In this interview, Nathan R. Kerr reflects on some of the conversations that have emerged in the last two years since the release of his book Christ, History, and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission. In particular, he explores the connections between Christology, the nature and task of theology, and the mission of the church in our contemporary world. These reflections clearly illustrate the challenge that his work poses to contemporary theological discussions of the nature and mission of the church in the world.1

The Other Journal (TOJ): Let’s begin with a twofold question. When your first book, Christ, History, and Apocalyptic,2 came out, it generated significant conversation on a variety of theological blogs, more than I’ve really seen centered on any one book before. Responses ranged from reflexive dismissal to zealous advocacy among those involved in the conversations. What do you make of the discussion as a whole and how has it impacted you?

Nathan R. Kerr (NRK): To begin, I would say that while the amount of attention that Christ, History, and Apocalyptic has received has been unexpected, I am not at all surprised by the controversial conversations it has sparked. Nor am I surprised by the polarizing nature of the responses–both critical and affirmative. I think the polarizing point concerns what I mean when I speak positively of Jesus Christ’s “singularity”—what John Howard Yoder calls Jesus’s “independence.”3 My point about the singularity of Jesus’s historicity is, I think, a rather disarmingly simple one. As I have said before, to insist upon the singularity of Jesus’s historicity is to say that here we are confronted with an event of such radical concreteness and such radical contingency that it resists being rendered explicable in light of some other reality. In many ways, I am simply trying to say what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said when he insisted that the man Jesus is “the Real One” (der Wirliche) whose truth cannot be rendered in terms of some more general account of reality (die Wirklichkeit).4 To say, as Bonhoeffer does, that “the reality of Christ comprises the reality of the world within itself”5 is to short-circuit any mode of reflection whereby some metaphysical or ontological accounting of reality might be achieved and secured in abstraction from the apocalyptic historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, even when that account of reality is purported to have been extracted from the Christ-event itself. No, if Jesus Christ is indeed the Real One, then the truth of reality can only be a truth that is lived and enacted in the reception of this One who gives himself to us ever-anew in the contingent singularity of the other, the stranger, in a way that does not conform to but rather interrupts our previous schematizations of churchly or worldly reality.

So, on the one hand, those who have reacted negatively to my book—and I don’t think “reflexive dismissal” is exactly the right phrase; I think it is more like a reflexive refusal—are right to hear in what I’m saying a clear and decisive “No!” to those theological modes of thinking that would render a given ecclesiological metaphysics or a given discourse of ecclesiastical practice and communal formation as a prior condition for the hearing and doing of the gospel.

On the other hand, I think those who have understood what I am saying and have come to advocate it as such are those who not only recognize the ideological pretensions of those modes of thinking about the church, but who also recognize the apocalyptic event of Christ’s historicity as constitutive of a mode of ecclesia that is at once more catholic and more worldly than any given cultural-linguistic or metaphysical account of the church could pretend to be. There is a recognition that what I am advocating is a missionary mode of becoming church that does not presume that the church always-alreadyis, to borrow Søren Kierkegaard’s way of speaking of the “church militant” vis-à-vis the “church triumphant.”6 There are many, I think, who resonate with what I’m saying because they hear in it an attempt to think about the church that is faithful to the gospel news that God has reconciled the worldto Godself in the apocalyptic event of Jesus Christ, as well as an attempt to think about the way in which this gospel positively forms us as a community of self-giving action whose missionary visibility positively exceeds the kind of visibility of empirical practices that is proper to the conception of the church as a virtue-forming institution.

