learnt to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled – in short, from the perspective of those who suffer.” Here is the “more rewarding principle for exploring the world in thought and action than personal good fortune.”

4. With a shrug of their shoulders, conservatives love to quote the text, “You always have the poor with you” (Mark 14:7), as if poverty were an order of creation (cf. “the rich man in his castle, / the poor man at his gate”), and there is nothing we can – or should – do about it. But Jesus was not being cynical, or even realistic, about the inevitability of an excluded underclass, rather he was reminding his disciples where they will be found if they are faithful – among the poor and oppressed.

5. The point is not that the poor and oppressed have a monopoly on virtue, let alone that they are an elect group, rather it is simply that they are the ones who get screwed – and God doesn’t like people getting screwed. So God sends his servant Moses, his spokesmen the prophets, and finally his Son Jesus, their Big Brother, to take care of the bullies, though he fights with his mouth not his fists. Not, of course, that God loves the oppressor any less than he loves the oppressed; indeed his rescue mission is to liberate them both, the latter from their humiliation and suffering, and the former from their pride and violence.

6. Nor does any political theologian who is not a straw man hold the Marxist delusion that utopia can be built. Karl Barth, responding to an ordinand who had heard him lecture, wrote: “Many thanks for your kind letter. But … now you manage to put down on paper again all that nonsense about the kingdom of God that we must build. Dear N.N., in so doing you do not contradict merely one ‘insight’ but the whole message of the whole Bible. If you persist in this idea I can only advise you to take up any other career than that of pastor.” The antidote to political pelagianism is a critical eschatology. Barth himself, of course, was no quietist. “A silent community,” he said, “merely observing the events of its time, would not be a Christian community.”

7. Still, calling governments to account and repentance, the critical component, and praying and working for a community of shalom and an economy of grace, the positive component, are essential elements of the political vocation of the church. Strategically Christians should work for a world that asymptotically approaches the kingdom of God. Tactically Christians should form ad hoc alliances with all people of good will in pursuit of a more just society. Indeed, as Bonhoeffer discovered, we may well find more saints among the pagans than the pious. Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). We should not fear dirty hands but bloody hands.

8. The flipside of an apolitical church is a sacralised state. This is “the Constantinian trap” (Lesslie Newbigin). And a sacralised state easily becomes a demonic state. The cross is draped with the flag, and discipleship is absorbed into citizenship. The German Christians are the paradigm nationalist idolaters; history repeats itself in the farce of the Religious Right. “Never was anything in this world loved too much,” wrote Thomas Traherne, “but many things have been loved in a false way, and all in too short a measure.” The true love of ecumenism trumps the sentimental love of patriotism.

9. The church’s political witness ends in the public square, but it begins around a table. At worship the church bows neither to Caesar, nor to Mammon or Mars, but to the crucified and risen One. At worship the Spirit begins to straighten our disordered desires, as we hear an alternative narrative to manifest destiny, and learn an alternative praxis to Realpolitik. Yet worship can be a bolthole rather than a sign of reconciliation and resistance. “Where the body is not properly discerned, Paul reminds the Corinthians, consumption of the Eucharist can make you sick or kill you (1 Cor. 11:30). This might explain the condition of some of our churches” (William T. Cavanaugh).

10. The Apocalypse of John is “a visionary theological and poetic representation of the spiritual environment within which the church perennially finds itself living and struggling” (Richard B. Hays). It is a samizdat text of protest to the pretensions of power, a warning against complacency, and a call to discernment in reading the signs of the times. The powerful inevitably twist it into a self-serving mandate for accumulation and aggression; only those who long for justice and peace see that the hermeneutical key is the slaughtered Lamb who gently roars. Here is the text for a political theology that begins to re-imagine and re-shape the world in anticipation of the parousia of Christ.

