Posted by: rogermitchell | August 19, 2012

The Fall of the Church: revised purpose statement

As previous posts have made clear, in response to many requests, I am currently writing two short and accessible books aimed at making my research more widely available for those whose gifts and callings make the academic approach of Church, Gospel & Empire: How the Politics of Sovereignty Impregnated the West a difficult challenge. I’m hoping that these will be very useful resources for the promised Kenarchy Course when it starts. In order to achieve this aim I am inviting your collaboration and help. A draft outline of the first chapter of book one, The Fall of the Church, will follow later today, and outlines for the four others will appear over the coming week. In the meantime, here is my revised statement of the book’s objectives which I have reworked in response to the helpful comments I have already received.

The book has six inter-related objectives the shared purpose of which is to expose the deep structures of the contemporary West.
Firstly, to show how the historical alignment of Christianity with the dominant law-hierarchy-temple system and the consequent displacement of Jesus, helps account for the contemporary conundrum of the sense of marginalisation felt by both Christian and secular people.
Secondly, to separate out two conflicting streams in Christianity: the love stream which the stories of Jesus portray, and the sovereignty based law-hierarchy-temple system which much of the theology, ecclesiology and mission history of the church represents.
Thirdly, it attempts to explain briefly and succinctly how these two streams arose in the early stages of Western history.
Fourthly, its purpose is to demonstrate that far from being two partly complementary, or at least alternative expressions of Christianity, the sovereignty stream embodies and carries the very system of governance that the love stream depicted in the gospel story shows Jesus opposing and bringing to an end.
Fifthly, the intention is to make clear from the story of Jesus in its context, both of its Hebrew history and its Gentile Greco-Roman present, that rather than confronting the empire system in its own violent, dominating spirit, Jesus and therefore the Father and Holy Spirit, have remained with the church and with the empire. That in the same way that God stayed with Israel and its neighbouring imperial powers during the fall of the Jews, in order to empty out the domination system from within, this is what has continued with the fall of the church and is coming to a head, right now, in our contemporary Western world.
Finally, the purpose of the book is to prepare the ground for the emergence and practice of kenarchy: the humanity-loving, world-embracing, inclusive approach to life and the universe introduced and explored in the companion volume Discovering Kenarchy.



  1. I am simply responding to your invitation to comment. I am not academic minded. I do try and want to understand your posts, but have great difficulty. This is probably due to my lack of use of words and grammar. I feel marginalised because of this. I personally don’t find this popular addition any easier. Sorry Roger

  2. Hi John,
    You are right that academic training and language are part of the status system that makes us feel marginalised. My hope is that my work will overcome this by exposing the roots of the system and how it works. So well done for persevering, and please hang in there. Words like subsumption and transcendence will be explained in the chapter.

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