The Powers That be: Theology for a New Millennium Hardcover – 1 Jan 1998
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Dr. Walter Wink is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. He received the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize, awarded by the Fellowship of Reconciliation for 2006. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The primary message is that Jesus preached and lived a nonviolent gospel. But this leads to the recognition that (other than in the first few centuries) the Church has mostly embraced militarism.
Wink reviews the roots of Just War thinking and finds them wanting (no war can really be said to fulfill the criteria) but he also considers Pacifism and concludes that too often Pacifists have taken a weak, passive approach far removed from the active response Jesus counseled.
Drawing on the practical out workings of a non violent approach adopted by King and Gandhi, Wink sets out how Jesus rejected Violence but advocated active resistance to evil. And he also sets out how the Christian command to love enemies is incompatible with lethal force.
Wink is a realist and addresses the suspicion that the advocates of non-violence are cowards. He quotes Gandhi who demanded that his recruits to the non-violent struggle should be at least as brave as the soldiers who were willing to fight and die; rejecting violence is not necessarily a way to personal safety.
But in non-violent struggle there is hope, as enemies can be changed and a new order built on firm foundations, in stark contrast to violent revolution, which generally deposes one tyrant who is then replaced by another.
And of course this is not mere theory- a review of history shows how non violent struggle has achieved phenomenal success in such places as S Africa, the US and Eastern Europe.
The question remains as to why the mainline Churches seem to have rejected the way of Jesus.Read more ›
--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Wink argues that humans live under "domination systems"--the "powers and principalities that be." These are the structural and ideological institutions that manipulate our minds, lives, and activities, reduce our freedom, and retard our flourishing. As Christians, we're called to resist them without buying into the "myth of redemptive violence"--the centuries' old chestnut that violence is the only kind of force that works, and that because it works it justifies itself. Jesus showed an alternative way--the path of nonviolent resistance.
In examining nonviolent resistance, Wink is masterful. He persuasively destroys the stereotype of nonviolence as a turn-the-other-cheek passivity by exploring what Jesus really meant when he advocated cheek-turning or walking the second mile. Along the way, he offers one of the most insightful analysis of the post-Jesus "just war doctrine" I've ever read. Wink is realistic enough to not completely reject the doctrine. But he does suggest that we quit using it as a justification for war and begin thinking of it instead in terms of "violence-reduction criteria."
An amazing book that every Christian ought to read and meditate on, particularly now that the dogs of war are baying loudly. I give it ten stars.
The essence of Wink's thought revolves around "redemptive violence," the belief that "violence saves." The powers Wink engages are those which employ violence to maintain their dominance. This dominace of violence, ranging from literal torture and death to softer forms of humiliation and degradation, are described as the explicit focus of Jesus' life and message. His death, rather than being a violent appeasement of a blood-thirsty God, is revealed as the only nonviolent means of defeating the powers - embracing the unjust suffering of violence as a means of bringing humiliation and reproach to the powerful.
Those looking for an exegetical analysis of Jesus' sayings may be initially frustrated by Wink. He uses biblical references as illustrations, not proof texts, and his imagination frequently stretches the limits of "proper" hermeneutics. Nonetheless, his imagination captures the spiritual essence of Jesus' call for nonviolent opposition to evil in a powerful and convincing manner.
Those hoping for a manual of social activisim will be frustrated by Wink, also. His calls for personal reform and renewal as much as he calls for political change. Most of his psychological musings are clearly derived from CG Jung, but seem to be written by one who has found Jung's insights personally meaningful.
In conclusion, I must commend Wink for his short essay on worldviews and how our unconscious adoption/indoctrination into a worldview influences all that we think and believe. I also commend his analysis of prayer, especially in this worldview context.
As a "recovering fundamentalist" I believe this book may prove to be one of the major pillars in my personal attempt to rebuild my faith. I simply loved it.
How do we think about organizations or nations that do bad things? What are the real demons of the world? Why do wars occur? What is the theory behind nonviolence, and why should Christians understand it? Wink takes some broad, deep and meaningful issues and manages to make cogent arguments in short, simple terminology. I particularly found his discussion of "just war" theology to be helpful.
This is one that I'll refer to again and again as I write sermons and do my own theological discernment. Every pastor should own it, and I highly recommend it to lay persons as well.