Sunday, June 23, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta, excerpt eleven)

from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta:

The narrative arc of the Bible tells of an aspirational evolution in mankind’s thinking, Volf said. What began in Exodus—the story of God’s chosen people escaping bondage and eventually coming into the covenant state of Israel—was finished by the arrival of Jesus, who taught His disciples to take His message to all the nations. The transformational effect of this cannot be overstated. Immediately, almost overnight, a people who had refused to associate with anyone outside their ethnic tribe began calling them brothers and sisters. “There is neither Jew nor Gentle, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians.

The Bible’s final book, Revelation, paints a utopic vision of Christ living among His followers in a New Jerusalem. This is the believer’s pluralistic destiny, a heavenly melting pot where descendants of every nation, ethnicity, and race are unified, forevermore, in the body of Christ. That vision can be difficult to see, Volf said, when professing Christians are engaged in a “twisting of the religious landscape” that rationalizes social antagonism, clannish nihilism, and even physical violence.

None of this is unprecedented. Religion and politics are natural enemies; both provide a sense of belonging and self-actualization to the masses. Tension between the two is healthy and necessary. When one appropriates the other, history shows that oppression—leading to death and human suffering at a woeful scale—is the inevitable result.

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