Gospel and Empire

gospel empire sm

January 22 - February 26, 2017

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christians at Colossae—known to us as the book of Colossians—which seeks to address some of the challenges of being a follower of Jesus and a proclaimer of his good news in the context of first-century Rome. The ancient nature of this text and its prescriptions for the Colossian church belies the ways that Paul was seeking to subvert the ethos of the empire. Paul's willingness to undermine the Roman way of life for the sake of the gospel serves as a powerful challenge to twenty-first century subjects of global corporate imperialism.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gospel and empire (PART 1)

The Apostle Paul addresses the Colossians with words of encouragement as this fledgling Christian community struggles to reconcile the gospel to the powerful forces of empire that surround them. Though we have no emperor, we still live in a time of empire, making Paul’s words as relevant today as they were in the first century.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

GOSPEL AND EMPIRE (PART 2)

After delivering his greetings to the Colossians, Paul moves immediately into what is best described as a hymn to Christ, some of the most poetic language in the New Testament. Paul does this in order to prepare the Colossians for all that will follow in the letter, and to help them see the world around them through the lens of Christ, instead of through the lens of empire.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

GOSPEL AND EMPIRE (PART 3)

After delivering his greetings to the Colossians, Paul moves immediately into what is best described as a hymn to Christ, some of the most poetic language in the New Testament. Paul does this in order to prepare the Colossians for all that will follow in the letter, and to help them see the world around them through the lens of Christ, instead of through the lens of empire.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

GOSPEL AND EMPIRE (PART 4)

Paul levels his sights on Jewish law, and accuses the Colossians of choosing what is just a shadow (the law) instead of the substance (Christ). While the law is no longer a source of conflict for the Christian church today, the temptation to choose shadow over substance is still very real.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

GOSPEL AND EMPIRE (PART 5)

After addressing in great depth the challenges that face the church from the outside, Paul now focuses on the internal struggles of the Christian community, starting with how we treat one another. But the impact of our behavior extends far beyond the internal workings of the church; it determines the very nature of our witness to the world.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

GOSPEL AND EMPIRE (PART 6)

In one of the New Testament's more confounding passages, Paul apparently gives his blessing to an oppressive social order. While it deserves some nuance, it's also not quite what we in the 21st century would like it to be. Nevertheless, behind his directives for the Christian community lies the very root and challenge of Christian unity: Christlike submission to one another.