The Radical Kingdom: The Western Experience of Messianic Hope

The Radical Kingdom: The Western Experience of Messianic Hope

The Radical Kingdom: The Western Experience of Messianic Hope

The Radical Kingdom: The Western Experience of Messianic Hope

Excerpt

The Basic Motifs

The title of this book is sufficiently problematical to the average reader to call for some definitions and historical justification of its appropriateness at the outset. In what sense does Christianity have a gospel of revolution, a gospel of radical reform of the human community in history? What is really meant by the suggestion that the gospel is a sociopolitical message? Is this meaningful in terms of theology as traditionally understood or is this a modern anachronism that reaches for some sanctification of its current preoccupations? Is it not true that religion, and especially theology, have for most of their history been very little interested in social reform, appearing to see no relation at all between the gospel and social reform? Is it not true that the orientation of almost all traditional theology and the residue of contemporary preaching are toward the reinforcement of the status quo and the saving of the personal soul for some "pie in the sky by and by," a salvation without any apparent relationship with present or future society? Is it not also true that social radicals, when they arose in a Christian context, stood on the fringes of the church and were regarded by most as out of bounds entirely, and when social reform as a sociological mood and movement arose in the West, its thrust was one of antagonism . . .

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