Post-9/11 Postscript
In Apocalypse Now: Reflections on Faith in a Time of Terror (2005), Duncan Forrester proposes an interesting juxtaposition: on the one hand, the statement of support for the Kaiser published by a group of ninety-three leading German intellectuals, including theologians, on the day the First World War broke out; on the other hand, the public “Letter from America: What We Are Fighting For” in support of President Bush’s “war on terror,” signed by sixty prominent American intellectuals, including theologians, five months after 9/11. Both letters are so theologically thin, however, that they amount to pom-pom propaganda for imperial states. The first letter awoke Karl Barth from his Schleiermacherian slumbers, the second letter aroused Stanley Hauerwas and Paul Griffiths to a polemical response. But by and large the people of Germany and the US sleepwalked into slaughter. Moral: When political theology is faithful, expect it to be critical and subversive; when it is unfaithful, expect it to be ideological and fatal.

35 Comments:

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Kim,

I think you've outdone yourself on this. Wonderfully put! Thank you for outlining in such clarity the political dimension of our faith!

byron said...

Thanks once again Kim.

However, much as I hate to see it being sounded as the only note, I missed the obedience theme in this tune (Rom 13; 1 Peter 2). I know you're not aiming to be comprehensive, but a thoughtful interaction with these passages would strengthen your case for those who only read these passages.

Brian Hamilton said...

This is just spectacular: thank you. Here at the University of Notre Dame, we are always almost caught (to speak charitably) of the Constantinian trap--with a flagpole stuck in the heart of the cross that makes up our main lawn and where the baccalaureate mass annually culminates with an American flag being carried up to the altar and sprinkled with holy water. Praise God for the presence and peskiness of the local Catholic Worker house, both of whose organizers teach on the theology faculty here.

Could you provide a citation for the Cavanaugh quote? I'd love to look that up.

Chris TerryNelson said...

I'm running out of favorites Kim. This was fun and scary all at once (particularly that Barth letter - proof that theologians can and should give pastoral counsel after all!).

John said...

Kim,

I deeply enjoy much of what you write. So, take this as criticism from an affectionate friend.

You say, "When political theology is faithful, expect it to be critical and subversive." I find that to be quite a difficult aphorism to hold in light of the texts byron cited. Paul upholds the right of the state (not a democracy mind you but a totalitarian regime) to the sword. Both Peter and Paul have nothing but affirmation for the state, hardly "critcal and subversive." How do you deal with those texts?

byron said...

Both Peter and Paul have nothing but affirmation for the state
This is quite an overstatement. Although I'd love to hear what Kim has to say about those two famous passages, there is a lot more to the apostolic testimony than 'obey'. To proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord is to deny the same to Caesar.

kim fabricius said...

Many thanks, guys - Byron and John for being good gadflies! Regarding Romans 13, as Yoder observes, "New Testament exegesis has long since abandoned" the notion that we have here a Christian doctrine of the state as "a simple concept of divine institution in the order of creation," even if "it persists in the systematic-theological and ethical thought of Protestants, especially theologically conservative Protestants." And Catholics will know that St. Thomas (as G. K. Chesterton puts it) "is emphatic upon the fact that law, when it ceases to be justice, ceases even to be law."
The word Paul uses in Romans 13:1 (hupotassestho) does not mean "obey", let alone obey uncritically, but be "subject/subordinate to", and the Christian who engages in non-violent acts of civil disobedience against a demonic state or unjust laws is not acting against Paul's teaching. Ultimate allegiance to Christ - and Christ alone - is taken for granted throughout the NT (most visibly, of course, in Revelation!). The principle is Acts 5:29. The Christian responsibility for prayer for civil authorities I insist on (at least implicitly) in #7 - though, consistently, nothing could be more "critical and subversive" than prayer (Barth!).

Brian, the Cavanaugh quote comes from Theopolitical Imagination (2002), p. 121 (in a chapter entitled "The Myth of Globalization as Catholicity"). Among other things, the book is an important historical as well as theological debunking of the widely held myth "that directly politicized theology is inherently dangerous and violent, and that the modern era has done a tremendous service for peace in separating power from religion."

Anonymous said...

Dear Kim,

it seems to me that you have provided an excellent and clear cut argument for why Theology should be Political, in the sense of Politics with a capital P. But, im not so sure that talk of first principals is entirely what springs to mind when people hear the word politics anymore.

