The Church On The Move

Starling“In the first place, the gospel gives the Christian and the church a momentum toward mission…The gospel speaks to the church that has become comfortable in itself, within its own cozy ecclesiastical circle, and sends it out into the world, to declare and demonstrate the saving Lordship of Jesus in ever corner of the earth…But this momentum into the world in mission is not the only kind of mobility that the gospel imparts to the church.  At the same time, equally, the gospel speaks about a coming Kingdom, and constitutes the church as a pilgrim people, as a people on the road toward a destination they haven’t arrived at yet, as a people whose home is in another place.  The gospel speaks to the church that has gotten comfortable in the world, at home in this present age, and it sets the church on pilgrimage…The church that is called for by the gospel is a mobile community; it is a community on mission into the world, and a community on a pilgrimage through the world, toward the life of the coming Kingdom of God…

The two priorities—mission and holiness—are not competing ones, although there have been plenty of Christians over the centuries and in our own time who have acted as if they were, and have pitted the one against the other.  The holiness we are called to is a holiness-in-mission, lived not in cloistered isolation from the world but in close proximity to those whom we are seeking to serve and evangelize.  And the mission we are called to is a holy mission—one that has been entrusted to a people whose lifestyle is to stand out in sacred distinctiveness from the lifestyle of the surrounding world.” (David I. Starling, UnCorinthian Leadership: Thematic Reflections on 1 Corinthians, pp. 31-42)

Newbigin“The very essence of the Church’s life is that she is pressing forward to the fulfillment of God’s purpose and the final revelation of His glory, pressing forward both to the ends of the earth and to the end of the world, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.  The treasure entrusted to her is not for herself, but for the doing of the Lord’s will, not for hoarding but for trading.  Her life is to be forever spent, to be cast into the ground like a corn of wheat, in the ever-new faith and hope of the resurrection harvest.  Her life is precisely the life under the sign of the Cross.” (Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God, pp. 175-76)

“The Church is the pilgrim people of God.  It is on the move—hastening to the ends of the earth to beseech all men to be reconciled to God, and hastening to the end of time to meet its Lord who will gather all into one.  Therefore the nature of the Church is never to be finally defined in static terms, but only in terms of that to which it is going.  It cannot be understood rightly except in a perspective which is at once missionary and eschatological.” (Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God, p. 22)

The following represents an utterly subjective, partial and inadequate list of works I have found helpful and informative on Christian political theology.  I’ve tried to include a representative sampling of a wide range of perspectives.  What else would you add?

The Barmen Declaration (here; written in response to the Nazi Third Reich in WWII)

Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony / The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics

Cavanaugh, Bailey and Hovey (eds.), An Eerdmans Reader in Contemporary Political Theology

Jennifer McBride, The Church for the World: A Theology of Public Witness

Charles T. Mathewes, A Theology of Public Life / Republic of Grace: Augustinian Thoughts for Dark Times

Andy Crouch, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power

Miroslav Volf, A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good / “Soft Difference: Theological Reflections in the Relationship Between Church and Culture in 1 Peter”

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus / The Christian Witness to the State / The Original Revolution

James K. A. Smith, Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology

Elizabeth Philips, Political Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed

George Kalantzis and Gregory W. Lee (eds.), Chrisitan Political Witness

Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation

Charles D. Drew, Body Broken: Can Republicans and Democrats Sit in the Same Pew?

Karl Barth, Community, State, and Church

David VanDrunen, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture

Scot McKnight, Kingdom Conspiracy

Richard Bauckham, The Bible in Politics: How to Read the Bible Politically

William Cavanaugh, Migrations of the Holy: God, State and the Political Meaning of the Church

James Davison Hunter, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World

Amy E. Black (ed.), The Church and Politics: Five Views

Oliver O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology

Oliver O’Donovan and Joan Lockwood O’Donovan, From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought