Sunday, 19 September 2010

Newbigin on Government, the Cross, and the Kingdom of God

Lesslie Newbigin on government. Shades of Oliver O'Donovan. This'll be my last Newbigin post for now.
Kingship in the human sense - the authority to rule over a people - is, according to Scripture, something authorized by God and also something constantly corrupted by human sin... Jesus did not set out to destroy the rule exercised by the Roman and Jewish establishment. By manifesting and exercising the true kingship of God, he exposed their corruption and thereby... disarmed them, robbed them of their pretensions to absolute authority. He exercised his kingship by bearing witness to the truth - to the one great reality against which all claims to reality have to be tested (John 18:37). All kingship from Calvary onward is tested and judged by the standard of the true kingship established there...

[The church] has the duty to address the governing authority of the civil community with the word of God... the church reminds them of the fact that - whether they know him or not - Christ is the judge before whom they must stand in the end to give account of their stewardship of the power he gave them. With that responsibility comes, necessarily, the duty of regular and public prayer for the governing authorities.
Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (Eerdmans, 1986): 126, 129.

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