Here is the outline of the project I am doing. My project’s purpose is first to spell out the current biblical research on the context in which the New Testament is written and the early church begins. Until this research we knew very little about the first two centuries. Part I attempts to help us see the Roman Empire, as Warren Carter puts it, not as just a neutral background but as an ever present foreground.
Part II is a look back at the New Testament as we perceive it anew in an empire context. Part III is an excursus into history where we discover that humans have virtually always lived in the context of one empire or another. Finally, Part IV asks how the church, which has been entwined with empire since Constantine, can free itself from this and return to its mission of being an outpost of God’s kingdom in its empire context.
Outline, ON EMPIRE, THE NEW TESTAMENT, AND THE CHURCH:
I Context: Bible and Church in Empire
A Caesar and his Empire of Rome
1 Imperial Religion
a Biographies of Augustus
b Imperial Religion
2 Biblical Scholarship on Empire
B Jesus and his Kingdom of God
II Text: New Testament in the Empire Setting
B Specific book(s) of the New Testament
III Empire in history and today
IV Empire context implications for the church today
V Supplementary issues
A Jesus and the Empire
B Paul and the Empire
D The Powers
“I would like you to do us a favor, though…”
There are more gaps still to be written about the first three parts. But for the moment, I want to ask you help me begin Part IV. Do you know any books that attempt to apply what I term ‘subversive to empire’ principles to the nature and mission of today’s church. If you do, would you go to my Facebook page on Subversive Church (https://www.facebook.com/ChurchSubversive/) and put that information in a comment under this post there? Many thanks, Bud.
IV) Applying Subversive-to-Empire principles in Contemporary Church bibliography (ones I’m aware of so far)
Books are in order of publishing dates.
Everything Must Change: When the World’s Biggest Problems and Jesus’ Good News Collide, Brian McLaren 2009
The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus, Robin Meyers 2012
The Fall of the Church: Roger Haydon Mitchell 2013
Faithful Resistance: Gospel Visions for the Church in a Time of Empire, Rick Ufford-Chase 2016
The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating Apostolic Movements, Alan Hirsch 2006, 2016
Underground Church: A Living Example of the Church in Its Most Potent Form, Brian Sanders and Alan Hirsch 2018
Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice, Sylvia C. Keesmaat and Brian J. Walsh 2019
Theo-Biblical Reflections on Important Issues from the Margins: Black Lives Matter, Incarceration, & Resistance to Empire, Tyree Anderson, and Kurt Clark 2019
Subversive Catholicism: Papacy, Liturgy, Church, Martin Mosbach 2019