Now, this is not to say that the conversation turns simply on two different conceptions of the church. If the conversations surrounding my book have convinced me of anything it is that what is at stake between these two divergent trajectories is more than just a matter of difference between two ecclesiologies—between Catholic and Protestant, or priestly and prophetic, for example. Rather, what is at stake is our faithfulness to the gospel itself, the nature and truth of the reality that Jesus Christ is Lord. At issue, then, is not this or that theological program or ecclesiological ideal, but rather the extent to which we are willing to allow the apocalyptic event of Jesus Christ to establish the nature and form of our ecclesial existence in the world. One of the major impacts of these conversations upon me has been an increased awareness on my part of how prone we are to the temptation to promote our own ecclesiological constructions of reality as gospel—the kind of “peddling” that Paul warns against in 2 Corinthians 2:17. There is also an awareness that if the gospel is to break through these given ecclesiological constructions in such a way as to be heard again as news, it will have been by a miracle of God’s grace.

Another thing of which these conversations have convinced me—and Christopher Morse’s new book is right on with this point7—is that if the gospel is to be heard as news today, speaking apocalyptically is unavoidable. To say “Jesus Christ” is to say “apocalypse,” and so to say “apocalypse” rightly is to say “Jesus Christ.” In other words, apocalyptic is rooted in the gospel; the gospel is inescapably apocalyptic—but only because it is thegospel. This reminds me of a comment I heard Bruce McCormack make about a year and a half ago at a meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society, in a paper addressing the question, “Why Should Theology Be Christocentric?” In explaining why it is that we must resist the temptation to abstract from the stark claim that “God is what Jesus does,” he paused to say, “Because the church should not stutter when it says, Jesus is Lord.” That, I think, also expresses what I mean when I say we must resist at every point the temptation to shirk from the stark claim that the apocalypse of Jesus Christ is the gospel.

Finally, and most of all, the conversations have made me grateful for those who have heard and understand something of the gospel in what I’m saying. Such conversation partners continue to spur me on in saying what I am convinced needs to be said about theology in the service of the gospel today.

TOJ: Many of those responding to your work have discerned in it a significant shift in contemporary theology, and some have named it as a new “movement.” In light of this, and in light of what you’ve said just now about the singularity of Christ, how do you think theology, as a discipline, ought to be rethought and practiced in new ways in our contemporary context?

NRK: I don’t know about a “movement.” But I do think the question of an apocalyptic turn within theology is a very live and important one, and it is a question that I am in the process of exploring with Phil Ziegler, among others. At any rate, I am convinced that to think theologically from out of the apocalypse of Jesus Christ, and to be committed to doing this “without reserve,” to borrow Walter Lowe’s phrasing,8 is indeed to move decisively beyond the practice of theology as it has most commonly been conceived in the contemporary context, especially as conceived by the new ecclesiocentric perspective that has emerged as dominant among postliberal Barthian—and I use the term Barthian loosely because I think such modes of theology could hardly be said to be faithful to Karl Barth any longer—theologians in America, particularly since Vatican II. The kind of theology that I think the singular apocalypse of Jesus Christ moves us to is a kind of doxologically ecclesi-eccentric theology that does its thinking from outside itself, in concrete solidarity with those of this world for whom the gospel of Jesus Christ is especially good news: the poor and oppressed whose bodies bear the marks of the death-dealing powers and principalities. I want to say more about this in terms of the practice of theology itself, but first let me say something about where I believe us currently to be in terms of the discipline of theology.

What has become increasingly apparent to me is the way in which the ecclesiocentric approach short-circuits the practice of theology as a specifically dogmatic task. There are several dimensions to this short-circuiting. On the one hand, the ecclesiocentric construal of the church as a distinctively Christian culture renders a certain ecclesiological natural theology unavoidable. Whether one is speaking of the need for a “Christian social imaginary” as the condition for hearing and carrying out the task of the gospel (as does James K. A. Smith ); of the need to render an account of Christianity as a “habitable world” and to witness to a given Christian culture’s “particular way of structuring the whole” as requisite to the “intelligibility” and “truth” of the gospel proclamation (as we find in the work of Stanley Hauerwas and Bruce Marshall ); or speculatively, of the need to consider the church as its own historically “cultural” entity, as in God’s intention “antecedent” to (and so historically a condition of) the gospel (as does Robert Jenson ), the result is for all intents and purposes the same: the positing of a Christian culture or worldview as the real Anknüpfungspunkt(point of contact) required for the hearing of the gospel and thus the virtual identification of Christian mission with enculturation, or what John Flett would call propaganda.9

