Between Babel and Beast: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective

Overview

The United States is one of history's great Christian nations, but our unique history, success, and global impact have seduced us into believing we are something more-God's New Israel, the new order of the ages, the last best hope of mankind, a redeemer nation. Using the subtle categories that arise from biblical narrative, Between Babel and Beast analyzes how the heresy of Americanism inspired America's rise to hegemony while blinding American Christians to our failures and abuses of power. The book demonstrates...

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Overview

The United States is one of history's great Christian nations, but our unique history, success, and global impact have seduced us into believing we are something more-God's New Israel, the new order of the ages, the last best hope of mankind, a redeemer nation. Using the subtle categories that arise from biblical narrative, Between Babel and Beast analyzes how the heresy of Americanism inspired America's rise to hegemony while blinding American Christians to our failures and abuses of power. The book demonstrates that the church best serves the genuine good of the United States by training witnesses-martyr-citizens of God's Abrahamic empire.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Theologian and pastor Leithart (Defending Constantine) presents a complex biblical view of empires and a critical approach to American political and commercial imperialism. Starting with the prototypical empires of Babel and Abraham, Leithart argues that both the Old and New Testaments do not oppose empires. Rather, God approves of empires when they support Israel and the Kingdom of God. The author further argues that early American leaders created a civil religion touting America as the new Israel, with the goal of world-wide liberty. The peril of this approach lies in allowing Americans to imagine the country a righteous empire justified in its wicked imperial actions. The solution, for Leithart, is to repent of and repudiate this civic religion. This process, only briefly laid out, involves divorcing the civic from the religious in symbols and celebrations and increasing the strength and influence of Christian churches. Leithart's argument at times seems to meander, and a greater emphasis on the solution to American imperialism and exceptionalism would help readers feel more equipped to counter its evils. Overall, though, the work offers a picture of how far America falls short of being what it claims. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608998173
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/6/2012
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part I Empires in Scripture

1 A Tale of Two Imperialisms 3

2 Rod, Refuge, Messiah, Beast 15

3 The Good News of Empire 34

Conclusion to Part I 52

Part II Americanism

4 Heretic Nation 57

5 Chanting the New Empire 84

Conclusion to Part II 110

Part III Between Babel and Beast

6 American Babel 115

7 Among Beasts 136

Conclusion 151

Endnotes 153

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