For Christians, Jesus' significance goes beyond teaching valuable lessons and doing good deeds. From a Christian perspective, Jesus was sacrificed for the redemption of a world that had fallen away from its holy creation. Conventional Christian teachings often view this sacrifice solely in terms of one’s individual salvation, so that Jesus’ sacrifice is limited to forgiveness for our personal transgressions. Many theologians, however, assert that Jesus’ death and resurrection promise redemption and transformation of the world—this includes the political and economic systems we relate to every day (e.g., schools, healthcare industries, corporations, governments, etc.).
Dr. Walter Wink, a Christian theologian and former Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, discusses systemic “powers and principalities” in many of his writings.
“The Powers are the necessary social structures of human life, and it is not a matter of indifference to God that they exist. God made them… The Jesus who died at the hands of the Powers died every bit as much for the Powers as he died for people… Nothing is outside the redemptive care and transforming love of God. The Powers are not intrinsically evil; they are only fallen. What sinks can be made to rise again… We can love our nation or church or school, not blindly, but critically, recalling it to its own highest self-professed ideals and identities. We can challenge these institutions to live up to the vocation that is theirs by virtue of their sheer createdness.”-- Engaging the Powers
Christian leaders working with Justice Matters find that organizing together with other congregations provides a vehicle to pursue redemption for all God’s creation.
For further study on Redeeming the Individual and the Systems we encourage you to read Dr. Walter Wink’s Naming the Powers, Unmasking the Powers, Engaging the Powers, and The Powers That Be.
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