The Politics of Premature Rule

I’ve just posted over on the Political Theology Today blog, on the subject of the Fall as a story of premature rule:

The example of the adam and his wife should be a cautionary one for us, encouraging us to exercise a great deal more trepidation in our approach to politics and rule. Too often in our exercise of political theology, we may proceed under the blithe assumption that we are suited for rule in the wider world, without having first attended to the more rudimentary and far less glamorous task of learning wisdom through faithful obedience, lessons learned in the small things of life.

In our day, the church can, in an overweening desire to wield influence on the national stage, neglect or abandon the immediate tasks given to it, forsaking the serving and guarding of the various gardens in which it has been placed for the dangerous promise of a prominence and a power for which it is not prepared. As in Eden, the result is shameful exposure of guilt and insufficiency.

Read the whole thing here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Ethics, Genesis, Guest Post, OT, Politics, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Politics of Premature Rule

  1. Pingback: The Politics of Premature Rule | By the Mighty Mumford

  2. Physiocrat1 says:

    A thoughtful piece which reminded me of an idea for a Mere Fidelty episode- YEC vs OEC vs Theistic Evolution etc (apologies for any flavours missed). A particularly interesting line of discussion would be how taking such positions effect wider theologies.

    • We have discussed the possibility of such an episode and have been exploring potential guests. It would be a stimulating one! And probably rather controversial too.

      • Physiocrat1 says:

        Good stuff. I’ve listened to almost all the episodes you’ve produced and one thing I’d like to hear more of is controversy. Not in shouting at each other but direct, articulate disagreement. For example as a complement to the written output of Mere O an episode pre-election with a thoughtful Christian Trump and Clinton supporter with Matt taking the third position could well be a stimulating and edifying episode

  3. Aaron Siver says:

    Hi Alastair,

    I read the whole piece. Great stuff. I especially appreciated the concluding application about the dangers of the church prematurely seizing lofty political aspirations if she isn’t being faithful in the little things first nor is she growing in wisdom.

    This is a bit of a tangent, but since you brought up the concept of Adam, maturity, and the eventual lawfully partaking of the tree of knowledge, it comes to my mind. Do you have any thoughts on the scuffle between the Truly Reformed and the Federal Vision about “Merit vs. Maturity” as James B. Jordan framed it? Does it really have to be just one or the other?

    I’ve thought for years that there can be useful coexistence of both aspects. I can see a covenant of works and the importance of the active obedience of Christ where Adam failed and its imputation to us in the whole righteousness of Christ. And I can see the growth in wisdom on Christ’s part at true Man. I look at Romans 5 juxtaposing the one offense of Adam and the one righteousness of Christ, and I see both doing what they did at the same place—the tree of knowledge. Adam rushes ahead prematurely and presumptuously and transgresses a command from God not to partake of the tree that kills. Christ matures and then obeys a command from God to partake of the tree that kills. But the results are different.

    Any thoughts?


    • Thanks, Aaron. I think that it is possible to retain the best of both frameworks. Carefully defining our use of the term ‘merit’ seems to be important to me. Framing matters in terms of ‘earning’ rather than in terms of, say, ‘worth’ may be part of the problems that we face here.

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