There appears to be a kind of ecclesiological positivism at work here, which forecloses on the possibility of theology genuinely being done as dogmatics. That is to say, to the extent that the ecclesiocentric approach to theology thinks of the gospel as something imparted, something delivered over as a kind of deposit to the cultural datum or narrative that is ecclesiastical tradition, and to the extent that the church so conceived is made to be a cultural-historical condition for the possibility of one’s encounter with the Word of God as reality and as the truth of the gospel, then theology can only happen in the mode of Glaubenslehre (religious doctrine). That is, theology as such amounts to the investigation of the contents of the Christian religion as unfolded within the cultural-historical ecclesiological narrative and the intra-textual conditions for the truth of that unfolding. Ironically, for all the talk of a more robustly Catholic ecumenism, it is the ecclesiocentric theological method that is beginning to look all-too-liberal Protestant here, in the sense of embodying something akin to the neo-Protestant methodology of Friedrich Schleiermacher that someone like Barth was seeking to overcome.

Equally as ironic is the way in which—and you’ve pointed this out to me before, Halden; I didn’t really become aware of it as such apart from our conversations—this ecclesiocentric, glaubenslehrlich approach to theology at points serves to reinforce rather than to question or chasten the contemporary privileging of the academic context as the site of professional theology. That is to say, in their recent books, both Smith and Hauerwas seem to have reached the point of elevating the Christian university to that primary context in which we as Christians undergo the intellectual training and enculturation needed to fulfill the Christian task of communal witness in the world—as if the university were responsible for catechizing Christians. Now, of course, Smith—and Hauerwas—is equally clear that Christian universities as such are “extensions of the mission of the church,” but the fact remains that for them the primary task of the university is to educate students into the given “social imaginary” that is the cultural datum we know as church. But precisely for this reason, I don’t think the Christian university as such is so much a challenge to the secular university, as Hauerwas thinks it is, as it is the methodological reverse-negative of the secular university, that “great institution of legitimation in modernity whose task is to convince us that the way things are is the way things have to be.”10 Only now, the given datum is not the secular world as such but the church. Now, it remains an open question as to whether this repristination of the Christian university perpetuates the academic captivity of contemporary theology—I am no doubt suspicious that it does—but regardless, it does pose a huge problem for how theology ought to be done, insofar as it exposes an understanding of mission as fundamentally communal formation and enculturation.

This, it seems to me, is the state of ecclesiocentric theology and theological education today. And in the face of this I want to state a firm “No!” Let me say it again, once more, with feeling: Nein!

My contention is that the focus upon the singularity of Jesus Christ forces us to rethink what we mean by the task of theology as being both dogmatic and missionary in today’s context. By dogmatic I mean to say that Christian theology is to be given to the confession of the praise of the doxa, the glory of the Lord, that shows forth in the apocalyptic singularity of Jesus Christ. And that glory is that Jesus, as the eternally sent One, has liberated the world from its oppressed laboring under the powers and principalities and, by way of this liberation, has reconciled the world to Godself. That is the gospel; that is the good news. By missionary I mean to stress that theology can only be faithfully dogmatic insofar as it is forged in the ongoing encounter and solidarity with the world’s hearing of and response to this singular gospel.

