Reading the Gospels as Political Theology?

Were the writers of the gospels, writing, at some levels, as political theologians–arguing, “Jesus is Lord, not Caesar”?

At some levels, I believe we should read the gospels as political theology.   I have three reasons (it’s fine to disagree):  First, when we consider the messianic expectations of the Old Testament people of God, particularly their prophets, this is hard to deny.  We see this in Psalm 2.  Second, the New Testament writers are clearly engaged in anit-imperial rhetoric, through something of a holy subversion, “Jesus is Lord, not Caesar” (Psalm 2 is either referred to or echoed in several places in the NT).  Finally, Jesus himself believed that he was returning YHWH’s rule to the earth–“on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10; cf. Luke 4:42-44; John 18:28-40).

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5 Responses to Reading the Gospels as Political Theology?

  1. Craig Benno says:

    T.C. You make some great points.
    I would nuance them by saying 1.) The context of obedient living before the almighty God, within the political framework of Israel. 2.) The political subversion comes about from the way we live our lives as Kingdom people -within the context of what ever political system we find ourselves and 3.) Yes Jesus will return, once again to establish his Kingdom,

    I know a few peeps who don’t nuance this and whose lives are filled with political activism – but, don’t share the good news with those around them, nor call anyone to personal repentance.

    • TC Robinson says:

      Craig,
      I love your nuanced reply. Right on!!!
      Although I believe his kingdom has already been established though awaiting its consummation at his return (perhaps we’re both saying the same thing here).

      • Craig Benno says:

        Yes, His Kingdom has been established and we wait it’s consumption. It’ like we pray, “Come Lord Jesus come!” – when he has already been, he is here, and we wait for his return.

  2. nwroadrat says:

    Without a doubt, the current political establishment is challenged. I think I’m safe in saying one reason for the challenge was because its central leader had set itself up as “Lord and Savior.” (its not the only reason) Also much later you couldn’t “buy” or “sell” in that system because you were a marginalized minority. I have to echo Craig’s concern about some people being consumed with political activism today.

    • TC Robinson says:

      Craig, yeah, we’re on the same page.

      Yeah, good point on “Lord and Savior” piece, beginning with the first Caesar.

      Our political activism are too imbalance, for the most part. My take, of course.

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