Thursday, February 09, 2006

Powers and Principalities

“The primary task of the Church with reference to the Powers and Principalities is to unmask their idolatrous pretensions, to identify their dehumanizing values, to strip from them the mantle and credibility and to set free their victims. This includes the testimony to the crucified - to the rulers and powers. It does not include a commission to create a new society; rather we are, in the midst of society, to call the Powers' bluff, to de-legitimate and ridicule the Domination System. Central in calling the Powers' bluff, our offer of praise and worship to the one true God stands. Because in and through that praising of the one true God, the bluff of all idols is revealed. So as we fight the Powers, we shall ascribe to God glory and strength.” Wink, Walter (Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress press, 1984)

In the first chapter of his letter to the Colossians (v.15-20), Paul wrote, Jesus Christ "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

How do you define "powers and principalities?" To whom do you think Paul is referring? To whom do you think Wink is referring? What do you think our role as Christians in the present day should be in relation to living out our faith in the face of rampant nationalism? What might it look like for you to live out your faith in ways that make it very clear to those around you that you are firstly a Christ-follower and secondly a citizen of whatever nationality is yours? What would it mean in your own personal situation to "call the Powers' bluff?"