This, it seems to me, means two things primarily for how theology is to be rethought and practiced today. First, it means to insist upon the apocalypse of Jesus Christ as the singular dandum from which all theological thought must emerge. Bruce McCormack’s reading of Barth has been most important for keeping me focused upon this point. Theology determined by the singular revelation that is Jesus Christ cannot at any point or in any degree make recourse to an assumed cultural or revelational datum (a “given”) but must think in the train of that One who gives himself “anew in each new moment” as a singular dandum (“to be given”). Second, we must not forget that the singular identity of Jesus Christ as the resurrected crucified one is the identity of that one who was not afraid to lose himself in abandonment to and in identity with the marginalized and oppressed of this world. Insofar as such oppression is the work of idolatrous powers, such identification and solidarity with the oppressed is the very condition of the interruption and overcoming of these powers by the doxa, the glory of God. And so insofar as Jesus is the singular dandum of theology who gives himself to be given, we must insist that we only ever encounter Jesus, as Kierkegaard would say, in the forgetfulness of himself in the suffering world, in the giving of himself incognito in the poor and suffering neighbor.11 Mission, as such, thus becomes that movement of self-giving whereby we are given ever-anew to receive that one Christ who gives himself precisely by giving himself ever-anew in what Bonhoeffer calls the “strangeness” of the other. But this means that mission is itself a certain kind of preferential option for the poor. For it is precisely as this singular Jesus turns to give himself to and identify with the dying and soon-to-be-dead poor of this world (and we find this movement all throughout the Gospel of Mark, for example) that Jesus makes his way to the cross. And it is as he moves to the cross withfor, and asthese poor that Jesus is given to receive the genuinely new and irruptivedoxa of God’s coming reign—resurrection. In turn, it is precisely as our thoughts and words give us to live and speak in solidarity with the dying and soon-to-be-dead poor of this world, to eat and drink with them, that we theologians are given withfor, and as these poor to receive, and to bespeak, the genuinely new and irruptive doxa of God’s coming reign.

So if theology is to be given to speak dogmatically again, in the proper sense of speaking in praise of the one doxa that is to be given ever-anew in the singular apocalypse of Jesus Christ, then theology must come to be done from the perspective of missionary solidarity with the poor of this world. Truly dogmatic theology is to be a theology of the poor precisely because it is a theology determined without reserve by the singular apocalypse of Jesus Christ. For the glory of God apocalypsed in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ just is the poor person fully alive. “Gloria Dei vivens pauper,” as Archbishop Romero put it.12

TOJ: In light of all this, I wonder if you could say a bit more about where you see your work going at this point. Clearly, Christ, History, and Apocalyptic raised many questions about the nature of Christian mission, community, and life. How are you seeking to move on from the conversation about Christ, History, and Apocalyptic, so to speak?

NRK: I think the clearest statement in terms of the direction that I am moving that I have made since Christ, History, and Apocalyptic is actually the “Kingdom-World-Church” theses that you and I co-authored earlier this year with Ry Siggelkow.13 Although I don’t take them to be a manifesto, I do think those theses are a clear statement of the kind of theological work that needs to be done.

Apart from that, I mentioned in my response to your previous question that to do theology today is to think “ecclesia-eccentrically,” that is, to think of the way in which the church has its center of gravity outside of itself, as it were. In other words, the church happens, if you will, as a movement from the outside. Such a movement is to be thought concretely from the singular reality of Jesus of Nazareth, as one who lives by the gift of the Spirit, as one whose body bears the marks of the fragility of life in the Spirit, as one who gives life by un-handing himself to the in-security of work in the Spirit. The singular life of Jesus Christ is that of one who expends his breath in cruciform solidarity with the poor in the cry for new life in the Spirit—resurrection.

What does it mean to think of the church of Jesus Christ as the church ofthis one? That is the question that I am trying to grapple with in the book that I am currently working on, The Poor of Jesus Christ: An Essay “On the Church” [to be published with Cascade Books], which I consider to be something of a sequel to Christ, History, and Apocalyptic.

