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The Politics of Jesus Paperback – June 9, 1994
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"I am convinced that when Christians look back on this century of theology in America, The Politics of Jesus will be seen as a new beginning."
Dennis P. McCann
"When it was first published, The Politics of Jesus effected a coup de grace against neo-orthodox biblical theologies that had managed to depoliticize the ethical significance of Jesus' message. This second edition is no less provocative in contesting the reevaluations of New Testament ethics emerging from recent scholarship on the historical Jesus. Yoder presses beyond the question of whether Jesus was political to ask what sort of politics is the mark of Christian discipleship."
Max L. Stackhouse
"Although most Catholics, Calvinists, and Christian realists will remain skeptical of Yoder's view of Jesus and of politics, we are always challenged by him. This new edition includes acute responses to many critics. It will keep the discussion vibrant as Christians today decide how to engage our emerging cosmopolitan, global civilization."
From the Back Cover
Tradition has painted a portrait of a Savior who stands aloof from governmental concerns and who calls his disciples to an apolitical life. But such a picture of Jesus is far from accurate, according to John Howard Yoder. This watershed work in New Testament ethics leads us to a Savior who was deeply concerned with the agenda of politics and the related issues of power, status, and right relations. By canvassing Luke's Gospel, Yoder argues convincingly that the true impact of Jesus' life and ministry on his disciples' social behavior points to a specific kind of Christian pacifism in which "the cross of Christ is the model of Christian social efficacy". This second edition of The Politics of Jesus provides up-to-date interaction with recent publications that touch on Yoder's timely topic. Following most of the chapters are new "epilogues" summarizing research conducted during the last two decades - research that continues to support the outstanding insights set forth in Yoder's original work.
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That being said, I am disappointed with Yoder's view of Biblical authority. I feel as though Yoder does not accept a strong, conservative view of Scripture. Yoder often seems to pit the Bible against itself by creating dichotomies within the Bible concerning certain subjects. I begin with the presupposition that the Bible is inerrant, infallible, inspired and literally preserved for us through all generations. I also hold to the Reformation view of the Perspicuity of Scripture. In my opinion, Yoder departs from these truths to a more liberal, neo-orthodox view of Scripture.
For example, the book seems to gloss over the passages of the Bible concerning warfare, self defense and the use of the sword by the state against evildoers in a cursory manner. Yoder attempts to insinuate that God never wanted the Joshua campaigns to use violent force since God promised to send the hornets in before them to drive out their enemies (DT 7:20). While DT 7:20 does indeed state that God would send the hornets, no one with even an elementary knowledge of the Old Testament would conclude that God did not command them to literally attack and destroy the inhabitants of the land - unless of course that person did not believe the Scriptures to be historically or literally true (and by "literal" I mean literarily - in context).
I would recommend you read this book and wrestle with the ideas presented therein.