This book offers a comprehensive reflection on what it means that Christians claim that "Jesus is Lord" by engaging in a defense of Christian apocalyptic as the criterion for evaluating the "truth" of history and of history's relation to the transcendent political reality that theology calls "the Kingdom of God." The heart of this work comprises an original genealogical analysis of twentieth-century theological encounters with the modern historicist problematic through a series of critical engagements with the work of Ernst Troeltsch, Karl Barth, Stanley Hauerwas, and John Howard Yoder. Bringing these thinkers into conversation at key points with the work of Walter Benjamin, Carl Schmitt, John Milbank, and Michel de Certeau, among others, this genealogy analyzes and exposes the ideologically "Constantinian" assumptions shared by both modern "liberal" and contemporary "post-liberal" accounts of Christian "politics" and "mission." On the basis of a rereading of John Howard Yoder's place within this genealogy, the author outlines an alternative "apocalyptic historicism," which conceives the work of Christian politics as a mode of subversive, missionary encounter between church and world. The result is a profoundly original vision of history that at once calls for and is empowered by a Christian apocalyptic politics, in which the ideologically reductionist concerns for political effectiveness and productivity are surpassed by way of a missionary praxis of subversion and liberation rooted in liturgy and doxology.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"A rare gift--a critic from whom you learn. Though I do not agree with all of his criticisms of my work, Kerr--drawing imaginatively and creatively on the work of Troeltsch and Barth--has rightly framed the questions central to my and Yoder's project. We are in his debt for having done so. In this book, Kerr not only establishes himself as one of the most able readers of my and Yoder's work, but he is clearly a theologian in his own right. We will have much to learn from him in the future." --Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina
"This is a timely book that traverses twentieth century theology to develop a distinctive understanding of church engagement with the world. Finely executed and acutely discerning, it opens up an ecclesiology that is neither culturally accommodating nor counter-cultural. Conceiving the church as fundamentally dispossessive and missionary, Kerr announces a genuinely apocalyptic Christian politics. This is excellent theology for the up and coming generation." --Graham Ward, Head of the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester
"This is a really exciting book: engaging, provocative, and--above all--constructive. Kerr seeks to reaffirm the Christian claim that Jesus Christ is the Lord of history in the face of modernity's attempts to subsume Christ into our history. In spite of the complexity of its material, this fascinating book is so remarkably clear throughout that I found it hard to put down. It should not be ignored."
-Nicholas M. Healy, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Associate Dean, St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. John's University, Queens, New York
Nathan R. Kerr
Nathan R. Kerr is Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of the forthcoming Exodus, Exile, and Ecclesia (Cascade Books).