So what does it mean to think of the church of Jesus Christ as the church of this one? Well, I think it means at least to think of the church as that people who expend their breath in the call for the breath of the Spirit. And I think that call is in particular to be made where breath is being foreclosed upon, that is, by definition, where the poor are being made poor. Such a church would be a church that is doubly a movement from the outside. It would be a movement whose call for life comes from outside itself in the dying poor of this world, a movement of really dying with these poor, of really being interred and buried with these poor, so as really to be raised to new life with them. And such a church would be a movement into resurrection as that people whose call for new life in solidarity with the poor will only ever be answered from the outside in the ever-new irruption of the Spirit. Such a church would be a people whose cruciform solidarity, and resurrection to new life, with the poor of this world gives them over to the hard work of living, as Jesus did, independently of the powers and principalities; they would be a people living and loving and working in the way of Jesus Christ that here and now opens a path out of the powers of death and into new life. So the book is something of an attempt to think of the church of the poor as itself an apocalyptic event, in terms of a lived repetition of the event of Christ’s own apocalyptic historicity. To think of the church in this way is to insist—to recall again the reference I made earlier to Kierkegaard—that the point is not to be the church, but again and again to become church in the way of Christ’s cruciform solidarity with the poor and resurrection to new life in the Spirit.

All of this is to say that such a church is to be a martyr-church. I cannot say enough about the influence of my first theology teacher, friend, and mentor Craig Keen upon my life and thought at this point. Stanley Hauerwas once described Craig Keen to me as “the best American theologian that no one has heard of.” That statement is all too true. Though, hopefully, his work will soon get the attention it has long deserved. For happily, Craig’s work will finally be made available to a wider audience with the forthcoming publication of his book of essays, The Transgression of the Integrity of God, and Other Essays.14

Finally, I have been convinced by John Flett of the widespread omission of “mission” from the dogmatic imagination and of the threat that this poses to faithful theological work.15 And so I have been at work on a single-volume dogmatics, God-Christ-Mission [this will be published with IVP Academic]—a systematic theology that proceeds from the conviction that the missionary movement that is the apocalypse of Jesus Christ is not only at the heart of what it means for God to be God, but that, as such, mission is at the heart of dogmatic theology. Of course, it perhaps goes without saying that, in light of what I’ve already said about the inseparability of dogmatics from a kind of missionary solidarity with the poor, such a theology will have to proceed rather concretely on the basis of a certain “view from below.”

So that is what I’ve been working on. But all this work, for me personally, involves a radical transformation, a wholly different way of living and working, day in and day out. And that, no doubt, has been the hardest thing about moving on from Christ, History, and Apocalyptic. But I take it that that is the work of conversion, and perhaps, by God’s grace, of sanctification.

TOJ: Given your critique of the ecclesiocentric framework for understanding the task of theology and your recommendation of an “apocalyptic politics of mission” in contrast to the notion of the church as polis, I wonder if you could comment on what sort of impact you think your work ought to have on the lives of Christians committed to the task of missional engagement with the world. If people are persuaded (as I am) of the importance of recognizing the apocalyptic nature of the gospel, it seems to me that the question of “How do we live this?” is one that needs to be constantly asked anew and, most pointedly, cannot be answered formally.

NRK: You are right that this is not a question that can be answered formally or abstractly. I take it to be a concrete question, and I take it to be a question that can only be answered concretely. This means that when we go looking for answers to this question in a given ecclesiology as such we are bound to be disappointed. There is no ecclesiology, no matter how robust, that can formally prescribe in advance how we live this. I think Bonhoeffer was right in ways he could never have imagined when he wrote to his godson that “our being Christians today will be limited to two things: prayer and righteous action among [human beings].”16 But he was right most directly in the sense of indicating that the concreteness required here is the concreteness of an embodied act, the concreteness of a prayerful work. It is the concreteness of Christ’s kenotic self-giving; it is the concreteness, as Kierkegaard describes it, of that “silent and veracious eloquence of action” with which Jesus Christ binds himself to the poorest of the poor on his way to the cross and with which he raises them to new life in the resurrection.17