Politics it seems to me is, for good or for bad, also about the slipery world of horse trading, the wink wink nudge nudge of lobbying, the tactics of playing the system to get points across and so on.

I wonder then if you could talk a little more on the tactics of theology, a point you mention briefly in chapter 7. Do you think we have to be political in this sense - to know when to say what we think and when not to, to care about public image so as to get our points across, to compromise with soceital opinions in certain cases?

Basically, in today's society do we have to play the system to be prophetic??

Thanks once again for another excellent post.

Matt

kim fabricius said...

Hi Matt,

What you say. Be part of the political process, and play the system by all means, against itself too, and throwing spokes in its wheels (Bonhoeffer) when necessary. The keynote, I suppose, is Matthew 10:16, whether deployed lawfully or in acts of resistance (Gandhi, King). Another perennial is humour, satire, reductio ad absurdum (as in Swift's A Modest Proposal) - the powerful can't stand being laughed at (there are a lot of great Bush jokes out there!). We're talking tactics here (and training too) and tactics will always be ad hoc (and I'm no tactician!), so I really can't generalise further. Except to add, in the church, strong preaching.

Of course it is easy to spout from where I'm sitting (in Swansea). The worst I've ever suffered over certain causes is a bit of abuse on marches and some unpleasant mail (though in my pre-Christian, student days, I was once beaten up by police at anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Hartford and spent an afternoon in jail). In places like Zimbabwe we're talking martyrdom. Which leads me to shut up.

centuri0n said...

Three comments, Kim:

[1] It seems like a historical fact to me that politically-liberal and politically-conservative religious activism are both theologically bankrupt. That's not an ideological statement: it's a factual statement that underscores the problem of asking the Government to do things which the church ought to be doing. There's not question, for example, that the church ought to be the place where the commands of Christ get hands and feet -- but it's not the place where we require the Godless and the unbeliever (cf. 1Cor 5:12-13) to do that work.

The political activism of the Gospel is an activism which changes people first, and then infiltrates all things with people who are under grace rather than men who are under law. It is not an activism which requires the state to become the savior of men, functionally supplanting Christ.

[2] Ecumenism is its own idol. That's not to say that unless you are a Reformed American Southern Baptist you're an apostate: it is to say that ecumenism in the sense you are advocating here ignores that many questions which separate denominations are substantive and do not have a negotiated middle ground. To overlook those differences is to place unity over truth, and again removes Christ from His place above all things.

You are entitled to your opinions about the "religious right", but you should think about whether the "religious left" is really any better. They are two sides of the same coin, and they both think the Gospel is powerless to save the world without the cooperation of government. That has never been true. The Gospel is the power to save all men, and in saving them change their allegiance from political to Christ.

[3] The Apostolic "endorsement" of the state is about the enforcement of Law and the prosecution of criminal behavior -- not about seeing the state as the bearer of our alms to the poor. Reading that socialist dogma back into their enthusiasm for the state is anachronistic.

Thanks for thinking about this.

kim fabricius said...

Hi CenturiOn,

Thanks for your comments. By way of a brief reply:

I would hardly call, for example, the Civil Rights movement, at least the one led by King and co., or the Christian opposition to the war in Vietnam or Iraq, "theologically bankrupt". Which is not to deny that the church's most political activity is simply(!) being the church and thereby showing the world an alternative polis. But the church does not believe that the Sermon on the Mount is only an in-house ethic (Matthew certainly didn't think so: the disciples have a ring-side seat, but there are Gentiles in the arena of Galilee). As Yoder observes, "That there could be a distinction between ethics for Christians and ethics for the civil community had not been a constitutive part of Christian social thought since Augustine." And withdrawal or quietism is quite out of the question - and so too is not working with the "godless" (as you call them - in my view there is no such thing as a "godless" person) for parabolic social transformations.

And I disagree that we should - not least because we can't - simply "change people first", the discredited strategy of a certain kind of evangelicalism, as if people were monads detached from social institutions and structures (cf. Paul's "principalities and powers"). Add up all the born-again Christians in the US and you don't approximate the kingdom of God; indeed it's more like the Other Place (and I don't mean Cambridge!).

