Bishop Wright’s lecture on God and Politics are worth quoting. Lee Irons–who strongly opposes Wright’s view of the Kingdom–posted these quotes on his blog.
Wright’s lecture on God and Politics
Though, I find myself in constant disagreement with Wright’s perplexing view of governmental intervention in civil affairs, overwhelming taxation–which resembles Jim Wallis’ leftist socialistic approach–nevertheless, I too share Wright’s concerns with America’s imperialistic enterprise.
Some Reformed interpreters like to postulate that Psalm 2 is only an eschatological promise never to be seen or experienced by God’s people. What hope does the Psalmist provide then for God’s people? Wright corrects this absurd claim and restores the unmistakable Biblical claim that the earth is the Lord’s. As a result, Psalm 2 provides a response to the gnostic tendency of some reformed scholars who are more and more imitating their dispensational brothers in their “escapist” theology.
Jesus did indeed launch God’s saving sovereignty on earth as in heaven, but this couldn’t be accomplished without his death and resurrection. In other words, the problem for which God’s kingdom project was and is the answer was deeper than could be addressed by a social program alone. Equally too, yes, Jesus did die for our sins, but his whole agenda of dealing with sin and its effects and consequences was never about rescuing individual souls from the world but about saving humans so that they could become part of his project of saving the world.
Jesus was hailed as already Lord of heaven and earth, and in particular as the one through whom the Creator God will restore and unite all things. And this gives a sharp focus to the present task of earthly rulers … Now, since Jesus’ death and resurrection … they are to look forward … to the ultimate eschaton. One day God will right all wrongs through Jesus, and earthly rulers – whether or not they acknowledge this Jesus and his coming kingdom – in fact are entrusted with the task of anticipating in a measure that final judgment and final mercy … They are to enact in a measure, in advance, the time when God will make all things new and will once again declare that it’s very good.
Along with this vision of God working through earthly rulers there goes a vocation to the church to be the people through whom the rulers are to be reminded of their task and called to account … Part of the way in which the church will do this is by getting on with and setting forward those works of justice and mercy, of beauty and relationship, which the rulers know in their bones ought to be flourishing but which they seem powerless to bring about … Thus, the church in its biblical commitment to doing ‘God in public’ is called to learn how to collaborate without compromise (hence the importance of the common good theory) and to critique without dualism … The aim of this lecture, then, is to encourage readings of the Bible which by highlighting the public-ness of God and the gospel set forward such reforms as will enable the church to play its part in holding the powers to account and thus advancing God’s restorative justice.