All of this is to say that when we ask the question “How do we live this?” we are asking the question of what it means, to borrow the phrasing from the title of Ernst Käsemann’s posthumous book of essays, to be “a disciple of the crucified Nazarene.” We are asking, as Yoder did, in what sense “the historicity of Jesus retains, in the working of the church as it encounters the other power and value structures of its history, the same kind of relevance that the man Jesus had for those whom he served until they killed him.” We are asking about living independently of the powers by way of “the concreteness of the cross.”18 To say that the cross and resurrection of Christ constitute the singularly apocalyptic action of God is not to speak of some once upon a time in which Jesus defeated the powers back then, but it is to speak concretely of the ways in which this singular action is given to be repeated, of the ways in which we ourselves are given to suffer this concrete action of God, in the here and now.

So how do we live this? What kind of action is this?

I think it is the kind of action whereby God gives us to throw ourselves into the breach, as it were, that is opened up here and now by the powers and principalities who are daily crushing the life out of the poor and oppressed of our world. I think it means acting in solidarity with these poor to speak a prophetic “no!” to the kind of idolatry that would promise salvation in the name of things like homeland security, upward mobility, or private property. I think it means to offer ourselves in the kind of self-giving that lives not only in but from and by community with the poor and victims, to enact together the priestly life that the ancient church called the koinonia of the poor. I think it means giving ourselves to the hard work of enacting those modes of living and loving and working together that bespeak a joy and celebration and thanksgiving that is genuinely free, unaccountable for and uncontrollable according to the terms of the idolatrous powers, like the kinds of eucharistic feasts that Jesus celebrated with the tax collectors and sinners which got him killed. That is, we are called to be martyrs; we are called to the concrete act of witness to and participation in the living and active prophetic, priestly, and kingly work of Christ.

The reason why such action cannot be theorized in advance, the reason why we must insist upon Yoder’s statement that “the only way to see how this will work will be to see how it will work,”19 is because the life that is lived free and independently of the powers in this way is a life that is given anew, in each new situation, as a gift of resurrection. But it is also so because if resurrection comes to these crucified people, and only as such to those in solidarity with them, then the mode of living and loving and working that lives free and independent of the powers can only be received as the gift of new life that is the new life of these people—it can only be a gift that comesfrom them, the reception of which signals the church’s very own conversion. The missionary direction is turned round, if you will, and the event of the church is given to happen anew as the gift of this liberated people, in the event of their resurrection, and of our resurrection in solidarity and identity with them.

At the prodding of Ry Siggelkow, I’ve been reading a bit of Paul Lehmann lately. And I think what I am articulating here is something akin to what Lehmann might call a contextual theology of doxological action. This is my phrasing, not his.20 What I mean by this is a mode of action that is constantly about the work of discerning the concrete way that God’s doxa makes out of bondage to idolatry, here and now, via the event of the cross and resurrection—what Lehmann, following Kierkegaard, considers under the term “contemporaneity.” It is interesting to me how much ink has been spilled by theologians over the last few years concerning the threat of atheism and unbelief. I think this is a symptom of the kind of fear-driven theology that is concerned to maintain a distinctively Christian culture, of the kind of theology that is obsessed with turning Christianity into a religion that needs to be defended against its cultured despisers, of the kind of theology that is always fearful of Christianity being one generation away from extinction, of the kind of theology that considers one primary task of the church to be that of finding a “way to sustain its existence generation after generation.”21 What Lehmann helps us to see is that the real problem, the really concrete problem that moves us to the kind of action to which we are called as disciples, is the perennial problem of idolatry and unfaith. And that the way beyond idolatry is through that mode of action that lives and works and waits for the coming glory of God in the posture of the crucified One.

