Peter Kirk disagrees with author Allan Bevere on a number of issues, but nonetheless he says “. . . [d]espite the weaknesses I have pointed out it is still well worth reading. But it is by no means the last word on a subject of great interest to me. I intend to continue blogging about this, taking up some of the themes from Bevere’s book.”
James Lee reviews Except for Fornication.
Allan draws a very convincing portrait of the changes in the witness of the church starting with everyone's favorite whipping boy, Constantine. The more I read, the more convinced I become that the so-called Constantinian Shift was the worst thing that has happened to the church in its nearly two thousand year history and most of the negatives that have been linked to the church in the centuries since (the religious wars in Europe, the Crusades, the persecution of the Anabaptist's, etc.) can be tied back to this event in the fourth century.
A timely book …
Allan Bevere provides an extract.
We review a lot of books here at the Englewood Review, and our primary selection criteria is books that can be read and discussed in churches, and that will be beneficial in helping churches understand and embody the way of Christ in their particular locations. Bob Cornwall’s Ultimate Allegiance is precisely this sort of book, and in many ways, it is better than many books we review because it hovers close to the biblical texts, terrain in which churches are typically comfortable into launching conversations. I hope and pray that churches will reflect together on Bob’s superb treatment of the Lord’s Prayer and that in so doing, they will find themselves foisted into a whole new world of questions and conversations about what it means – in a day-to-day, hour-by-hour sense – to follow together in the subversive way of Jesus.
Thanks to Chris and ERB for this great review. Read the whole thing.
2:12 PM I just finished editing the next addition to our Areopagus series, The Politics of Witness, by my co-editor Allan Bevere.
Allan’s goal is clear: the abolition of Constantinianism. He writes:
In other words, the church’s first task is not to work to coerce the state to take care of the poor. The church’s first task is to live lives of simplicity and generosity and take care of the poor ourselves. In so doing we will be witnessing to the nation that it would be a better state if it took care of the poor as well. The church’s first task is not to coerce the state into outlawing abortions. The church’s first task is to reject abortion as a Christian option and live in such a way that we welcome all children into the world. In so doing we will be witnessing to the nation (as Tertullian stated to the Roman Empire) that it would be a better state if it didn’t kill its children.
Well put indeed. Allan observes that “both the right and the left seek political power in order to fundamentally transform America according to their understanding of biblical values while ending up being nothing more than faith-based extensions of the Republican and Democratic Parties.” I couldn’t have said it better.
I am pleased to commend both book and author. Not that Allan Bevere needs commendation from me; his one and only desire is to be found worthy by the One who judges rightly. And his book will commend itself. It fleshes out theory in a very practical way. I will be very excited to see this book in print.