Day: October 19, 2009

political theology 101

I’ve been vaguely aware of this strange creature called ‘political theology’ for a while now. But I’m only just beginning to feel like it’s coming into focus for me.

Political theology, as I currently understand it, is on about tracing the implications of the good news of Jesus not just for individuals but for the whole world — via the church. (No doubt I’m grossly oversimplifying things.)

It refuses to understand Christ’s achievement as effectively removing us from the world and history (e.g., by relating us to a transcendent, stable, atemporal point outside of it so we’re sheltered from its ups and downs). Instead, it sees that God is in the business of forging a new community, gathered around the risen Jesus, and commissioned by the Spirit for its witness and work in the world.

And just in case you think this is a hopelessly abstract point to argue over, listen to what Jurgen Moltmann says (in The Future of Creation) about what effect we should expect such a theology to have:

If it is only taken by itself as healing power for sinners and the miserable, without criticism of what is and what considers itself of importance, the gospel becomes the uncritical compensation for existing evil.

Theology like this will have teeth!