Christ, History and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission (Theopolitical Visions)

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9781606081990: Christ, History and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission (Theopolitical Visions)
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This book offers a comprehensive reflection on what it means that Christians claim that "Jesus is Lord" by engaging in a defense of Christian apocalyptic as the criterion for evaluating the "truth" of history and of history's relation to the transcendent political reality that theology calls "the Kingdom of God." The heart of this work comprises an original genealogical analysis of twentieth-century theological encounters with the modern historicist problematic through a series of critical engagements with the work of Ernst Troeltsch, Karl Barth, Stanley Hauerwas, and John Howard Yoder. Bringing these thinkers into conversation at key points with the work of Walter Benjamin, Carl Schmitt, John Milbank, and Michel de Certeau, among others, this genealogy analyzes and exposes the ideologically "Constantinian" assumptions shared by both modern "liberal" and contemporary "post-liberal" accounts of Christian "politics" and "mission." On the basis of a rereading of John Howard Yoder's place within this genealogy, the author outlines an alternative "apocalyptic historicism," which conceives the work of Christian politics as a mode of subversive, missionary encounter between church and world. The result is a profoundly original vision of history that at once calls for and is empowered by a Christian apocalyptic politics, in which the ideologically reductionist concerns for political effectiveness and productivity are surpassed by way of a missionary praxis of subversion and liberation rooted in liturgy and doxology.

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Review:

'Morris has organised a great variety of texts in a way that will interest many readers to learn more about Maurice. Morris's reader provides an interesting collection of texts that will help the reader to appreciate the main issue of Maurice's theology and the vibrant commitment of his faith'. --The Living Church, October 2008

This is a really exciting book: engaging, provocative, and above all constructive. Kerr seeks to reaffirm the Christian claim that Jesus Christ is the Lord of history in the face of modernity s attempts to subsume Christ into our history. He sets up the issues by means of a lucid and penetrating analysis of Troeltsch s universalist historicism, which attempts to place Christ and Christianity in the service of the political and social projects of modernity, a form of Constantianism . The subsequent struggle to reaffirm Christ s Lordship without abstracting from Christ s own singular historicity is recounted in chapters on Barth and Hauerwas. Both are treated masterfully, with trenchant yet fair critical analysis, and always with a constructive intent. The critique of Hauerwas will surprise some, since in spite of his intent Hauerwas ends up looking much more Troeltschian than one would expect. The book culminates in a Yoder-inspired case for apocalyptic historicism , an original and satisfying proposal that draws together elements of all the thinkers he discusses. In spite of the complexity of its material, this fascinating book is so remarkably clear throughout that I found it hard to put down. Kerr s sophisticated description of apocalyptic historicism addresses a multitude of significant issues in Christology, ecclesiology and missiology. It should not be ignored, for it provides an excellent point of departure for further inquiry into the relation between Christ and church, and church and world. --Nicholas M. Healy, Professor, Theology and Religious Studies and Associate Dean, St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. John's University, Queens, NY

A rare gift a critic from whom you learn. Though I do not agree with all of his criticisms of my work, Kerr--drawing imaginatively and creatively on the work of Troeltsch and Barth-- has rightly framed the questions central to my and Yoder s project. We are in his dept for having done so. In this book, Kerr not only establishes himself as one of the most able readers of my and Yoder s work, but he is clearly a theologian in his own right. We will have much to learn from him in the future. --Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC

About the Author:

Professor Nathan R. Kerr is Assistant Professor of Religion at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN.

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