Sunday, September 06, 2009

Building a People of Power - Part 1

I stand by what I said in earlier posts on the subject of how I believe one should use the Bible to discern God's will. However, I now feel that to a certain extent I was reinventing the wheel during that process, because it just so happens that a few years ago I read a book which really energized and inspired me, called Building a People of Power: Equipping Churches to Transform Their Communities. At the beginning of this book, the author (Robert C. Linthicum) lays out an approach to interpreting the Bible which he uses as the foundation for all of his theological statements throughout the remainder of the book. (See the back cover here.)

(Quick side note for folks that may know me from church: I first acquired this book when I was investigating what people do when they begin to be involved with the Servant Partners mission organization, which sends teams into the urban slums of the Global South to spread the good news of Jesus and to teach the people how to organize their neighborhoods to solve problems of crushing poverty and oppression. When you go to SP's main orientation program in Manila, they ask that you read a set of books beforehand. This is one of them.)

Linthicum does not make any direct statements in favor of anarchism, or say much specific about politics in general, but since I believe that the main concepts of his book are crucial for making concrete plans for dealing with the crises of our day, I will most likely be periodically writing posts derived from different parts of the book. Also, to anyone who wants to better understand how to get together with other Christians to bring forth God's mighty kingdom in the midst of our dark society, without adopting the tired programs and rhetoric of the political Left or Right, I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy.

Please-- if you have any expectation of reading any posts from me about the bible in the future, take a few moments to carefully read, in its entirety (don't worry, it's not that long), the excerpt that I have provided a link to above, because the approach to Scripture described there is what I will be applying in everything I say or write about the Bible. If you disagree with this approach, you will disagree with my statements about what the Bible teaches.

And so, with this preparatory material published, I now feel ready to write on the two subjects I've been itching to write on for a long time now: Paul's brief statement in Romans about the proper relationship of the Christian to "secular government" (Romans 13:1-7), and Jesus' famous "Render unto Caesar" quote, which is reported in almost the exactly same words in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). So stay tuned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Interesting Joel. It makes me curious to read the book, so I just went to and put it on my wishlist. I don't know if I agree with the man or not from the excerpt but there aren't any red flags up at the moment. If I get a copy of the book I will let you know.

8:33 AM EDT  

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