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The Politics of Witness
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Title in eBook formats:
The Politics of Witness
As the body of Christ, the church has a prophetic role in the world. Prophets have always spoken clearly to people in power. They have been willing to challenge the decisions made by people who thought they were not accountable to anyone. Sometimes the prophets were respected, sometimes persecuted, but they were never ignored or regarded as irrelevant. So why is it that the church today cannot speak truth effectively to power?
In The Politics of Witness, Dr. Allan R. Bevere asks these questions and proposes an answer. The church has come to depend too much on temporal power and has thus forgotten its divine authority. In finding this answer he goes back to the founding of the church and how it first became dependent on the state. He examines those who have followed, mostly building a political theory that takes the responsibility of ministry from the church and gives it to the state.
You'll find some names in this that might surprise you. Any discussion of Christianity and the state will involve Emperor Constantine, but what about his modern lieutenants, such as Locke, Jefferson, Franklin, and others?
While the theology applies to the church in any country, Dr. Bevere takes a particular look at the peculiarly American view that the United States of America is somehow God's chosen people, a nation of destiny in accomplishing the gospel mission.
This book balances brevity with a broad intellectual and historical reach. You will be taken from the founding and foundation structure of Christian theology today to a proposal for how we, as the Church can reclaim our prophetic witness.
Bevere, Allan R
Allan R. Bevere is the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Cambridge, Ohio and a Professional Fellow in Theology at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio. He received his Ph.D from the University of Durham, U.K. He has written two books, Sharing in the Inheritance: Identity and the Moral Life in Colossians and All Is Not As It Seems: Random Reflections on Faith, Ethics, and Politics, and is currently working on several more. He has published sermons and has contributed articles to a Bible Dictionary. Bevere engages in a teaching mission in Cuba with the Methodist Church. He is married and has four children.
Reviews and Discussion
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Allan draws a very convincing portrait of the changes in the witness of the church starting with everyone's favorite whipping boy, Constantine. The more I read, the more convinced I become that the so-called Constantinian Shift was the worst thing that has happened to the church in its nearly two thousand year history and most of the negatives that have been linked to the church in the centuries since (the religious wars in Europe, the Crusades, the persecution of the Anabaptist's, etc.) can be tied back to this event in the fourth century.
Unsettled Christianity Review - Joel Watts
"A timely book ..."