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The Potter's House
1658 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009
In “Come Out, My People,” Wes Howard-Brook outlined an ambitious interpretation of the Bible as a struggle between two competing religious visions: a “religion of empire” and a “religion of creation” embraced by the prophets and Jesus. Here, through a study of the early “church fathers,” he shows how Christianity in effect opted for the religion of empire. This was reflected not just in accommodation to the Roman Empire after Constantine, but through the spiritualization of Jesus’ prophetic message. The combined influence of Greek philosophy and Roman imperial social structures shifted the emphasis from fostering egalitarian relationships and transforming the world to the goal of saving one’s “soul.”
Howard-Brook concludes with a reflection on what it might mean to reject imperial Christianity and to rediscover the transformative power of the Good News of Jesus for followers living amidst empire today.
Wes Howard-Brook teaches at Seattle University. He is the author of several Orbis books, including "Come Out, My People," Unveiling Empire, The Church Before Christianity, Becoming Children of God, and co-editor of The New Testament: Introducing the Way of Discipleship.