Revelation

ALLEGIANCE: TO WHOM? WHY?

Our Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 sermon series is from the Book of Revelation.

We are reading through the book of Revelation.
Not as a map about when and how the world will end.
Rather, we will read it as a “prophetic critique of imperial idolatry (civil religion) and injustice (military, economic, political and religious oppression), and specifically Rome’s imperial idolatry and injustice.”
We will explore how in our time we should wrestle with “matters of allegiance, idolatry, violence, witness and worship.”

We are using four books as main resources:

  1. Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness, Following the Lamb into the New Creation by Michael J. Gorman. Click here to order.
  2. Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics and Devotion in the Book of Revelation by J. Nelson Kraybill. Click here to order.
  3. Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination by Eugene Peterson. Click here to order.
  4. Revelation and the End of All Things by Craig. R. Koester. Click here to order.

Click here to access the sermon recordings, or click here to access our podcast.

You can also download our church APP: Text”APP” to 610-991-8556 or search “Trinity CRC” in your APP store.
Use the APP to listen to the sermons, find Bible passages, sermon notes for all ages, calendar, etc.

The notes on “Empire” from the sermon of November 11, 2018, are here: (taken from Gorman, pp 145-146).

    1. Empire is a system of domination that both seduces the powerful, partly with the promise of more power, and intoxicates common people with its alluring wine, perhaps the false promise of security that perhaps comes from increasing property and power.
    1. Empire is by definition both territorially grand and ideologically expansive, creating a kind of pseudo-ecumenism of politics and religion, and blasphemously promoting its own (alleged) grandeur, making claims about itself that are rightly made only about God.
    1. Empire self-presents as aesthetically pleasing and full of benefactions to its subject, both great and small, but in fact this appearance masks many “abominations” which constitute the essence of the imperial character. Among these abominations are practices that use, abuse and oppress defenseless human beings, treating them like commodities. Contemporary examples include human trafficking, sweat shops, abortion without restraint – and many more abuses of power.
    1. Despite its claims to divine status – sanction, mission, protection, etc – empire is always opposed to the true God and those who represent the true power of God that is manifested in the life and death of Jesus.
    1. Empires grow, in part, because the conquered acquiesce.
    1. Empires often die of a self-inflicted wound; their subjects revolt and destroy the very thing that has empowered them, and this reversal may be seen in a real sense as the judgment of God.
  1. Empires (plural) that is, the particular historical realities, are in fact short-term manifestations, on incarnations, of something much more powerful and permanent that we may call Empire.

Babylon – Empire – is judged for multiple forms of idolatry and injustice, the two fundamental charges brought against humanity throughout the Bible, from the prophets to Jesus to Paul through to Revelation.