"Principalities and Powers" (3-1-15)

"We wrestle not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers" (Ephesians 6:12). But what are these "principalities and powers"? And how do we wrestle with them? On March 1 guest speaker Rick Elgendy launched the first of two Adult Ed discussions on this Biblical concept. Elgendy is visiting professor in public theology at Wesley Theological Seminary.  

For Elgendy, principalities are and powers are not just governments but a "pattern of irregularities" which separate us from the love of God. Said Elgendy: "Taking personal responsibility to reverse this pattern is hard, because we are simultaneously victimized by and complicit in the principalities and powers." according to Elgendy, we make choices which are only relatively better or relatively worse.

Elgendy talked about the history of Christian discipleship from a focus on an individual's relationship with God to a collective or "public" theology. "To me public theology is bringing our theological resources to bear on the common things we share," he said.

Dumbartonians were eager to discuss the implications of public theology. For example, when he questioned a Christian's seeking a position of authority, one participant asked: "Can't we ascend to an elective office?" In Elgendy's view, this is possible but risky. "There's a longstanding debate on how specific Christian discipleship should be," he added. "Our primary role is to follow Christ."

-Ginny Finch