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Power Grab

Updated: Dec 11, 2020


We Are Priests/Kings:


As creatures created in the imago Dei, by design, we are to reign and rule over the natural world. Scholars have conceded that Adam and Eve were not merely gardeners amid an organic frontier.[1] Rather their creaturely prerogative—those who are priest/kings—were to function and operate within the sphere of dominion over the kosmos (Gen. 1:26; 2:15; cf. Num. 3:7-7; 8:25-26; 18:5-6; 1 Chron. 23:32; Ezek. 44:14).[2] Thus, their spiritual responsibility was to exercise power and authority within the cultural mandate in order to bring forth prosperity, growth, and development (cf. Gen. 1:28). In one sense, humanity was created for kingship. In another, that kingship demanded servitude and covenantal fidelity; hence, the priesthood.[3]


Yet within a post-Edenic context, the movement toward power has been tainted by perversion, corruption, and debasement (cf. Gen. 3:1-7). Rather than using power as a tool toward a greater end—the glory of God—humanity’s ploy is, now, coupled with the devastation of self-centeredness; communally and individually. Power, then, terminates upon the expansion and advancement of tyranny amid an anthropocentric end (cf. Gen. 11:1-9; Tower of Babel). Thus, cursedness cascades from these grievous endeavors and leaves humanity thirsting for redemption; for justice.


Power Struggle:


If cultural Marxism has any influence within the wider scope of societal development, the changing of hegemonic structures is paramount toward the narrative that it espouses. If so, however, the biblical notion of sin, which is apparent within the fabric of the created order (cf. Rom. 1:18-32) and confirmed through divine revelation (cf. Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22), must usurp the naturalistic tendency of the Marxist paradigm. In so doing, the hegemonic shift—if void of any transformational antidote and objective standard—is merely a reestablishment of an oppressive guard which continues to reveal the heinous predicament which plagues humanity itself; depravity and, furthermore, tyranny.


Depravity as Power. The biblical narrative frames reality into two spheres; the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Those who have been redeemed through the blood of Christ are called to operate in accords to the kingdom of God while those who walk according to the spirit of the world (cf. 1 Jn. 2:15-25) function in concert with the kingdom of darkness. To this end, the Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 2:1-3 (cf. 6:12; italics mine),

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

In order to truly work toward the greater good of the whole one must grasp the ultimate end, the glory of God. Accordingly, in the same epistle Paul states that God's salvific aim is "to the praise of his glorious grace" (Eph. 1:6; cf. 1:12). Thus, the posture to which we find ourselves in is not one that is morally neutral, but rather flows out of the kingdom to which we reside. Simply put, the authority and power that is expressed amid our creative design is contingent upon the residual propensity of our dynastic allegiance. Hence, an exercise of power—one which is to bring forth prosperity among the created order—must be tempered by an objective standard and divine intervention via the Gospel because, ultimately, the authority espoused is representative of the reign and rule of the Creator God Himself.


Tyranny as Perversion. The tendencies, then, toward perversion is cemented upon the notion that humanity's aim terminates upon himself. Or put another way, the fundamental ploy of Eden was humanity's movement toward autonomy; the dethroning of God.


Hence, the idea of perversion presupposes an objective standard, which creation itself is called to oblige. Tyrannical regimes, then, stem from disparities which fail to acknowledge the standard and, furthermore, the Creator; exchanging the truth for a lie (cf. Rom. 1:23, 25, 26). Without such transcendent alignment, the hegemonic shift is merely musical chairs of oppressive entities.


Wielding the Power of the Kingdom:


Paul rightly asserts, then, that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Interestingly, the "all" mentioned by the apostle is grounded upon the premise that the Jew (cf. Rom. 2:17-29) as well as the Gentile (cf. Rom. 1:18-32; 2:12-16) are under the same misfortune; all are under condemnation: "For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law" (Rom. 2:12).


Therefore, the coming of the kingdom through the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is inaugurated by the power of the Spirit is sufficient to govern and inform the reign and rule of the new humanity. Though an over-realized eschatology should not be assumed, the internal work of the Spirit in regeneration should be prioritized if change is to be wielded. Without such a power tethered to the objective standard of the Word, the struggle for hegemony will only be a deflection indicative of musical chairs which is coupled with an anticipation to wield the whip of the new oppressor.

 

***footnotes***


[1] J. Ryan Lister, The Presence of God: Its Place In the Storyline of Scripture and the Story of Our Lives (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015), 83. Martin also asserts that “this role anticipates a process whereby humanity was to extend this kingship until the entire creation was under the sphere of its rule.” See also Oren R. Martin, Bound for the Promise Land: The Land Promise in God’s Redemptive Plan (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015), 36.


[2] John H. Walton, Genesis: NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2001), 174. See also Thomas R. Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 6.


[3] Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2003), 68-72.

 

McYoung Y. Yang (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; ThM, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)


He is the husband to Debbie Yang and the father to McCayden (11), McCoy (10), McColsen (8), and DeYoung (5).  He is one of the Teaching Pastors at Covenant City Church which is a church-plant in St. Paul, MN. McYoung is continuing his doctoral studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO where he hopes to obtain his PhD in Systematic Theology. His ambition is to use his training as a means to serve the local church in living life through the Gospel lens. McYoung enjoys reading/writing, sports, and playing with his children.

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