Now, for Lehmann, and I would say also for myself, such action is what the event of ecclesial koinonia is all about. This is not to say that we are not to be concerned with the church’s liturgy, her sacraments and institutions. No, it is to say that this is the church’s liturgy, and any account of the church’s sacraments and institutions that does not serve this work of the people is bound to foster a way of living and working by which the church witnesses against herself. I do not have time here nor is this necessarily the place to articulate my own theology of the church’s sacraments and her institutions. But surely such sacraments and institutions are nothing if not ways by which this people called church gives herself unto death in the hope of the ever-new event of her resurrection as Christ’s body in the world. And that is, ultimately, what I take baptism and eucharist to be all about.

So when someone asks of me, “How do we live this?” I can only hope that they will hear in my work an answer that goes something like, “in the way of the crucified Nazarene,” for there is nothing that could be more concrete than that.

1. Some readers may be aware of the collaborative post, “Kingdom-World-Church: Some Provisional Theses,” which was co-authored by Kerr, myself (Halden Doerge), and Ry Siggelkow. This interview was largely drafted prior to the writing of “Kingdom-World-Church,” yet it reflects much of the substance of that same theological conversation between me and Kerr, a conversation that is ongoing and of course includes many others (notably, Siggelkow). Thus, although this piece is cast as an interview, I want to stress that it reflects an ongoing conversation and an unfolding theological pursuit on the part of myself, Kerr, and others. As such, we hope to follow this up with other discussions and interviews (with different people taking the roles of interviewer and interviewee). It is my hope that this interview may be taken in that light, that is, as an opportunity for people to listen in on and partake of a long-term theological conversation that is still continuing to unfold. I hope that this will continue to open up the conversation as we seek to explore together what it truly means to do theology in the service of the gospel of Jesus Christ. [H.D.]

2. See Nathan R. Kerr, Christ, History, and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2008).

3. John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), 145.

4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, ed. Clifford Green, trans. Reinhard Krauss, et. al., vol. 6 (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2005), 261. For an illuminating discussion of this point in Bonhoeffer, see Christopher Morse’s wonderful little book, The Difference Heaven Makes: Rehearing the Gospel as News (New York, NY: T. & T. Clark, 2010), 86-95.

5. Bonhoeffer, Ethics, 64.

6. Søren Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity, ed. and trans. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), 211.

7. Morse, The Difference Heaven Makes.

8. Walter Lowe, “Prospects for a Postmodern Christian Theology: Apocalyptic Without Reserve” Modern Theology 15.1 (January 1999): 17-24.

9. See James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009); Stanley Hauerwas, With the Grain of the Universe: The Church’s Witness and Natural Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2001); Bruce Marshall,Trinity and Truth (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology, The Works of God, vol. 2 (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1999); John G. Flett, The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei, Karl Barth, and the Nature of Christian Community (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010).

10. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom; Hauerwas, The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2007), 6.

11. See Bruce L. McCormack, Orthodox and Modern: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 81-84; Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity, 127-33.

12. Quoted in Jon Sobrino, No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008), xii, 70, 82.

13. It should be noted that the questions for this interview were drafted prior to the “Kingdom-World-Church” theses mentioned here.

14. Craig Keen, The Transgression of the Integrity of God, and Other Essays, ed. Thomas Bridges and Nathan R. Kerr (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, forthcoming 2011).

15. See Flett, The Witness of God.

16. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison: Enlarged Edition, ed. Eberhard Bethge (New York, NY: Touchstone, 1971), 300.

17. Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity, 13-14. I am grateful to Peter Kline for bringing this passage to my attention and for the way in which our ongoing conversations about Kierkegaard are helping to shape my life and thought.

18. Ernst Käsemann, On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene: Unpublished Lectures and Sermons, ed. Rudolf Landau and Wolfgang Kraus, trans. Roy Harrisville (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010); Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, 158.

19. John Howard Yoder, The Priestly Kingdom: Social Ethics as Gospel (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 45.

20. Cf. Paul Lehmann, “Editorial: Contextual Theology,” Theology Today29.1 (April 1972): 3-8. My thanks to Ry Siggelkow for providing me with this essay.

21. Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics(Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1983), 107