Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 1

After a great introduction, the authors of Seeking the City turn the readers attention to the biblical narrative itself and what it says about the nature of politics, cities, and economics. First, the Old Testament. The authors summarize the Old Testament narrative thusly:
the narrative shows clearly the economic consequences of man's efforts in a world governed ultimately by the God of the Bible. Scarcity and its companion, poverty, are the direct result of man's spiritual problems. (70)
The authors then add that God created the world and man in it to work the ground and enjoy its abundance. But the Fall and the subsequent generations that follow it suffer under the consequences of sin resulting in scarcity. This, then, leads to the following conclusion:
In our century it is fashionable to make men and women the victims of all kinds of systemic, "structural" (current usage: "beyond our control") evil and injustice. everything from obesity to substance abuse to marital failure to children born out of wedlock to poverty to plain ignorance and illiteracy, not to mention outright criminality, is seen as really a problem to be addressed "through the system" (current usage: "with political, governmental answer") and its attempt to get at the so-called "root causes" of such activities (seen as "structural evil"). The narratives of the OT deny this by showing that these evils proceed from human beings themselves and their failure to rule themselves. (73)
This is a key point to what the authors will argue going forward. Certainly there are systemic and structural challenges in America (and in every society). Yet Scripture is clear that there are systemic sins because the system is controlled by individual sinners.

In this sense, former President Ronald Reagan was only partially right when he said that government is not the solution, it is the problem. Yet even that is too simplistic. Government is the problem because government is a human enterprise. We the people are the problem. The solution, then, cannot be discovered in tax reform, education reform, health reform, immigration reform, or any other kind of systemic reform. The solution is found only in Christ who regenerates the heart.


"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Preface

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 1
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 2
"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Introduction 3

"Seeking the City": Blogging Through Brand and Pratt - Biblical Theology 1


For more:
"Flourishing Faith" by Chad Brand: A Review
Brand on Coveting and Classwarfare
The Secular vs the Sacred: Brand on the Influence of Luther
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