When talking about being a citizen of heaven the go to passage is Philippians 3:20. It says literally says our “citizenship is from heaven.” Those who know a little bit more about the historical background of Philippians will know that Philippi was a Roman colony and will make the connection that the kind of citizenship Paul alludes to isn’t about going to heaven but rather representing heaven on earth. These are associations I have made myself in the past and recently however, things are not so simple. Continue reading “Philippian Citizenship?”
One of the important things I learnt from reading Dr Joshua W. Jipp’s excellent book, Christ is King: Paul’s Royal Ideology (Fortress Press, 2015), is learning how to spot ancient political tropes in the New Testament. One such trope I was not aware of was the shepherd-king. Continue reading “The Royal Shepherd”
In this series of posts on the nature of church, I have argued that in the New Testament (NT) the Greek word usually translated as “church”, ekklesia, still retained a political meaning for the early Christians even though they did not function like an ordinary political entity. In the last post, I argued the reason they seemed to behave in an apolitical manner was because they had a radical new understanding of power due to the death, resurrection and exaltation of the Messiah Jesus. In this post, I wish to further explore the political meaning of church in the context of the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Church and Kingdom”
I ended the last post in this series with the question, if the self-designation “church” in the New Testament (NT) still retains the political meaning of the original greek word “ekklesia” which means assembly or gathering, why did the early Christians not function like any other civic assembly of the time? The simple answer is the Christians had a very different view of politics to say the least. The reason for this radical difference was their unparalleled revolutionary leader, Jesus of Nazareth. There have been many great and revolutionary leaders but what makes Jesus truly unparalleled is he rose from the dead. This single event that bursts the bounds of this reality generating a new reality is what redefines power. Continue reading “A New Polity”
There are two trees that changed the course of human destiny. They stand as the poles that bracket the human story. The first was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The second, the cross. The first man, Adam, took from the first tree and the second Adam, Christ, took the second. The first man’s deed was the supreme act of disobedience that brought death. The second Adam’s deed, reaching for the second tree, was the supreme act of obedience but it also meant his death. However, Christ’s obedient submission to death was not the end of his, or Adam’s, story.