Regarding ecumenism, I believe that ultmately there can be no unity without truth - but also no truth without unity. But my main point is simply that discipleship trumps citizenship. I consider cross-and-flag Christianity an idolatrous oxymoron. That seems to me to be theologically indisputable, but it is more honoured in the breach than the observance, particularly in the US. If it weren't, I think it would make an enormous difference to the political scene. Interestingly (as I pointed out in "Ten Propositions on Ecumenism"), Martin Niemoller said that because he was an ecumenist he became a pacifist.

Your position sounds like a two-kingdoms theology (not Luther's own doctrine, which later Lutheranism misconstrued). There is the "world" and there is the "church", to be sure - the two are not the same - but Christ rules the latter as well as the former with truth and grace, and Christians should engage with the world accordingly.

kim fabricius said...

I meant "the former as well as the latter" in my last sentence!

Anonymous said...

Not quite sure what this is all about. Nothing is actually said.
We’re supposed to be political, but not conservative. Because we know that Conservatives don’t read the Guardian (except for a laugh), and if you read the Guardian how can you be against me?
We’re not to build the kingdom of heaven, but we’re to move asymptotically towards it. Got that right, right?
This means we should have hit Saddam with our words and Hitler with our fists, as Jesus would have done.
And let’s face it, the Jews are to blame for the plight of the poor, oppressed Palestinians.
The poor and oppressed just always happen to be the ones who get screwed, except of course when it’s the rich and privileged who lose their heads. Then it’s the poor and oppressed who do that, just before they cease to be the poor and oppressed and become the rich and privileged
One can be materially poor and rich in spirit. But one can only strive to be poor in spirit regardless of one’s material circumstances.
Truly, truly, I tell you, what does it matter if you lose the world but gain your own soul?
Resist not evil. For he knew what comes out of the heart of men. Sinners. Hypocrites. Jars of expensive nard. Love your neighbour as a neighbour and not as a politician.
And read René Girard.

kim fabricius said...

Great sneer, Anonymous. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Add up all the born-again Christians in the US and you don't approximate the kingdom of God; indeed it's more like the Other Place (and I don't mean Cambridge!).


I don't know Kim, sometimes when I hear your more sanctimonious language. Especially when it comes to dealing with the "other." I get the distinct impression that your really just part of the problem, not part of the solution.

John

kim fabricius said...

By the way, it is thirty-nine years ago today that Martin Luther King was assassinated. Here is an excerpt from his sermon "A Knock at Midnight":

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. Men far and near will know the church as the great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travellers at midnight."

Of course we could dismiss King as a Guardian reader.

a. steward said...

Kim -

These theses (i love those two words together) elicited quite a few amens in my soul. A couple of notes:

1) You say, on Jesus on the poor, "But Jesus was not being cynical, or even realistic, about the inevitability of an excluded underclass, rather he was reminding his disciples where they will be found if they are faithful – among the poor and oppressed." I can't disagree with your point here theologically, but I also can't find it in the text here. It seems to me that what Jesus is saying is that they will never lack for opportunities to do give to the poor. But the emphasis here is on the worship of Jesus, which of course can never be distinguished from service to and solidarity with the poor.

2) On Romans 13 and Peter, I aggree wholeheartedly with your responses. I might add, though, that in both cases, submission to the powers that be is always a subversive statement of eschatological trust. This would be totally clear if we would read 13 after 12, and follow Paul's injuncture to "leave room for God's vengeance." As Yoder says, "submission is subversive" (or something like that, I'm sure).

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I haven't read the comments, yet. THIS is fantastic, Kim. I would add a coda to 6. Barth (and others) are right that we do not build the Kingdom under our own steam. (Not even Rauschenbusch believed that.) But the opposite error is to believe that God does everything and we are only to stand and watch.

Rather, God invites us by grace to participate in God's healing work in the world. That "God has no hands but our hands" is heresy (and some versions of process theology come close to this heresy), but that God graciously chooses to use our faithful efforts--though sometimes (often?) in very surprising ways--is gospel. Like the Jewish belief that the human task is tikkun olam, Christians realize that the call to discipleship is in an invitation to participate in God's healing (subversive, revolutionary) work.

Matt Wiebe said...

These Theses resonate with me. And trouble me, as I also resonate with some of the criticisms here. But I think that any political theology should make us deeply uncomfortable with the way things are, and they way that we are in the world.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Picking up on a.steward's very apropo remarks on 1 Peter and Rom. 13, yes, the latter looks very different coming between 12 & 14 and not separated out on its own. Also, the "sword" mentioned there was not the usual sword of the Roman army, but the one worn by guards for tax collectors. Neither capital punishment, nor Christians joining the army is in Paul's view.

The subversive submission (similar to Dorothee Soelle's concept of "revolutionary patience?")is like Barth's book, "How to Serve God in a Marxist Land."

Christians are to be nonviolent--but never neutral. We must, as Desmond Tutu said during the apartheid years, wade unarmed through rivers of blood demanding justice for the poor. The gospel is always anti-imperial.

kim fabricius said...

Hi A. Steward,

Your second point is excellent, and one among several others that I could have made (space permitting) about Romans 13. Thanks for it.

As for your second point, fair cop - mine is a "creative" reading of Mark 14:7. But it was already out there - I didn't make it up - and given that it's a good theological point, perhaps we should follow Gadamer's idea that the history of the effects of texts are not detachable from their meaning.

And, Michael, to all your points - including your gentle debunking of the "God has no hands but our hands" heresy! - a very hearty AMEN! Your "fantastic" means a lot, thanks.

kim fabricius said...

Another "Ooops" - second paragraph above should read "first" point.

a. steward said...

Gadamer's idea is impossible to dispute if you grant the notion of meaning as a fusion of horizons: of course our horizon is conditioned by what we have been told about the text. However, it hardly needs to be pointed out that the same idea applies to readings of the text that we disagree with, in this case Mk 14 as a warrant for neglect of the poor. My only point is that in helping the horizons of those we disagree with to be critiqued and shaped by the horizon of the text, we do better to argue from the horizon of the text itself, rather than from our horizon, no matter how conflate with the text's we may take it to be.
At any rate, I think your creative reading of the text is actually fine in this case, since it's clear that that is what you're doing.
And Michael, I think that your points on Paul not talking about capital punishment or christian service are plain from the context, but we should ask "machaira" to bear the burden for the whole argument (Yoder only brings it up as a side note), since it isn't a technical term, and can definitely be used to refer to just violence in general (c.f. Mt 10.34).

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

That's true, Steward. In other contexts, such as reflected in Matthew's Gospel, macheira, can mean a military weapon. In Roman contexts, however, that term was romphalia.

In addition to Yoder, this distinction is made by Klaus Wengst in his The Pax Romana and the Peace of Jesus Christ. But, you are also right that this terminological distinction cannot bear the full brunt of the argument. I began by seconding your placement of Rom. 13 in the larger context of Romans. I believe 12-14 function as a whole--with much of this dealing with how the Roman church should love enemies--including those in the Roman state.

::aaron g:: said...

Kim, can you please explain the point (#1) about the Ascension?

kim fabricius said...

Hi Aaron,

Sure. If the resurrection means that "Jesus lives!", the ascension adds that "Jesus reigns!" - as King. Or at least as "prince": he "sits at the right hand of the Father", i.e. the seat of power. But it is the Crucified who exercises power, the one who taught and praciced the Sermon on the Mount - which redefines the nature of power, divine power. So (in the words of Watts' great hymn) Christ "rules the world with truth and grace." (And of course "heaven" is not some airy-fairy other-world: "Heaven is not a space overhead to which we lift our eyes; it is the background of our existence, the all-encompassing lordship of God within which we stand" [Helmut Thielicke].)

That is why - long before Yoder - the ascension, the festival of Jesus' lordship, has been called the most political of all Christian doctrines.

::aaron g:: said...

Very helpful...thanks "Kim"

A deacon, by the grace of God, said...

Very nice indeed! I learned of your blog through Michael at Levellers. Definitely linking to it. Thanks for your wisdom!

a. steward said...

Michael -

I wasn't aware of the roman-greek distinction there. I'll have to check it out. That book you mentioned looks fascinating. Luckily, my library has it, so I'll check it out.

derek said...

Kim,

i was wondering if you have read Greg Boyd's new book "The Myth of a Christian Nation." While he doesn't dismiss all politics out of hand, he does speak out against trying to use politics as the primary means to effect change in culture. He maintains that when the church has been in political power, the result has been disastrous, not just for the ruled but for the Gospel.

Would you agree with his sentiments? Also, one criticism i have of your ten points:

don't you think that it is a bit of a stretch to look at the old testament battles and assume that means God wants us, in 21st century America, to be political? Where is Jesus in that idea? If the doctrine of God is theology proper, and Jesus is the definitive revelation of God, then how does that "filter" change our view of those OT passages? Viewed in this way, i don't think we will arrive at, what i think is an oversimplified, view that "God takes sides."

Just some thoughts. By the way, i usually stop by here daily to see what is new, and have always enjoyed your 10 points Kim (altough sometimes i find myself in serious disagreement with you). You always make me think.

Thanks Kim.

kim fabricius said...

Hi Derek,

Thanks for your comments and questions. I'll try to clarify two points.

First, it sounds to me like Greg Boyd is talking sense: the last thing I would want to see is a theocratic state, or a "Christian state", or even Christian political parties, because they inevitably seem take themselves to be the kingdom of God. On the other hand, we must keep the modern liberal/secular state honest about its own grandiose pretensions - and idolatries - so evident in its attempt to privatise religion, such that we can have our souls but the state must have our bodies (a particularly useful commodity to have in times of war).

The church and the "civil community" (Barth's preferred term for the "state") each have their appropriate, proper, but not isolated or sealed, sphere. The relationship must be dialectical. And of course the situation is now enormously more complicated when you factor in Islam. But, finally, practically, I would rather speak of "Christians", rather than the "church" as such, as the salt and light Jesus calls his disciples to be; and I am also quite partial to Barth's counsel that "In the political sphere Christians can only bring in their Christianity anonymously" (though there are plenty of exceptions, particularly post-Christendom).

Second, as the for God "who takes sides", I was referring to the prophetic voice about the powerful and the powerless, not to the God of (holy) war - and genocide. And if Jesus is the "filter", as you put it (which I take to be a form of reading the OT Christologically), the ethics is clear: the church must stand unambiguously opposed to war, and stand shoulder to shoulder with the weak, marginalised, and excluded. Jesus changes our view of the OT by foregrounding the latter, and foreclosing the former.

By the way, I am not only very happy that I make you think, I am even glad that you sometimes (only sometimes?!) disagree, i.e. that you think what I say is worth disagreeing with. Thus we do theology.

Thank you,
Kim

joel hunter said...

This post has gotten me into a protracted argument with a Lutheran mate that has now devolved into historical speculation about the EKiD, and whether Barth was a good guy or not and if Sasse wasn't the real hero. I blame you for these troubles, Kim :-)

kim fabricius said...

Hi Joel,

Yeah, I've been over to your blog. To be honest, I don't know much about the Reformed-Lutheran politics surrounding Barmen, but Barth comes over as one Machiavellian bastard, doesn't he? Anyway, pace hyper-confessional Lutheranism, the Reformed bastard didn't do a bad job with the Declaration. Stick with Barth the hero, or the next thing you know you'll be defending Bonhoeffer (if you're not already!).

joel hunter said...

>> or the next thing you know you'll be defending Bonhoeffer (if you're not already!)

Uh...*looks down at feet*...yeah! That's bad. I mean, it would be bad.

Anyway...love the Rouault!

Looney said...

Kim, I believe the first new testament character to lose his head for speaking out against political abuse was John the Baptist. This was for speaking out against sexual immorality. The church is now, however, bitterly divided over the existence of sexual immorality. It is hard to have any kind of sensible message in this environment.

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